Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    india (made)
    Delhi (Possibly, made)

  • Date:

    18th century (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Vellum binding manuscript written in ink
    Front title page is illuminated

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss C. A. Cannon

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On display at the British Museum

Physical description

Miniature Quran [section of], missing cover, in vellum binding. Frontispiece is illuminated, the rest of the pages inscribed within gold frames

Place of Origin

india (made)
Delhi (Possibly, made)


18th century (made)

Materials and Techniques

Vellum binding manuscript written in ink
Front title page is illuminated


Height: 51 mm Length, Width: 3.7 cm, Depth: 1.3 cm

Object history note

According to the donor this Quran was owned by Bahadur Shah, the last Mughal emperor, until it was abandoned in the Palace at Delhi during the 1857 uprising and was discovered by Sir Theophilus Metcalf, Magistrate of Delhi. Sir Theophilus presented it to Mrs Henry Mills Cannon, whose daughter Miss C. Cannon gave it to the Museum in 1912.

A letter on the Nominal File states: 'Antique Koran. Found under the pillows of the old King of Delhi on his capture by us at the fall of Delhi, during the Indian Mutiny of 1857 by Sir Theophilus Metcalfe [sic] Chief Magistrate at Delhi, who was foremost in the work of retribution. This Koran was given by Sir Theophilus Metcalfe to my mother (Mrs Henry Mills Cannon) soon after the fall of Delhi. The date of the book is uncertain ["probably about 1660" inserted] - It is a peculiar fine specimen. The gold being of a peculiarly exquisite quality. It contains the XIX (?) Book of the Koran - and includes the stories of Joseph, of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba etc. The King of Delhi probably kept it about him as an [sic] "charm".'

Caspar Stanley Clarke added to the file 'It might possibly date from the 17th century as stated, but the illuminated title-page suggests a later period. As an addition to the H.E.I.C. collection, historically speaking, it is of interest.' (16.II.12)

Miss Cannon offered the museum an ivory casket, also taken by Metcalf and supposed to have contained the Quran. It was rejected for purchase, but later bought by the Museum (IS 35-1937).

Descriptive line

Quran (incomplete), paper inscribed and painted with illuminations in a vellum binding, Mughal, 18th century; Manuscript

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Topsfield, Andrew; cat. no.110, p. 55
The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982 Number: ISBN 0 906969 26 3


Vellum; Paper




Islam; Religion


South & South East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.