Bayer Collection

Bayer Collection

A collection of approximately 200 Chinese and other oriental books and manuscripts, including:

  • palmleaf books in Tamil and Telugu
  • notes on oriental history and philology
  • correspondence with the Jesuits in Peking

Originally collected by Theophilus (Gottlieb) Siegfried Bayer (1694-1738), sinologist and Professor of Greek and Roman Antiquities at St Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1726-1738), whose library was sold by his widow to Heinrich Walter Gerdes (1690-1741), a Lutheran pastor in London.

It was subsequently purchased from Mrs Gerdes by William Hunter (1718-1783) and incorporated into his collection. Under the terms of Hunter’s will, his library and other collections remained in London for several years after his death - for the use of his nephew, Dr Matthew Baillie (1761-1823) - and finally came to the University in 1807.


How to find material from the Bayer Collection