Collection E. W. Lane MSS - Edward William Lane Collection

Cover Enclosure 1 Enclosure 2 Enclosure 2 Photograph - portrait bust of E. W. Lane Man walking ahead of another man on horseback Four Egyptian women in house Egyptian village of Rasheed Bab al-Nasr gate, Cairo Courtyard, Mosque of Amr ibn al-As, Cairo Colonnade, Mosque of Amr ibn al-As, Cairo Southern Cemetery at Cairo, with funeral procession Head of Great Sphinx, Giza Sunrise at Giza Cairo Citadel Aqueduct, Fumm al-Khalig water intake tower Mosque of Ahmad Ibn Tulun, Cairo Limestone colossus of Ramesses II, Mit Rahina Hawara pyramid Temple wall scene with Seti I in a chariot, Karnak Tomb wall scene, priest with offerings before man and wife, probably TT 59 Temple wall scene, tribute, Beit el-Wali Tomb wall scene, hoeing and ploughing, El Kab Tomb wall scene, harvesting, El Kab Tomb wall scene, treading and winnowing grain, El Kab Tomb wall scene, picking and treading grapes, El Kab Temple wall scenes, Karnak Tomb wall scene, female musicians, tomb of Amenhotep-si-si, Sheikh Abd el-Qurna Tomb wall scene, gazelle suckling fawn, Giza
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E. W. Lane MSS


Edward William Lane Collection


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Name of creator


Biographical history

British Arabic scholar; he was born in Hereford, 17 Sept. 1801, son of Theophilus L., a military officer and prebendary of Hereford Cathedral, and Sophia Gardiner; after being educated at the Grammar Schools of Bath and Hereford, he joined his brother in London as an engraver, but abandoned that career owing to ill health; he learned Arabic and went to Egypt, 19 Sept. 1825-7 April 1828, where he spent most of his time in Cairo although making voyages up the Nile from 15 March-28 Oct. 1826 where he went as far as the Second Cataract, and 23 June-19 Dec. 1827 with Hay up to Abu Simbel; he left in MS a voluminous description and a large number of drawings (BL Add. MSS 34080-8: others in the Griffith Inst. Oxford); he returned to Egypt from 13 Dec. 1833-29 Aug. 1835; Lane spoke Arabic fluently and in 1836 published Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, a companion work by Wilkinson which dealt with the Ancients being published later; he was in Egypt again, 19 July 1842-16 Oct, 1849, when he compiled his great Arabic dictionary, An Arabic-English Lexicon, for which funds were provided by Algernon Percy, the Duke of Northumberland, which appeared in parts from 1863-93; Lane was the leading Arabic scholar of Europe, and although his works are primarily concerned with the modern Egyptians, they are of great value to Egyptologists as he was closely associated with Hay and Wilkinson; he was elected a corresponding member of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 16 Dec. 1864; his collection of antiquities was acquired by the British Museum in 1842; there is a MS collection of his letters in the Bodleian Library and the Griffith Institute, Oxford; he also translated The Thousand and One Nights, 1839-41; Selections from the Kur-dn, 1843; Forty-one Eastern Tales and Anecdotes,1854; posthumously Cairo Fifty Years Ago, 1896; his unpublished work, Description of Egypt was edited and published by J. Thompson, 2000; he died in Worthing, 10 Aug. 1876

Archival history

Most of the Lane drawings and manuscripts were formerly in the possession of Sir Reginald Ward Poole, Lane’s nephew.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

  • Most of the Lane drawings and manuscripts were donated in 1942 by Mrs Charles Larcom (daughter of Sir Reginald Ward Poole (1864-1941) and the great-niece of Edward Lane). Mrs Larcom passed Lane’s papers to Charles Francis Bell (1871-1966), who arranged their transfer to the Griffith Institute.
  • Lane’s manuscript for Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, comprising six notebooks and an accompanying album containing sketch maps of the Nile, was donated in 1947 by Austin Lane Poole (son of Reginald Lane Poole (1857–1939) and great-nephew of Edward Lane).
  • Album Lane MSS 8: Forum Auctions, London. Books and Works on Paper, Online Sale, 23 March 2023, Lot 14. Acquired by the Griffith Institute at auction thanks to a grant from the Friends of the National Libraries (75%) and a number of donations to the Griffith Institute Archive (25%).

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Drawings, notebooks, notes and correspondence.

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Language of material

  • Arabic
  • English
  • Greek

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Finding aids

Catalogue for MSS 1-7 compiled by Jason Thompson (

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These are originals.

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Physical storage

  • Box: 0704A, 0704B