Australasian libraries, galleries and museums hold many thousands of unique and irreplaceable European manuscripts, art works and historic objects dating from the eleventh to the eighteenth centuries. They are of great value to researchers - both in Australasia and in Europe - not just for their contents but for what they reveal about the persistence of the Early European heritage in Australasia. Collectively and individually, they are unique national treasures of Australia and New Zealand.

Europa Inventa ("Europe Discovered") is the first systematic description of these Early European materials. The Europa Inventa database currently contains information about 1,700 artworks and 300 medieval manuscripts held in the major Australian libraries, galleries and museums. It is one of the digital services developed for the ARC Research Network for Early European Research (NEER).

Europa Inventa contains records drawn from the following sources:

  • Sinclair 1969 (Medieval manuscripts)
  • Tomory and Gaston 1989 (Paintings)
  • Other books listed in the Sources below
  • Library, museum and gallery catalogues on the Web

Europa Inventa uses the following metadata standards:

Europa Inventa will also incorporate the results of a 2010-2012 Australian Research Council Linkage Project which will be carrying out systematic research into all the medieval manuscripts in Victorian public collections, as well as creating digital images for a selection of them. This project is led by Emeritus Professor Margaret Manion (University of Melbourne) and Shane Carmody (Director of Collections and Access, State Library of Victoria).


Dr Toby Burrows, University of Western Australia


Benson, Laurie, The master's eye: five centuries of European paintings. (Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2000)

Dean, Sonia, Master drawings from the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. (Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 1986)

Gott, Ted and Laurie Benson, Painting and sculpture before 1800 in the international collections of the National Gallery of Victoria. (Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2003)

Groom, Linda, First Fleet artist: George Raper's birds & plants of Australia. (Canberra: National Library of Australia, 2009)

Hoff, Ursula, European paintings before eighteen hundred. (Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 1967)

Leahy, Cathy, Prints and drawings in the international collections of the National Gallery of Victoria. (Melbourne, Vic.: National Gallery of Victoria, 2003)

Manion, Margaret M., The Felton illuminated manuscripts in the National Gallery of Victoria. (Melbourne: Macmillan Art Publishing and the National Gallery of Victoria, 2005)

Manion, Margaret M. and Vera F. Vines, Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts in Australian collections. (Melbourne: Thames and Hudson, 1984)

Menz, Christopher and Margaret Legge, Decorative arts in the international collections of the National Gallery of Victoria. (Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2003)

National Library of Australia, Paradise possessed: the Rex Nan Kivell collection. (Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1998)

Sinclair, K. V., Descriptive catalogue of medieval and renaissance western manuscripts in Australia. (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1969)

Sinclair, K. V., Medieval and Renaissance treasures of the Ballarat Art Gallery: the Crouch manuscripts. (Sydney: Wentworth Press, 1968)

Stocks, Bronwyn and Nigel Morgan (eds), The medieval imagination: illuminated manuscripts from Cambridge, Australia and New Zealand. (South Yarra, Vic.: Macmillan Art Pub., 2008)

Tomory, Peter and Robert Gaston, European paintings before 1800 in Australian and New Zealand public collections: summary catalogue. (Sydney: Beagle Press, 1989)