Few details are known about the life of Henry Purcell. This book provides an in-depth analysis of the most obvious documentary evidence of Purcell's career - the music manuscripts of his own hand and those copied by his colleagues. Robert Shay and Robert Thompson offer a richly illustrated study of Purcell's sources, examining in detail the physical features of the manuscripts as well as their musical content. Their survey sheds light on the chronology of composition and copying of Purcell's works and reassesses the place of extant autographs in his musical development. Major sources are fully catalogued, providing information about the context in which Purcell's music was collected and performed, and his handwriting is more closely examined than ever before. The book represents a significant reference tool for scholars, applying a forensic approach that greatly enriches our knowledge of the composer and the music of his time.