THE LIFE OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.

(London: John Murray, 1822). 225 x 140 mm. (8 7/8 x 5 1/2"). Three volumes. Second Edition, "corrected and enlarged." FIRST PRINTING of the third part.

VERY PRETTY PURPLE LEVANT BY BAYNTUN (stamp-signed on front turn-in, along with stamp signature of C. E. Lauriat of Boston), covers framed in gilt, with crown ornaments at corners, raised bands, compartments with gilt crown centerpieces, gilt titling, gilt-ruled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Housed in a fleece-lined brown cloth slipcase with large paper label covering the back. With five plates and eight illustrations as called for, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH 34 PLATES of scenery and portraits, many hand-colored and several folding. Spines uniformly faded to brown, a handful of trivial blemishes internally, but A FINE SET, the bindings with few signs of wear and the contents in nearly perfect condition.

Lavishly extra-illustrated with depictions of the key people and places discussed in the text, this is a sympathetic biography of the tumultuous life of Mary Stuart (1542-87), heir to the crown of Scotland and rival to Elizabeth I for the English throne. Because of her tragic life and her execution, Mary has always been one of the best-known European queens, and accounts of her life vary greatly in their emphasis and impartiality. First published in 1818, the present biography by Scottish antiquarian George Chalmers (1742-1825) provides useful context as the most extreme defender of the queen. DNB says that "Chalmers . . . saw Mary as the helpless and innocent victim of conspirators, and all her opponents as corrupt and evil. Any historian who took a different view of Mary was mercilessly attacked." The third volume, published for the first time with this edition, is devoted to memoirs of Mary's husband Bothwell and of the regents of the Scottish throne following her fall. The regal purple bindings are characteristic of the fine work produced by the Bayntun bindery, founded in Bath in 1894 and now the last of the great Victorian trade binderies still in family ownership.
(ST15192a)