THE GENTLE SHEPHERD, A PASTORAL COMEDY.

(Glasgow: A. Foulis, 1788). 290 x 233 mm. (11 3/8 x 9 1/4"). 2 p.l., x, [2], 111, [3] pp., followed by 17-page glossary and 18 pages of engraved sheet music First Illustrated Edition.

Recent navy half morocco over blue marbled boards, raised bands, spine with red morocco label with gilt lettering. With portrait frontispiece, 12 numbered uncolored aquatints by David Allan ("the Scottish Hogarth"). Gaskell 688. Top corners slightly bumped, a hint of rubbing to extremities and a small scratch on one cover, but the newer bindings perfectly solid and not unpleasing; mild soiling and thumbing throughout, some moderate foxing to plates, first few leaves with a narrow dampstain along top edge, one plate a little tattered along edges, occasional minor marginal smudge or ink stain, but overall a good copy with nothing approaching a major defect.

Of humble Scottish origin, Ramsay (1686-1758) was apprenticed to an Edinburgh wig maker before becoming a bookseller. He was later the founder of a prototypical literary club called the Easy Club, the editor of an important Scots verse collection called "The Tea-Table Miscellany," and in general a promoter of Scots poetry and poets. His own chief composition was the present pastoral comedy, first printed in 1725, a work that attained great popularity but that went for many years without being published in English. It has been called the first true pastoral work after Theocritus. Our edition was one of only two books published by the Foulis Press during 1788. The illustrator, David Allan (1744-1796), studied painting at the Academy of Glasgow (recently established by the printers Robert and Andrew Foulis) and in Italy, where in 1773 his painting won the gold medal for historical composition. Afterwards in Edinburgh, he mostly abandoning historical painting to concentrate on droll sketches of Scottish character, earning for himself the designation as the "Hogarth of Scotland." His popularity was dramatically increased because of the designs he did for the present work as well as for a "Collection of Scottish Airs" by Burns. The present work is not uncommon on the marketplace, but our copy is especially well priced without having to compromise too much in terms of condition.
(ST13599-16)