One of Just 50 Copies, the Last one in the Marketplace More than 60 Years Ago


([Glasgow]: Printed [by Robert Anderson] for Private Circulation, 1882). 195 x 122 mm. (7 3/4 x 4 7/8"). 1 p.l., x, 103, [1] pp.From George Bannatyne's manuscript compiled A.D. 1568. ONE OF ONLY 50 COPIES.

BEAUTIFUL CITRON CRUSHED MOROCCO, ELABORATELY TOOLED IN GILT, BY RAMAGE (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with six concentric frames--intricate filigree roll, pointillé-tooled floral vine, and alternating small ornaments--enclosing a central panel with cornerpieces semé with rows of fleurs-de-lys, large oval medallion at center radiating ornate fleurons, raised bands, spine compartments with large central medallion containing a vase of flowers, delicate tooling in corners, gilt titling, turn-ins framed by filigree roll and alternating small ornaments, brown and tan silk jacquard endleaves patterned in a Medieval motif, top edge gilt. Printer's device on title page, decorative woodcut initials and headpieces. ◆Spines evenly sunned to a warm honey brown, corners lightly rubbed, short, faint scratch to lower board, but the binding virtually unworn and happily free of the splaying that plagues vellum books. Leaves lightly rumpled, but A VERY FINE COPY, the vellum leaves creamy, clean, and bright, and the binding glittering with gold.

Printed on luxurious vellum and limited to just 50 copies (presumably for private circulation among friends of the printer), this is a lovely edition of 16th century poems by a mysterious author, believed to have been a poet and musician associated with the court of Mary, Queen of Scots. This work contains all 36 extant poems attributed to Scott (ca. 1520-82/3), including what is considered to be his most historically important work, "Ane New Yeir Gift to Quene Mary" (1562), written in support of the young Scottish queen caught between Catholic and Protestant agendas. His other poems consist largely of lyric verses on love and sexuality, which DNB describes as possessing "exceptional metrical variety and vernacular directness" with "a musician's ear for rhythm and melody." Scott's poems are known to us via the Bannatyne manuscript (now held in the National Library of Scotland), which ranks among the most important documents of Scottish Medieval literature. Written by George Bannatyne in 1568 during a period of confinement due to an outbreak of plague, it contains a mixture of both secular and religious material, including the sole extant copies of several texts. In the preface to the present work, the publisher notes that Scott's poetry has been faithfully reproduced from that manuscript, and thus, "for the first time, accurately printed." Very little is known regarding the life of Alexander Scott, but he seems to have been attached to the court of Mary Stuart through John Erskine, a guardian and counselor to the queen. Given the very limited number of copies made, it is not surprising that this work is extremely rare on the market.

Price: $4,500.00