([Edinburgh: mid-20th century?]). 307 x 230 mm. (12 1/8 x 9 1/8"). [4] leaves of parchment-like paper (written and illuminated on one side only). Single column, 16 lines in an attractive calligraphic hand.

Original blue paper wrapper with two yellow and white jacquard silk ties. Gilt lettering on title, one large (35 x 40 mm.) gilt "T" decorated as part of a house (including a tiny red door at the base of the initial) with colored ink, FIRST OPENING WITH A FULL BORDER ON EACH PAGE, composed of colorful penwork incorporating a variety of repeating geometric and floral designs, including many birds and a few mammals, title with a large central peacock surrounded by many different birds, all done in colorful inks, tailpiece in the form of a large tree with several long branches supporting different birds and clusters of green leaves, also done in colorful penwork. Entry ticket (perhaps for a calligraphy competition) tipped-in on front pastedown. Small bit of residue on lower cover, faint offsetting from ribbons on endleaves, a couple trivial spots to paper internally, but in excellent condition, THE CONTENTS VERY FINE.

Short but sweet, this delightful manuscript seems to have been created for a calligraphy competition by a talented amateur, and abounds with colorful penwork decoration reminiscent of folk art patterns. Taking inspiration from a fable by Aesop, in which the genesis of our notions of the "vain" peacock and "chatty" magpie are explained, the artist pens a wonderful menagerie of birds and other fauna, floral motifs, and natural elements, using simple, repeating shapes and bright colors. We could find no biographical information about the artist, Mary G. Sym, but the entry ticket tipped onto the pastedown contains the placename "Colinton, Edin[burgh]" in pencil, suggesting that she lived and worked in Scotland.

Price: $950.00