Bindings

  • Isthvanfius, Nicolaus. Historiarum de rebus Ungaricis. Cologne, 1622.
    • This stunning goatskin binding for King James VI and I has been attributed to the royal binder John Bateman. These distinctive and dominant fields or semis of fleurs de lys are found only on folios bound for James and at least four other folios in this style have been attributed to Bateman. This complements the Library's other holdings of bindings with royal Stuart associations. The text is also important: this is the first edition of the seminal history of Hungary, covering the period 1490-1607, a time when the Turks were exerting enormous pressure on strongholds of European Christendom. It would have provided King James with some context for events unfolding in central Europe in the early stages of what was to become the Thirty Years War (1618-1648).
      (Dealer)
  • La Bibbia. Geneva, 1607.
    • A striking Scottish binding with a long and impressive Scottish military provenance. It is the first edition of Giovanni Diodati's Protestant translation of the Bible into Italian. The book was probably bound in Edinburgh around 1680. The thistle and wild-strawberry arrowhead tools are identical to those used to decorate copies of Sir Thomas Murray's Laws and acts of Parliament (Edinburgh, 1681). This volume was bound for James Ogilvy, third Earl of Findlater, who died in 1711, thus the gilt initial 'F' beneath an earl's coronet on the covers. Ogilvy was a Justice of the Peace for Banff, who voted for the Union. Included among later owners were the Hon. Charles Hope-Weir (1710-1791), second son of the first Earl of Hopetoun, (1710-1791), and Lieutenant General Sir Hew Whiteford Dalrymple (d.1830).
  • [Colbert.] Hamilton, Alexander, 10th Duke of Hamilton. 'Catalogue des objets d'art & de curiosité au Palais d'Hamilton. 1838.'
    • A catalogue that never was. Jean Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683) was Louis XIV's principal minister, an acknowledged financial wizard and an ardent book collector. At some date late in his career, he had made up for himself a volume of some 300 folio sheets of blank paper, watermarked with his own arms and bound in a striking red morocco armorial binding, showing a version of the Colbert arms. It was then purchased by Alexander Hamilton, 10th Duke of Hamilton sometime in the early decades of the nineteenth century. His intention for the volume seems clear since there is a manuscript title leaf in pen and ink, 'Catalogue des objets d'art & de curiosité au Palais d'Hamilton 1838', and there are manuscript headings for various rooms of the Palace such as 'Salle Appartenante a La Bibliothèque'. However, these headings end half way through the volume as the Duke, like Colbert before him, grew bored or forgot this fine volume.
  • Demosthenes. Logoi eklektoi [select orations]. London, 1726.
    • This book was acquired for the fine contemporary binding, which appears to be an early example of a Scottish wheel binding. This is red-brown goatskin, with a gold-tooled wheel design surrounded by semi-circles, flowers and stars, all within a fillet and wave roll border. The board edges and turn-ins are also tooled, and the spine has panels containing saltires. It has marbled endpapers and bears the bookplates of John Hely-Hutchinson and W.A. Foyle.

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