June 2005 - Rare Books acquisitions

Detail from Reader for Maximilian I
A calligraphical detail
of the letter F

This is part of a page from 'Das ABC-Lehrbuch für Kaiser Maximilian I', a facsimile of a reader compiled in 1466 for the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Maximilian I (1459-1519). This detail shows three ways of writing the letter F in calligraphy. Apart from the letters of the alphabet, the reader contains the Lord's Prayer, Ave Maria and other prayers, as well as the Creed. The facsimile is bound in blind-tooled suede with the front board in green and the back in red. This edition is limited to 480 copies; ours is no. 30. The original manuscript is held at the Austrian National Library in Vienna.

Envy illustration
Illustration
of envy

This is one of ten black and white lithographs by Nicholas Parry illustrating a limited edition of William Dunbar's 'Dance of the Sevin Deidly Synnis', produced by the Tern Press in Shropshire in 2003. William Dunbar (ca. 1460-1513?) was employed as a royal clerk or secretary and as the King James IV's poet laureate. He wrote in Middle Scots in the tradition of Chaucer and was probably the most popular of the 'makaris', to use his own vernacular term for poets. 'The Dance of the Sevin Deidly Synnis', is Dunbar's greatest humorous satire. The sins, ranging from pride to gluttony, are depicted in all their repulsive deformity in this work of gloomy power.

Highland soldiers
A member of the
Peace Society

This is a lithographed print entitled 'Members of the Peace Society: City of Edinburgh Branch'. Produced in 1861, it depicts a group of the 1st City of Edinburgh Artillery Volunteers on duty at Edinburgh Castle. The tone of the print is decidedly humorous. Rather than being alert at their posts, one volunteer smokes a cigar whilst admiring with two others the view across the city to Calton Hill, another is reading 'The Times', and a stereotypical Highlander is spinning a yarn to two of his companions as a little girl listens with rapt attention. Paton himself had formerly served as a captain in the Artillery Volunteers.

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