|One of my favorite things: Sir Walter Scott's Lady of the Lake, |
published in 1874 by John Ross and Company, Edinburgh.
Images copyright Parvum Opus.
I've had a deep appreciation for exquisitely made objects for as long as I can remember, and among my favorites are books, which I treasure for both the craft and beauty of their bindings as well as the beauty of the ideas within. My Tartanware copy of Sir Walter Scott's Lady of the Lake is a particularly special example.
As you can see, it features a tooled and gilded leather spine, and papier-mâché Tartanware covers. Throughout the pages, small photographs are pasted in, with lovely views of Scottish lochs and castles. When I first received this wonderful gift (thank you dear husband!), I was especially charmed by tiny mother of pearl bun feet on the back of the book. What a jewel! Given that this book's publication made Scotland's Trossachs an enduring tourist destination, it makes perfect sense that a Tartanware edition would appear.
|If you look closely, you can see the tiny mother of pearl feet |
attached with brass tacks.
Tartanware was designed primarily as souvenir ware, and originated in the early part of the nineteenth century. These small personal goods (boxes, sewing tools, desk accessories, books, etc.)were designed to capitalize on the newly mobile middle class tourist population. You can imagine how popularity of these trinkets soared with Queen Victoria's commission of two new Tartans for the royal family.
|I wish this box was in my collection: a miniature Robertson Tartanware box, |
with a hand-painted picture of Balmoral before
Prince Albert made his additions, signed "Lamme Cumnock", c. 1850.
Image courtesy The Telegraph.
The Lady of the Lake is a narrative poem composed of six cantos, and was first published in 1810. It was hugely influential at the time and contributed to the Highland Revival, which culminated in 1822 with a visit by King George IV to Edinburgh for a pageant orchestrated by a vary patriotic Sir Walter Scott. I'm so glad for this confluence of poetry and craft, and that we can still enjoy the lovely books and objects born of it.
|A portrait bust of Sir Walter Scott, |
in the University of North Carolina collection.
Image courtesy UNC.