BURNS, Robert. Poems and Songs. Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo: 1868.
EDINA EDITION & MAUCHLINE BINDING. (230 x 190 mm), pp. xvii, 336. With many black and white illustrations embellishing the text. With original illustrations by R. Herdman, Waller H. Paton, Samuel Bough, Gourlay Steell, D. O. Hill, John McWhirter, “and other eminent Scottish artists,” and engraved by R. Paterson. A truly deluxe printing, with marbled pastedowns and fly leaves, gold-foiled foredges with cross-hatching texture, a blue silk book mark ribbon, alternating blue and gold endbands, and Mauchline ware binding featuring ferns and ivys. Mauchline has suffered some minor scuffs, as has spine, which has seven raised sewing stations, and gilded fleurs-de-lis. Fly leaves have foxing, but the interior, text pages are clean. Text in English and Scots. Overall GOOD to VERY GOOD condition.
Robert Burns’ time in Mauchline, Scotland, to the southwest of Glasgow, has been called his most creative period. The town also invented a novelty binding which is now commonly associated with the Scottish poet. Mauchline bindings, and Mauchline ware, is made by transferring an image onto a piece of wood, and then heavily varnishing it. In use since the 1830s, the technique was used for bindings, as seen in this example, as well as houseware such as cups and trinket boxes, usually for the amusement of tourists looking for Scottish-themed gifts. And in terms of Scottish-themed gifts, this collection of Poems and Songs includes Burn’s Scots-language “Address to A Haggis,” perhaps the most sincere panegyric to ever be written about the inside business of a cow or sheep. Left out, however, was Burn’s mysterious “The Belles of Mauchline,” a poem from 1784, which as the title promises, praises six beautiful young ladies of the town. The publishers of the book want to firmly praise Edinburgh, however, which is the purpose of the Edina Edition of Burn’s work— to “keep alive and warm the memory of the association between Burns and the city where he first tasted the sweets of fame.”
A 19th century curio packing Burns’ big city successes with his small town roots.