52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings: Week 12

Friday 2 September 2011

Francis Hutcheson presentation copies of Foulis Press works

The gift of Francis Hutcheson, 1746.

In 1746, the moral philosopher Francis Hutcheson was given an honorary LL.D. by the University of St Andrews. Hutcheson was elected to the Chair of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow in 1730 and was the first professor to give lectures in English at Glasgow and in Scotland. He is known as a great philosopher, scholar, teacher and one of the founding fathers of the Scottish Enlightenment.

After the honorary degree was conferred upon him, Hutcheson gave a gift of a series of classical texts printed by Robert Foulis (who was also one of Hutcheson’s students in the 1730s). This gift is recorded in the University minutes 13 August 1746 (pictured below):

The first half of the Minutes of the Senatus Academicus 13 August 1746 (UYUY452/5/80)

 “Mr. Tho. Craigy reported that he had in commission from Mr Hutcheson to offer in his name the following books in a present, which he hop’d the University would accept of as a testimony of his regard for the honour they had done him; the books were Demetrius Phalerius de Elocutione, Sophoclis [sic] Tragedies 2 vols, Marcus Antoninus Gr. & Lat., Aristoteles [sic] de Poetica & de Mundo, Aeschyli Tragedies 2 vols., Pindarus & Anacreon Gr. & Lat. 2 tomes, Ciceronis Quastiones Tusculane, Horatii Carmina, Xenophontis Hiero sive de Regno, & Theophrasti Characteres, Epicteti Enchiridion & Cebetis Tabula, all neatly bound in Red Turkie leather & guilt [sic] on the back.  The University appoint a letter of thanks to be writ to Mr Hutcheson & the books to be entered in the Library, none of them to be lent out without the Universitie’s order …”

Minutes of the Senatus Academicus (UYUY452/5/80-81)

The second half of the Minutes of the Senatus Academicus 13 August 1746 (UYUY452/5/80)

So far, the only item from this list that we have not been able to track down is Hutcheson’s copy of Horace’s Odes, which is presumably the 1744 Foulis “Immaculate” Horace, of which we have another copy (which itself is bound beautifully with contemporary Dutch gilt endpapers).  Although varying in size, all of these books were uniformly bound in contemporary red calf on boards, with gold tooled board edges and gilt fore-edges, and with raised bands and with gold tooled spine panels. The endpapers have all been painted orange with a gilt stencilled leaf or Maltese cross pattern applied, bearing a similarity the popular Dutch gilt papers found in Scotland around the same time.  This set, along with the University’s records kept in the Muniments Archive, illustrate a wonderful narrative of how these beautifully printed and bound books came into the University’s collection.

Robert Foulis's 1744 printing of Pindar's Works, a beautiful example of the Classical output of the Foulis Press.


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