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Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character

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Dean Ramsay.

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Dean Ramsay (Rev. Dr Edward Bannerman Ramsay, 1793-1872), Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character by Dean Ramsay (London and Edinburgh: TN Foulis, 1912), revised edition with new anecdotes on superior paper stock. Sixteen tipped-in and tissue-guarded colour illustrations from paintings by Henry Wright Kerr, RSA, RSW (1857-1936): The Kirk Collection (frontispiece); The Pillar o’ The Kirk; A Scottish Baptism; The Weavers Shop; The Weaver; The Shepherd; The Gravedigger; The Snuffer; A Guid Gangin’ Plea; A Lowland Cottage; The Mutch; The Bonnet Laird; The Beadle; His Day at the Plate; The Laird’s Daughter; and The Reader. Octavo hard cover, 20.8 x 14.5 cm, xxx, 370 pp., 6 pp. of book advertisements, seven chapters, Appendix and Index, top edge gilt, other edges deckled, brown cloth boards with gilt cover and spine titling, gilt Scotch thistle on front cover.

Condition: Near fine, binding tight, even browning of deckled page edges, only occasional browning elsewhere.

Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character, first published in 1857, gave the Rev. Dr Edward Bannerman Ramsay, invariably known as Dean Ramsay after his election as Episcopal Dean of Edinburgh in 1841, an acknowledged place in Scottish literary history. The son of a Baronet from a family of British Parliamentarians, Ramsay graduated from Cambridge in 1816 and in 1827 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, serving as its Vice-President from 1859-1862. Ramsay’s Fellowship was proposed by Sir David Brewster, the Scottish physicist, mathematician, historian of science and university principal. Brewster, known as “the father of modern experimental optics”, invented the kaleidoscope, the binocular camera and an improved version of the stereoscope applied to photography, the first portable 3D viewing device. Ramsay was made minister of St John’s Episcopal Church in Princes Street Edinburgh in 1830, and remained there until his death in 1872.

Dean Ramsay’s book, which expresses his personality well, has been frequently reprinted. This edition is illustrated by the Scottish painter and portraitist Henry Wright Kerr, whose portrait paintings are held in many Scottish public gallery and University art collections. It includes as an Appendix an “amusing burlesque” about the “Diamond Beetle” case, in which the Edinburgh jeweller Alexander Cunningham sued the surgeon James Russell for defamation and damages. Dean Ramsay’s memorial, an imposing 7.3 metre granite Celtic cross with bronze sculpted panels erected in 1879, is in St John’s grounds in Princes Street Edinburgh.

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