Stunning original manuscript abecedary, a serpentine and thistle-laden gift to credulous antiquary Sir Thomas Dick Lauder in the year of the artist's co-publication of the famous disputed VESTIARIUM SCOTICUM.
Very good plus.
Sobieski-Stuart Manuscript Abecebestiary
"The Allans are singular men, of much accomplishment but little probity—that is, in antiquarian matters." —Journal of Sir Walter Scott, June 1829
The author of this virtuosic tribute, here styling himself Charles Eduard, born Charles Edward Manning Allen and widely known as Charles Edward Stuart, was one half of the notorious Sobieski Stuarts: brothers, poets, and Welsh-born claimants to the Stuart line. They were two gallant false pretenders who may or may not have been true believers in their own representations, who maintained their impostures to the very end and who had great instincts for making aristocratic friends and posing for romantic photographs. Their most famous publication — 1842's VESTIARIUM SCOTICUM, followed in 1845 by THE COSTUME OF THE CLANS — purported to be a copy of a copy of a lost 16th-century manuscript. It was denounced in some quarters as a forgery almost immediately, but made a powerful impact. Described by one modern historian as "shot through with pure fantasy and bare-faced forgery" (Trevor-Roper, 36), it nevertheless had immense influence on the history of Scottish tartans. The designs in the VESTIARIUM were taken up with enthusiasm, and many are in use today by the clans to whom they were attributed — among them, the Lauder tartan.
Sir Thomas Dick Lauder befriended the Sobieski Stuart brothers in the 1820s and soon set about to promote their claims and manuscripts. On the authenticity of the VESTIARIUM he consulted Sir Walter Scott, who allowed that the work was "cleverly done," but mistrusted the source: "These Hay Allans are men of warm imaginations," he recorded in his journal, and sent Lauder a long warning letter, both learned and tactful, "on the subject of these Allans and their manuscript." Despite this warning, Lauder chose to be persuaded, and when at long last the VESTIARIUM was published, this original abecedary was presented to Lauder by Charles Stuart, presumably in gratitude for his long backing and friendship. Lauder had a warm imagination of his own: the author of several historical romances, he was also the subject of an ungenerous footnote in the COMPLETE BARONETAGE, which records that having "utterly failed" to prove descent from certain other Lauders, he put up a monument regardless, stating that descent "as he wished it to be." In this the abecedary's owner appears to embrace the quip of one from a later century: It's not a lie, if you believe it. With our thanks to Bill Zachs for his initial identification of the artist.
Read more: Scott, The Journal of Sir Walter Scott; Cokayne, Complete Baronetage; Craig Robert Buchanan, Will Ye No Come Back Again: Rediscovering the Sobieski Stuart Brothers; Trevor-Roper, "The Invention of Tradition: The Highland Tradition of Scotland," in The Invention of Tradition, Hobsbawm and Ranger (eds).
Scotland: n.p, 1842. Folio. 16'' x 12''. Contemporary red morocco with large gilt Scottish coat-of-arms to both covers, with numerous additional ornate devices and fleurs-de-lys. Marbled endpapers. All edges gilt. Calligraphic and engrossed manuscript to fourteen leaves, rectos only, each signed at the foot. Plus preliminary dedication leaf. Housed in a custom archival clamshell box. Board slightly bowed. One leaf with short marginal tear (with very slight loss). Small scuff lower edge of top board. Mild wear. Minor expert repairs.
The Fine Print
We work hard to meet our ethical responsibility to describe our material accurately. All items are guaranteed as described and may be returned for any reason within 30 days. Please notify us before mailing a return.
We guarantee the authenticity of our items. All materials are original (meaning not facsimiles or reproductions) unless otherwise noted. First editions (meaning first edition, first printing) are explicitly stated. TPM is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and upholds their Code of Ethics.
All photographs are of the actual item for sale. We're happy to provide additional images on request.
All domestic orders ship gratis. For orders under $250, free USPS media mail shipping is included; orders $250 and over ship USPS Priority. International orders over $500 also ship gratis. Expedited, overnight, as well as other carriers (UPS, Fed-Ex, etc.), may carry additional costs beyond quoted rates. All orders receive tracking information and a direct contact in case of any questions.
International buyers are responsible for any customs, taxes, and related import fees. Please note that we are unable to accomodate requests to misrepresent, misdeclare, or otherwise falsify customs documents when shipping internationally. We appreciate your understanding.
We accept all major credit cards, Paypal, Venmo, check, money order, and bank wire. We are happy to bill institutional buyers' needs. Sales tax will be added to applicable purchases. Items subject to prior sale.
If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your purchase, please contact us. We prioritize our long-term relationships far above any individual purchase, and we want you to love your item as much as we loved cataloguing it.