Early Nineteenth-Century Scottish Paraphrases Handsomely Produced and Presented

Church of Scotland.
Translations and Paraphrases in Verse of Several Passages of Sacred Scripture.
Glasgow, 1815. Manuscript on paper. (BRMS 99)

This finely executed version of the Church of Scotland’s Translations and Paraphrases, in Verse, of Several Passages of Sacred Scripture is dated Glasgow 1815. Following earlier versions of the text produced in 1725 and 1751, the text was approved by the Church in 1781. An immensely popular work, more than twenty editions were printed between 1781 and 1799 and numerous editions continued to be published in the nineteenth century. The text for this manuscript may have been based on an edition printed in Glasgow in 1815. Presented as a gift “to Miss Gowan by a friend, 1st January 1816,” this handsome volume, bound in contemporary black morocco with decorative gilt and blind stamping, would have been easily differentiated from the numerous plainly printed versions available at the time. The minute but easily legible lettering, provided in roman and cursive letterforms in alternating verses and presented clearly with ample margins, almost seems to have been engraved in copper rather than written by hand or printed letterpress. Following more than three and a half centuries of mechanical book production in the West, the appearance of these manuscript pages was clearly impacted by the age of print.

Manuscripts in the Age of Print
Early Nineteenth-Century Scottish Paraphrases Handsomely Produced and Presented