IAN Rankin is all set to open the Edinburgh Premier Book Fair at the Radisson Blu Hotel this weekend, and like everyone else in attendance will no doubt make a point of checking out a very special attraction, a rare Edition of Robert Burns’ work.
With more than 40 specialist booksellers from around the UK taking part, the Edinburgh Book Fair is the largest antiquarian and collectable book fair in Scotland, with rare, collectable, quirky, expensive and not so expensive books on sale.
However, the star of this year’s event is sure to be an outstanding 1787 first edition of Burn’s poems, bound in the Cosway Style, with a bejewelled miniature portrait of the book’s subject on the front .
Written chiefly in the Scottish dialect, this Second edition (First Edinburgh), was printed in Edinburgh for the author and sold by William Creechin 1787.
The engraved portrait on the front is after J Beugo by A Nasmyth. See it at Michael Moon’s stand at the fair.
Another edition of Burn’s poems and songs has also been sumptuously bound by Andrew Sims especially for the Fair and will be at Gilleasbuig Ferguson’s stand.
Other items of note include the collection of 1860 rare cameos of prominent historical figures, including Leonardo di Vinci, Caesar and Homer; a copy of The History of The Bassandyne Bible published in Edinburgh in (1887); Poem In Six books By Ossian (1772) and the first edition of George Buchanan’s famous and influential history of Scotland (1582).
This year’s Edinburgh Book Fair is the centrepiece of a brand new festival, Rare Books Edinburgh, which will run until next Thursday, bringing together ten different institutions and organisations to celebrate book culture, book history and collecting.
The festival includes a series of mostly free events, including introductory talks suitable for beginners as well as advanced workshops of interest to established scholars and collectors.
Organisations taking part include the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh University Library and Blackwell’s Bookshop.
For full programme of events go to www.rarebooksedinburgh.com