"COUNTRYWOMEN OF THE WEIRD SISTERS IN MACBETH": FIRST EDITION OF WALTER SCOTT ON DEMONOLOGY AND WITCHCRAFT, 1830, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH 12 VIVIDLY HAND-COLORED PLATES BY CRUIKSHANK
SCOTT, Walter. Letters On Demonology and Witchcraft, Addressed to J.G. Lockhart, Esq. London: John Murray, 1830. 12mo, early 20th-century full green morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and covers, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. $2300.
First edition of one of Scott's final works, expressing the writer's lifelong interest in witchcraft and the supernatural, this copy extra-illustrated with 12 plates by noted Victorian illustrator George Cruikshank in triple suite, one suite hand-colored, handsomely bound by Wood.
"The supernatural was an abiding interest of Scott's" and in this, one of the writer's last works, that lifelong curiosity took the form of letters to Lockhart, his biographer and son-in-law, on subjects including witchcraft and witch trials, demonology, fairies and elves, astrology, ghosts, and magicians (Todd & Bowden 241Aa). Scott drew on such classic demonologies as Reginald Scot's Discoverie of Witchcraft (1585) and Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana (1703), and regularly consulted Thomas Jackson's Treatise Containing the Originall of Un-beliefe (1625). The volume was Scott's contribution to a series of books known as "Murray's Family Library" and published from 1829-47. With original engraved frontispiece illustration of the house of Major Weir by J. Skene. The 12 Cruikshank plates appear in black-and-white printed on paper, hand-colored, and India proof. Letters was published in September 1830; Cruikshank self-published his illustrations in November of the same year. Todd & Bowden 241Aa. See Kies 135. Cohn 188, 731.
Only a few spots of foxing to interior, plates vivid and fine, spine toned to brown. A handsome, near-fine copy.