“FOND ADHERENCE TO THEIR PRIMITIVE GARB”: BEAUTIFUL FIRST EDITION OF CLANS OF THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS, WITH 72 SPLENDID HAND-COLORED LARGE FOLIO PLATES OF TARTANS, IN ORIGINAL PUBLISHER’S BINDING
MCIAN, Robert Ronald and LOGAN, James. The Clans of the Scottish Highlands. London: Ackermann, 1845-47. Two volumes. Folio (11 by 15 inches), publisher's full black morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spines and boards, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $17,000.
First edition of the first illustrated encyclopaedia of traditional Scottish tartans, with two chromolithographic heraldic frontispieces and 72 vibrant, hand-colored lithographic plates after the celebrated paintings of Robert Ronald McIan of the great chiefs and highlanders. A beautiful copy in the publisher's elaborately gilt-decorated morocco bindings.
Initially an aspiring actor in London, Robert Ronald McIan eventually abandoned the stage to develop his gifts as a painter. Today, he is best remembered for the vibrant and dramatic illustrations of Highlanders in their tartans that fill these large folio volumes. McIan's art, supplemented by text from scholar and journalist James Logan (author of the landmark The Scottish Gael, 1831), helped fuel the Victorian public's fascination with Scottish costumes, particularly following the 1782 law prohibiting the wearing of Highland dress. Very popular at the time, McIan's Clans is still considered the finest example of a large number of works on the subject. Originally issued in 24 parts. Abbey, Life 426. Hiler & Hiler, 550. Tooley 322. Houfe, 219. See Colas 1892.
A bit of scattered foxing to text only, plates fine, colors vivid and beautiful. Volume II with text block expertly recased preserving original binding and endpapers.