"AS PERENNIALLY FASCINATING AS A FAIRY TALE": SIR JOHN SKELTON'S RICHLY ILLUSTRATED LIFE OF MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, 1893, SPLENDID FOLIO VOLUME BOUND IN FULL MOROCCO-GILT
(MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS) SKELTON, John. Mary Stuart. London: Boussod, Valadon, 1893. Folio (10 by 13 inches), mid-20th century full dark brown morocco gilt, elaborately gilt decorated spine, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt.
Limited first edition of Skelton's sumptuous work, number 254 of only 300 copies, with splendid full-color frontispiece portrait and 41 etchings and photogravures, this copy with 25 of which are present in double-suite, handsomely bound by Zaehnsdorf with gilt-stamped armorial insignias of Mary Queen of Scots on both covers and thistles on the spine and covers.
In this beautifully illustrated folio volume, Sir John Skelton chronicles the life of the doomed Mary Queen of Scots, from her royal birth at Linlithgow Palace in 1542 to her execution in the reign of Elizabeth I in 1587. Skelton, who served as secretary of the Scottish Board of Supervision, "wrote on subjects of heated controversy both in the past and present, and, with a chivalry which was part of his nature, often took what was at the time the unpopular side; but throughout his historical work he displayed something of the spirit of the advocate" (DNB). This is one of 100 copies printed for America; the other 200 were destined for sale in Europe. Bookplate of the Earl of Dartmouth; ink gift inscription.
Interior clean and fine; rear cover with two indentations, gilt bright. An about-fine copy of this lovely illustrated volume, with a nice provenance.