"MUCH VALUABLE MATERIAL… NOT TO BE FOUND ELSEWHERE": STRICKLAND’S ILLUSTRATED QUEENS OF SCOTLAND, BEAUTIFULLY BOUND
(SCOTLAND) STRICKLAND, Agnes. Lives of the Queens of Scotland and English Princesses Connected with the Regal Succession of Great Britain. Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, 1850-59. Eight volumes. Octavo, contemporary full tan polished calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, raised bands, brown morocco spine labels, marbled endpapers and edges. $5500.
First edition set of Strickland’s impressive and engaging eight-volume history of Scotland's queens, with steel-engraved frontispiece portraits and vignette title pages in each volume, in fine contemporary calf-gilt.
Strickland had already published poems and some minor works before she conceived the plan of writing the biographies of the queens of England (1840-48). Their popularity was such that a similar work dealing with Scottish queens was immediately undertaken. Aided by her sister Elizabeth, Strickland’s Queens of Scotland drew largely from contemporary authorities, and contained "much valuable material… [including] pictures of the court, of society, and of domestic life not to be found elsewhere" (DNB). "The biographies of Royal females," she writes, "afford not only instances of lofty and heroic characteristics elicited by striking reverses of fortune, but the most touching examples of all that is lovely, holy, and endearing in womanhood."
"During her lifetime Agnes Strickland enjoyed considerable celebrity as the historian of the queens and cultivated a circle of aristocratic and literary friends… The Lives of the Queens of England and… the Lives of the Queens of Scotland were among the most popular of all Victorian historical publications, and remain important landmarks in the development of the biographical genre… Most major public libraries continue to carry an edition of the Lives, and the later 20th century saw a revival of academic interest in the elder Strickland sisters as female historians and historians of women. They were undoubtedly key figures in the development of writing on women's history" (ODNB). Folding facsimile letter in Volume V. Allibone, 2285. Owner ink signature, dated 1861.
A lovely set in fine condition.