George IV Bridge – celebrating 50 years

A French 18th-century illustrated book: acquired in 1984

A collection of tales dealing with marital misdemeanors and love affairs reached the National Library of Scotland via a church minister.

Jean de La Fontaine's 'Contes et nouvelles en vers' borrows stories from Boccaccio, Rabelais and other medieval and Renaissance masters. It is adorned with numerous copperplate engravings. In 1754 the curators of the Advocates Library ordered an edition of this work to be removed on the grounds that it was unworthy of a place in a serious library.

Our copy was published in Amsterdam in 1777, and is part of the collection of the Rev Dr James Brown.

Originally from Lasswade in Midlothian, Dr Brown was minister at the Church of Scotland parish of Colmonell, Ayrshire, from 1925 to 1962. He put together a large collection of illustrated books, mainly 18th- and 19th-century French writings. In 1984 the books were bequeathed to the National Library.

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