Extremely Rare Miniature Life of John Knox, Bound in Tartan Silk

Carrick, John Charles. John Knox and his Land.

Glasgow, Wm. Collins, Sons, & Co. Ltd, ca. 1902.

24mo. [8.25 x 5.75 cm]. (9), 10-(183) pp, including frontispiece and 15 plates. Unusual tartan silk binding with gilt title label on cover, all edges red. A charming, very good copy in its original publisher's or bookseller's binding.


Very rare (unrecorded in COPAC) edition of this unusual miniature book, recounting the life of the ardent Scottish clergyman John Knox - a popular hero among Presbyterians, and scourge of Scottish Catholics. Both copies we have handled were bound in tartan silk and bore the bookseller's ticket of William J. Hay, whose shop occupied a building controversially claimed to be John Knox's last house – so we presume it was issued as such.

Knox's life followed many twists and turns, from his exile in England (1549-1554) as chaplain to Edward VI, to his time in Geneva and Frankfurt when England reverted to Catholicism under Mary Tudor. He finally returned to Scotland in 1559 to bring the principles of Calvinism (whom he met in Geneva) to the masses, overseeing the so-called Scottish Reformation of 1560-61. He died in Edinburgh in 1572.

Carrick's adaptation of Knox's life is fittingly dedicated to Uchter John Mark Knox, “the most distinguished living representative of the House of Knox” and Governor-General of New Zealand. It features 16 plates, ranging from 'Knox addressing the Lords' to 'Knox admonishing Queen Mary', the great man's bedroom, and the simple tombstone erected for him. The author, John Charles Carrick, held the Manse of Newbattle, Dalkeith, and published a number of works on Scottish Church History.

A charming feature of the work is the lithographed bookseller's ticket on the flyleaf of William J. Hay, with an illustration of Knox's house surrounded by the inscription “Bought at John Knox's House in the High Street of Edinburgh”. Hay was a book- and print-seller and was evidently intent on exploiting the slightly dubious historical claim to Knox's house for as much as it was worth.

COPAC shows two similar works under this title, one at Oxford (imprint and pagination unrecorded), the other at Cambridge (192 pp, published by David Bryce and Son).

Welsh, A Bibliography of Miniature Books 1470-1965, #1654 (citing only the Bryce edition).

Stock Code: BN#53546 Tags: ,