Friday, April 04, 2008

Scotland's First Book on Display

Today marks the 500th anniversary of Scottish printing, and the National Library is showing off one of its greatest treasures for the occasion: the only known copy of the earliest dated book printed in Scotland.

The colophon to John Lydgate's poem known as the Complaint of the Black Knight reads "[Impre[n]tit in the south gait of Edinburgh : Be Walter chepman and Androw myllar, the fourth day of ap[r]il the yhere of god .M.CCCCC. and viii. yheris]" ... that is "Printed in the South Gate of Edinburgh: by Walter Chepman and Andrew Myllar, 4 April 1508." You can virtually-page through the Complaint here (images and transcriptions).

Lydgate's poem is bound together with the eight other known Chepman/Myllar books as well as two items by other printers.

A good introduction to the NLS' "First Scottish Books" project is here.

1 comment:

oakling said...

Go Scotland! I love to imagine these guys setting up to print their first book... I imagine them as being a lot like early computer geeks, maybe squirreled away in a workshop somewhere building a printing press and giggling to themselves about how cool it's going to be.