The Court and Character of King James I
from the Kilmahew Estate, Cardross of John William Burns
Reprint, rebound in quarter leather with marbled paper covered boards. Simple gilt titling to spine. 20 × 16.5cm, 61pp .
Full title: The Court and Character of King James, Written and Taken by Sir A.W. Being an Eye, and Eare Witnesse
This copy comes from the library at Kilmahew in Cardross, Dumbartonshire. The book has the bookplate and signature of John William Burns, a shipowner whose father had gradually bought up the Kilmahew estate. John William commissioned John Burnet to design and build a new Mansion house at Kilmahew in the 1860s. In the 1960s a Brutalist-style seminary was built around the house (which was demolished in the 1990s after a fire) and the seminary stands as a ruin.
Sir Anthony Weldon was a 17th century courtier and politician, and purportedly the author of The Court and Character of King James I. He was dismissed from court after making a negative assessment of the Scots in A Description of Scotland, and after this supposedly wrote The Court and Character, which famously describes James I as the "wisest fool in Christendom".
This early 19th century reprint is in good to fair condition. The corners are rubbed as is the leather to the spine. The front and rear endpapers are foxed and tanned, but the main body of text is much cleaner. The inner binding is secure. However, quite a scarce title and with an interesting provenance.