The Knight and the Umbrella (Signed copy)
Signed by Ian Anstruther, an account of the Eglinton Tournament of 1839
First edition, first printing. Hardback in dustwrapper. 22 × 14cm, 270pp.
Signed and dedicated by Ian Anstruther to the half-title page.
The Earl of Eglinton, rich, spoilt and only 26 years old, egged on by his stepfather who had been done out of a job by the Whig Government's decision to remove practically all ceremony from Queen Victoria’s coronation, decided to hold a Tournament at this Ayrshire ‘Gothic’ castle. That would teach the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, that the age of chivalry was far from dead: the kill-joy Whigs were paying great lip-service to this absurd industrialism and ‘popular’ reform. But the era of steam had arrived. Wealth was being re-distributed. A new influence was gaining power in the country's affairs. Yet the sponsors of the Tournament were out of touch with this ineluctable progress. Lord Eglinton, regardless of the enormous personal cost, persisted in his intention and the Tournament duly took place, to be followed by a traditional banquet and ball. Thousands in medieval costume flocked to the spectacle. The weather, however, was unkind. It rained heavily, bringing mud and dismay. Nonetheless, Lord Elginton and his friends fulfilled their purpose. They had made a stand for tradition and past splendour. Using contemporary documents, Ian Anstruther has wittily recaptured the story in The Knight and the Umbrella, displaying as it does the strange folly of man.
The book is in good solid readable condition, but is foxed to the page edges. The dustwrapper is in fair condition, with tanning to the spine, edgewear and a little staining. However, it has not been price-clipped and is now within a protective sleeve.