C) Title-page and frontispiece from Allan Ramsay, 'The...
C) Title-page and frontispiece from Allan Ramsay, 'The Gentle Shepherd', A. Foulis, 1796 - Literature, History and Music
A handsome folio edition printed by the most distinguished and scholarly press of the Scottish Enlightenment, Foulis of Glasgow was the first press in Scotland to enjoy a European reputation. In this volume fine printing is happily matched with excellent aquatints by David Allan (1744-96), an artist much admired by Robert Burns (1759-96), who held the opinion that Allan was 'the only artist who had hit genuine pastoral costume'. The frontispiece shows Allan's posthumous portrait of Ramsay.
From the Middle Ages to the present day Scottish literature and music has been affected by outside influences and how those outsiders have received Scottish work. The most noticeable change is the move from Latin or French to works in broad Scots or English.
More than 100 editions of this book were published during the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Originally published in 1725 as a pastoral play, it soon developed into a ballad opera with accompanying music, and enjoyed a successful on the stage in Scotland, England and America. Within recent years a production has been mounted at the Edinburgh International Festival.