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Foulis Press Collection

150 items (dispersed).

The brothers Robert and Andrew Foulis printed some 589 editions in Glasgow between 1744 and 1776.

The press was closely associated with the university, with many texts written or edited by Glasgow professors, and the university provided a ready market for the brothers. Foulis editions were admired for their high standards of typography and book production, as well as their scholarship.

After the brothers’ deaths the press was carried on rather less actively until 1806 by Robert’s son, Andrew Foulis the younger, who issued a further 103 titles.1

The Library’s collection of 150 titles, which predominantly derive from the Spencer Collection, is not large by international standards, but it includes a high proportion of the editions of Greek and Latin texts for which the press was noted. 

These include a copy of the three-volume works of Homer issued in 1756–8 in folio, described as ‘one of the most splendid editions of Homer ever delivered to the world… its accuracy is equal to its magnificence’ (Gaskell 319); the only recorded vellum copy of the 1748 Epictetus (Gaskell 108); the silk copies of the 1751 Anacreon and of volume I of the 1754 Pindar, these being the only two titles printed on silk (Gaskell 181 and 274); and four works with bindings bearing the coat of arms of Louis XV: the 1761 Herodotus and the 1762, 1764 and 1767 editions of Xenophon (Gaskell 395, 413, 435 and 472).

1 The books dated 1806 were reissues; the last separate edition was dated 1800: see Philip Gaskell, A Bibliography of the Foulis Press, 2nd edition (Winchester, 1986).

Finding aids

  • Recorded in general printed-book catalogue.
  • The collection is also recorded in a (so far partially) marked-up copy of Philip Gaskell’s A Bibliography of the Foulis Press, 2nd edition (Winchester, 1986).
  • David W. Riley, 'English Books of the Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, with Particular Reference to History and Literature', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, vol. 71, no. 2 (1989), p. 95.

Location

The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library

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