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Foulis Press

Medium: Printed

Number of items: 150 items (dispersed).

The brothers Robert (1707-1776) and Andrew Foulis (1712-1775) printed around six hundred 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 (1756-1829), who issued a further 104 titles. The books dated 1806 were reissues; the last separate edition was dated 1800.

The Library’s collection of 150 titles, which derive predominantly 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 (Philip Gaskell, A Bibliography of the Foulis Press, 2nd edn (Winchester: St Paul's Bibliographies, 1986), no. 319), described as ‘one of the most splendid editions of Homer ever delivered to the world… its accuracy is equal to its magnificence’ (Edward Harwood, A View of the Various Editions of the Greek and Roman Classics: With Remarks (London: T. Becket, 1775), p. 25).
  • The only recorded vellum copy of the 1748 Epictetus (Gaskell no. 108).
  • Silk copies of the 1751 Anacreon and of volume I of the 1754 Pindar, these being the only two titles printed on silk (Gaskell nos 181 and 274).
  • Four works with bindings bearing the coat of arms of Louis XV (1710-1774): the 1761 Herodotus and the 1762, 1764 and 1767 editions of Xenophon (Gaskell nos 395, 413, 435 and 472).


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