Illuminated caligraphic book by Esther Inglis

The daughter of a French Huguenot émigré, the famous calligrapher Esther Inglis lived in Edinburgh from her early years.


Ink, colour & gold on paper
10 x 14 cm
Art Fund grant:
£6,000 ( Total: £12,000)
Acquired in:
Mrs J E M Burnet

This manuscript exhibits all the finest characteristics of her work. There are exquisite and characteristic examples of her page layouts, with botanical illuminations surmounting calligraphic texts. The variety of hands present throughout makes the volume an important example of the artist's practice of including specimens of many styles: some texts are wonderful examples of her extraordinary virtuosity in handling mirror writing on the minutest scale. Upon the title page, birds and butterflies mingle with the botanical elements of the design, in which thistles are included as befits a commission for a Scottish nobleman. The binding (perhaps the product of her own hand) is original, and is a fine example of its period.


William Douglas, 6th Earl of Morton 1607; John Nimmo 1700; Grizell Nimmo 1719; her grand-daughter Elizabeth Hogg; by descent in the Scott Moncrieff family to present owner.

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