Skye-inspired verse

We recently bought a privately printed book with lithographed illustrations of some wildlife and albumen prints of landscapes and sheep on the Isle of Skye set in beautifully ornamented borders.  The author, illustrator and printer all in one was the rural improver and gardener Sir Charles Isham (1819-1903). He probably produced the book at his family estate of Lamport, Northamptonshire.

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Inspired by a trip to the Isle of Skye, Isham wrote a poem about an eagle terrorising the sheep population of Skye. The poem is of a decidely poor quality, similar to the entertaining doggerel verse he wrote to accompany his display of garden gnomes.

The poem, dating from the 1860s, exists in various pamphlet versions with different ornamental borders and illustrations. Our new acquisition is a ‘deluxe’ edition, bound in morocco, with the text on thick card with gilt edges. Unlike the pamphlet version this copy consists only of the text of the poem.

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Find out more about Sir Charles Isham in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (accessible through NLS Licensed Digital Collections).