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Clock ticking on bid to save Burns and Scott works for the n

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Clock ticking on bid to save Burns and Scott works for the n

Postby geemong » Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:21 am

Clock ticking on bid to save Burns and Scott works for the nation


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The Scottish members of a consortium set up to save a remarkable collection of literature for the nation are facing a race against time.

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An appeal was launched earlier this year when it was announced that manuscripts held in the Honresfield Library were being put up for auction.

The library, collected and curated by a Rochdale businessman in the 1800s, contains works by Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott.

A UK-wide consortium has until 30 October to raise the £15m needed to purchase the collection.

The library - composed of "priceless manuscripts, rare first editions and irreplaceable letters" - has been unseen by the public for almost a century.

A group made up of leading heritage organisations and museums secured an agreement to delay its auction until the end of the month as fundraising efforts continue.

So far it is halfway to its £15m target.

The Scottish members of the consortium - Abbotsford, the National Library of Scotland (NLS) and the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) - have drawn up plans to bring collection items linked to Burns and Scott back to Scotland.

These works are said to be of "deep significance to Scotland’s literary history and culture".

One is a volume of poems by Robert Burns in his own hand, known as the First Commonplace Book, which he wrote at the age of 24 before he found fame.

The collection also includes items related to Sir Walter Scott, including an "exceptional" group of Scott first editions in their original condition, and many of his manuscripts, including the complete working manuscript of Rob Roy.

If the money can be raised in time, the Scottish group will take joint care of the 40 "Scottish items" in the collection, which have a combined value of £2.75m.

Following expert curation and conservation, they would then go on public display and be available for research.
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