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Original price £375.00 - Original price £375.00
Original price
£375.00 - £375.00
Current price £375.00

[Education; Arithmetic]: Incipit: Division. Teaches to divide any sum into a proposed number of equal parts. Scotland, early nineteenth century. 

This attractively-presented early nineteenth-century manuscript was compiled for the purpose of teaching children division, addition, and subtraction, and contains problems as well as example workings. 

This manuscript has an inscription for Barcaldine House (Scotland), and also appears to have been used by children called Sylvie[?] Leister and Alec[?] Augustus Fisk, who have signed their names. A broader connection to a Fisk family is perhaps suggested by the ‘Bills of parcels’ section, which furnishes examples of addition. It constitutes itemized lists of parcels sold by a Charles Fisk in 1824, with products including lamb skins for gloves, Genoa velvet, Malaga raisins, and Cambridge butter.

Educational examples are often structured around units of measure. For example: If from London to York be accounted 50 leagues, I demand how many miles, yards, feet, inches, and barleycorns? A number of the topics relate to drinking, including sections on ‘Wine Measure’ and ‘Ale and Beer Measure’. It seems that one young reader was not inclined to learn division, choosing instead to produce pen trials over the top of a page of example sums! 

We note some textual and structural similarities to An Introduction to Arithmetic; or, The Teacher’s Ease and Scholar’s Help; containing all the elementary rules of that science adapted to Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Schools, and private families (Plymouth, Printed and sold by John Williams, [1830]). 


Manuscript. One volume, 20.3 x 16 cms in binding, pp. 94 (all except 3 with writing). The main hand adds headings in a calligraphic style and uses red ink for lines in arithmetic examples. Bound in half sheep and marbled paper over boards.

Provenance: ‘Barcaldine House, Ledag[?], Argylleshire, Scotland (Inscription to final verso). Signatures of two students[?] found in margins (see above). Occasional pen trials and added sums. 

Condition (textblock): light browning, foxing, and spotting to paper, occasional small stains, some pages loosening. Condition (binding): leather worn and abraded, spine partially lacking, boards loosening.