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Waverley's Blog and News

Welcome to our latest news

What is a commonplace notebook?

What is a ‘commonplace’ notebook?

The ‘commonplace book’ popular in the 16th and 17th centuries was a sort of personal scrapbook.

Writers, scientists, philosophers, thinkers – let’s call them writers, used commonplace notebooks where they could copy, or jot down, items of interest. The commonplace, then, was a personal treasure trove of information. Although the printing press had been invented in 1450, by Gutenberg, and thus enabled the mass production of books and fast flow of knowledge across Europe, it would take another 400 years for printing presses to be ‘common'.

Sharing with friends

Paper and notebooks were expensive, so in the 1500s and 1600s, writers lent their commonplace books to friends. Friends then would pore through the entries and copy anything of interest for themselves in their commonplace notebook.

The practice of maintaining a commonplace book and exchanging texts with others also served as a form of self-definition. The poems or aphorisms you chose to copy into your book, or to pass on to your correspondents, said a lot about you. The commonplace book as a whole was a reflection of your character and personality.

Did Robert Burns wear tartan/plaid? And did Burns wear a kilt?

At this time of year, with Hogmanay fast approaching, eyes turn to Scotland.

We have been recently asked - did Robert Burns wear tartan and did he wear a kilt?

Burns was a lowland farmer. He was conventionally dressed, in breeches. He wore the Shepherd's Check, a black and white checked fabric. This design is also known as the Border tartan, and that is sometimes known as the Northumbrian tartan, Shepherd's Plaid, or Borders' check. It has been around for a long time and so it has many names. Sir Walter Scott was also known to wear the Border tartan. James Hogg also wore this tartan. The modern Border tartan is a crossweave of small dark and light checks, much simpler than many of the colourful, complex tartans we know and think of today when tartan is mentioned.

last orders for Christmas through this website:

Last order date to arrive by Royal Mail in the UK by Christmas:
We need your orders by Sunday 16th December. All orders are swiftly despatched by BookSource. Any order placed after 16th December - sorry, we cannot guarantee it to arrive in time for Christmas. Thank you for your orders and best wishes from the team in Glasgow.

London Book Fair 12th March - 14th March 2A67

Come and see us!

Waverley/G&G are celebrating 30 years ( + ) and will be at their own space in London at 2A67. Come to see us please if you are attending LIBF Olympia. We've always got time and we'd love to see you

Bringing a little bit of Scotland to London...

David, Ron and Liz and Eleanor will be about!

Some pictures of the Commonplace notebooks in Friedrichshafen, Germany

Happy news for a Friday... Martina Kraus has kindly sent us pictures of the display in her store in Friedrichshafen, Germany, of the Waverley Commonplace Notebooks, now on sale. Thank you for the lovely pictures. We're delighted to see the notebooks in such a beautiful setting, and they sit well among the many German language travel books on Scotland. Hope they go to happy homes :) (Pictures courtesy: RavensBuch GmbH)

 

RavensBuch, Germany

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