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Stella & Rose's Books

Specialists in Rare & collectable books

T.N. Foulis, Publisher

The Edinburgh based publishing house of T.N. Foulis was founded in 1903 by Thomas Noble Foulis and Douglas A Foulis. The title ‘T.N. Foulis’ was adopted in 1905.

The output of the firm during the first quarter of the 20th century, was outstanding in terms of book design, illustration and production. T.N. Foulis himself declared in his catalogue of 1913 - "Each Foulis book is the particular outcome of much personal thought and consideration. The more mechanical methods of modern publishing, which pours out wholesale, indiscriminately bound, or with featureless uniformity, have no attraction for Mr. Foulis and his fellow craftsmen."

A typical Foulis book features coloured buckram bindings, rose-water marked paper with rough-cut pages, and probably employs the elegant Auriol type-face. It will be extensively illustrated by the inclusion of ‘tipped-in’ reproductions of art-work by eminent painters contemporary with the time of publication, such as Jessie M. King; W. Russell Flint; Frank Brangwyn; Robert Gemmell Hutchison and Frederick Cayley Robinson - to name but a few.

For the collector, the quest for Foulis books is an interesting one, for although titles, such as those of the Life and Character series, are easy prey, others such as the fragile ‘envelope’ series, or titles such as The Old English Christmas by Washington Irving, or Edward Fitzgerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam are more elusive. Further interest is provided by the Foulis practice of introducing puzzling variants of bindings and formats. (The contributor has a felt-bound example - below right). Super-sleuth questors are warned that some titles announced and advertised by T.N. Foulis were never published !

Notwithstanding Foulis’ noble principles and practice, the company slumped and he himself died later in relative obscurity in Essex.

Stella & Rose's Books are grateful to Mr. Eric Arbuckle for his kind submission of this article.

PS: The company was taken over by G.T. Marshall (Henley Printers), and the new company named G.T. Foulis & Co. would become well-known for publishing motoring books, and in turn became part of the Haynes Publishing Group

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