Library and Information Services, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Thursday, 3 September 2015

On This Day ... 1808

Crusty, objectionable, fussy .... 

Joseph Ritson, compiler of Scotish Songs 

Scotish Songs

The reputed Scottish antiquarian Joseph Ritson died on this day, 3rd September 1808.  If he was fussy and argumentative, it's because he was deeply knowledgeable and wanted everything to be just right.  And he had no patience whatsoever with anyone who fabricated 'historic' Scottish culture, like Macpherson's Ossian tales.

Unfortunately, that made him very unpopular with a whole lot of people.  In spite of that, spare him a charitable thought today, because he wasn't all bad - just a bit difficult to get along with!

He compiled a two-volume collection of Scottish songs which was highly thought-of in its day.  The Whittaker Library has facsimiles of Ritson's two-volume Scotish Songs.  (Yes, that is the archaic spelling!)  

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