Daily Archives: June 9, 2009

sir precenter

I opened one volume today, and found a series of parchments and seals from the Highland Society for Mackenzie.  The heavy presentation seal rested in a deep compartment made from the laquered pages.  I spent the rest of my time looking over Mackenzie’s drafts for Anecdotes and Egotisms.

A little later, I opened the Edinburgh Cape Club‘s Petition Book, and found Robert Fergusson’s successful petition to the club, with a pen and ink caricature of him on the back, labeled, “Sir Precenter.”  (A precentor is the leader of the choir in Scottish congregations, one of Fergusson’s student-duties at St. Andrews).

This comic portrait of Fergusson had downcast eyes and a ski-slope nose, with collar-length hair in what looked like a Beatles cut.  He seemed to grimace in a permanent state of melancholy–forever The Poet.  [or am I projecting?]

A nineteenth century commentator, analyzing the variously unfaithful and fanciful portraits, said he was “well liked evidently a clever weak man.”