The Stirling Heads
RCAHMS / HMSO, 1960
This handbook, published by Her Majesty's Stationary Office in Edinburgh, for the Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, gives full-page photos of all 40 wooden portrait roundels from the ceiling of the King's presence chamber at Stirling Castle. These amazing medallions were carved and installed between 1540 and 1542. Each shows a dramatic portrait bust of a historical or mythological figure, with an elaborate decorative border.
Recently, replicas have been commissioned for the refurbishment of the castle, and while they were being made, the woodcarver working on them found what he thought might be musical notation on one. The reconstructed music has now been publicly presented at Stirling and on TV.
This is the only book to my knowledge to have good photos of all the roundels, allowing you to study the markings and maybe find some music on some of the other heads. It is very hard to find.
Paperback, excellent condition, £30. contact me to enquire about availability & postage.
Also available: the 1975 re-issue. This has the photos all shrunk, to fit three to a page, so the details are no longer visible. However there is more introduction and commentary on the roundels. One only, £10.