A COLLECTION of rare books, including an illustrated copy of Paradise Lost, has been discovered in a hidden cupboard in a Scottish library.
The literary haul was found in Greenock’s Watt Library by archivist Neil Dickson.
The collection includes a 1538 edition of letters by Roman philosopher Cicero and an 1827 illustrated edition of John Milton’s Paradise Lost – one of only 50 copies.
The books have now been put on display at the town’s McLean Museum.
Dickson, who discovered the cupboard behind an old plan chest while working his way through the archives, said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the cupboard, which obviously hadn’t been opened for 20, 30 years or longer.
“I was absolutely stunned when I realised what was inside. I have never seen such a collection of books in one place, and certainly not under these circumstances.
“I am sure the find will be of enormous interest.”
The collection also includes volumes from the 17th and 18th centuries on surgery, witchcraft and exploration and a 19th-century Hamnet edition of Shakespeare’s plays published in Greenock and edited by its then librarian, Allan Park Paton.
Inverclyde Council’s education convener Terry Loughran said: “This really is an incredible find, and one that will be talked about in literary circles up and down the country and beyond.”