Special and Named Printed Collections in the National Library of Scotland
Presented in 1927 to the newly established National Library by the 5th Earl of Rosebery (1847-1929), this great collection from Barnbougle Castle can be divided into three parts: (1) A general collection of early printed books, c. 700 items, on Scottish subjects - history, topography, literature, music, military affairs and religious controversies. Items include Nemorarius Jordanus, Arithmetica (Paris, 1496), which contains the earliest known reference to a Scot engaged in the printing trade (David Lauxius, or Lowis, printer’s proof corrector); a French translation (Rouen, 1513) of the letter from James IV to Henry VIII with the declaration of war that led to the defeat at Flodden; a set of playing cards from 1691, Cards Armorial, with the arms of the Scottish nobility; Sir Walter Scott’s thesis for admission to the Faculty of Advocates (1792). (2) A collection of over 300 volumes relating to Mary, Queen of Scots, including a contemporary account by William Patten of the Duke of Somerset’s expedition into Scotland to secure a marriage between Mary and Edward VI; Ronsard’s Elegie sur le Despart de la Royne Marie (Rouen, 1561) on Mary’s return to Scotland after the death of her husband Francis I; and among a number of accounts of Mary’s execution is a French account beginning: ‘Elysabet, ceste Bastarde, conceue en inceste, Royne illegitime, & vsurpatrice du Royaume d’Angleterre’ (Paris?, 1588). (3) Over 2,000 single pamphlets and 120 volumes of pamphlets covering Scottish history, politics and society from 1585 to 1923. Lord Rosebery’s correspondence and papers bound in 216 volumes were presented in 1966 by Lord Primrose, later the 7th Earl of Rosebery.
Catalogue of Pamphlets in the Library at Barnbougle Castle [compiled by G.P. Johnston], (chronologically arranged with index, text in MS, with a printed title page) 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1903. The manuscripts are described and indexed in Vol. VIII of the Library’s Catalogue of Manuscripts. Catalogue of the Early and Rare Books of Scottish Interest in the Library at Barnbougle Castle [compiled by G.P. Johnston], Privately Printed, 1923. J. Scott, ‘A Bibliography of Works relating to Mary Queen of Scots, 1594-1600', Papers of the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society, 2 (1896), 1-96. The Rosebery Collections: an Exhibition Held in the National Library of Scotland, 26 August-30 September, 1958, Edinburgh, 1958. Eva Primrose, Countess of Rosebery, ‘Barnbougle Castle. (Unfamiliar Libraries, 7)’, The Book Collector, 11 (1962), 35-44. B.P. Hillyard, ‘Archibald Philip, 5th Earl of Rosebery’, in Dictionary of Literary Biography: British Book-Collectors and Bibliographers: Pre-Nineteenth-Century Bookmen (forthcoming).