Special and Named Printed Collections in the National Library of Scotland

TYNINGHAME HOUSE LIBRARY

A selection of books from the library at Tyninghame House purchased in 1987, before it was dispersed at auction. The core of the collection consists of 345 volumes believed to have belonged to the lawyer and politician Thomas Hamilton (1563-1637), 1st Earl of Haddington, known as ‘Tam o’ the Cowgate’ by his friend King James VI. A collector of books throughout his career, he signed them with the form of name and title he bore at the time of acquiring them. However, research on these books since they came to the Library suggests that some of the volumes signed ‘M[agister] T Hamilton’ may have belonged to his father, another Thomas, who had also been a student at Paris. The first Earl acquired books in French, Latin, English and Italian, mainly on history, politics and political theory, law, literature, but also some courtesy books and other more practical works on subjects such as medicine and agriculture. The remainder of the collection comprises 11 works owned by the 2nd Earl (1600-40), and 41 works acquired at later dates. Among the latter are four illustrated books which came from the library of George Lauder of the Bass, and several fine Scottish bindings, including Tasso’s Gierusalemme Liberata, (Glasgow, 1763), bound by James Scott of Edinburgh.

B.P. Hillyard, ‘Books for the National Library from Tyninghame House’, Scottish Book Collector, 6 (June/July 1988), 26-7. ----, “Durkan & Ross’ and Beyond’, in A.A. MacDonald, M. Lynch and I.B. Cowan (editors), The Renaissance in Scotland, Leiden, 1994, 369-384.

Shelfmark: Tyn.

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