Special and Named Printed Collections in the National Library of Scotland
DESCRIPTION DE L'EGYPTE, 1802-1822
In the spring of 1797, with a direct assault against Britain out of the question, Napoleon Bonaparte suggested threatening Britain's rich commerce with India by invading Egypt. A unique feature of the expedition, which set sail on 19 May 1798, was the large number and high calibre of the attached civilians. In addition to assisting in the formulation of practical measures for the rule of Egypt, the 167 savants, led by Baron Dominique Vivant Denon (1747-1825), accompanied the army to every corner of the country. On these journeys they studied every aspect of the life of Egypt and its peoples. Their studies of the great monuments of ancient Egypt and the discovery of the Rosetta Stone in 1799 paved the way for the science of Egpytology.
Following on the huge success of Denon's Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte pendant les campagnes du general Bonaparte (1802), Napoleon ordered the Imperial Press to begin publication of the visual record set down by the Egyptian expedition. Initially, the work was published in instalments between 1809 and 1829. Four hundred copper engravers worked for 20 years on the Description. They gathered information sufficient to produce what was the largest publication in the world at that time. Most of Egypt's heritage known at the time was systematically catalogued, mapped, and meticulously drawn, from the obelisks to the vast statues on the banks of the Nile, as well as the country's flora and fauna.
This collection comprises part of the huge library formed by Georg Septimus Dieterichs (1721-1805), Count Palatine and Senator of Regensburg in the second half of the 18th century. After his death, the library was auctioned over several years in Regensburg; however, the depressed state of the European economy after the Napeolonic Wars ensured that the collection was sold slowly and comparatively cheaply. Foreign buyers were able to purchase items through the agents Gleditsch of Leipzig, and, what appears to have been the majority of the collection was purchased by the Advocates' Library in 1820, for only ý86. The collection in the National Library consists of c. 52,000 items, of which c. 33,000 are academic theses of the 17th and the 18th century, mostly German, but with a number of Dutch dissertations. There are also a large number of German 16th-century polemical tracts written by Luther, Melanchthon and other leaders of the German Reformation and their opponents, and a considerable amount of miscellaneous material, including works by German Baroque writers, printed speeches and announcements, many of a local nature. There are also c. 250 volumes, containing 1666 items, most of which are legal theses of the 17th and the 18th century, held in the Advocates Library.
The University theses (shelf-mark Th.) are not catalogued, but there is a sheaf catalogue of them, arranged by century, available for consultation. Bibliotheca sive Catalogus Librorum quibus utitur Georgius Septimus Dieterichs, 7 pts, Regensburg, 1760-63 ([printed catalogue of the collection] NLS shelf mark AB.3.85.23). F.K.G. Hirsching, Versuch einer Beschreibung sehenswuerdiger Bibliotheken Teutschlands, Band III/2, Erlangen, 1790 (reprinted Hildesheim, 1971), 721-724. M.A. Pegg, 'A Catalogue of German Reformation Pamphlets (1516-1546) in Libraries of Great Britain and Ireland', Bibliotheca Aureliana XLV, Baden-Baden, 1973. M. Nix, 'An uncommonly heavy collection. Tons of Tomes,' in: Folio (Collections, research, events at the National Library of Scotland) 5 (Autumn 2002), pp. 2-5.
Shelf: DC. & Th.
A purchased selection of 150 volumes from the collection of books and pamphlets relating to the county of Angus formed by Dr A.T. Doig, FRSE, and acquired in 1976 on the dispersal of his library. It includes a number of pamphlets printed locally in Angus.
A group of c. 880 volumes largely of theological literature with a notable collection of liturgical works, selected from the Bishop Dowden Memorial Library and placed on long-term deposit in 1954 by the Chapter of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh. The collection was formed chiefly by John Dowden (1840-1910), Bishop of Edinburgh, and the books date from the 15th (5 incunables) to the 20th century. A number of volumes were added to the deposit in 1970 and 1991, and correspondence and papers were deposited 1970-72.
Typescript inventory of the manuscripts.
Over 2,300 volumes from the Rare Book Room of the library of St Andrew’s College, Drygrange, were deposited in 1986 prior to the closure of the College. The collection was built up mainly from the collection of Bishop John Gillis (1802-64), and books from St Margaret’s Convent, Edinburgh, founded in 1835 by Gillis and the first Catholic religious house established in Scotland since the Reformation. Although it consists of mostly 18th- and 19th-century works, there are three incunables, 17 STC (see p. 3) and 66 Wing (see p. 3) items, as well as a considerable number of early continental imprints. The main subject areas are theology and religious controversy, church history and biography, devotional literature, Roman Catholicism in England and Scotland, with a number of early 19th-century tracts dealing with Catholic Emancipation, general history, both British and European, some literature, travel and natural history. There are also some notable individual works and books with association interest.
DUNBAR PRESBYTERY LIBRARY COLLECTION
This collection has now been returned to the depositor (October 2012).
A selection of 2,762 volumes of printed books and pamphlets, and 25 manuscript volumes, from what remained of the Earl of Rosebery’s library at The Durdans, Epsom, after the 1933 Sotheby’s sale. The books were received by the Library in 1956 by the bequest of Lady Sybil Grant (1903-55), eldest daughter of the 5th Earl (1847-1929 - see Rosebery Collection). The collection reflects the general country house character of the library at The Durdans and the Earl’s personal interests, its main strengths being historical memoirs and pamphlets on British and European history of the 18th and the 19th century, particularly the lives and times of Pitt and Napoleon; French and English literature, including an uncensored copy of the first edition of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal (Paris, 1857) with the six condemned poems later extracted from unsold copies; English topography, in particular Epsom and Surrey; privately printed volumes of memoirs and poetry; dictionaries of slang, cant, and proverbs; religious works including material relating to Cardinal Newman. However, the collection is perhaps richest in works on all aspects of horse-racing and breeding and field sports in general, ranging from early lists of horse-races and manuals of horsemanship and veterinary science, to long runs of sporting journals, including a complete run of The Sporting Magazine (London, 1792-1870). The collection includes a number of fine bindings and contains many books from the Beckford library, some with annotations both by Beckford and the Earl of Rosebery.
The manuscripts are described and indexed in Vol. VIII of the Library’s Catalogue of Manuscripts.