December 2003 acquisitions

This one-volume compendium contains the works of the scholastic philosopher and theologian John Duns Scotus (1265/1266-1308), who was of Scottish origin although his birthplace remains a matter of debate. Nicknamed 'Doctor Subtilis' (the subtle doctor) because of his complex and nuanced thinking, he was the founder and leader of the Scotist School, which had its chief representatives among the Franciscans. It is said that he prepared the ruin of scholasticism.

This compendium was edited by Columbus Bonaventura as part of the revival of interest in Duns Scotus in 17th-century Catholic Europe. It formerly belonged to Geoffrey W S Barrow, now professor emeritus of Scottish history and paleography at the University of Edinburgh.

This is a rare publication of Buchanan's own biblical tragedy, 'Jephthes', side by side with his Latin translation of 'Alcestis', Euripides' classic of Greek plays. The Scottish humanist George Buchanan (1506-1582) was a leading figure in the "divine poetry" movement, which sought to rival classical literature with Christian texts.

Two hundred years after its original publication, the book was bound for the 18th-century English scholar-collector Michael Wodhull (1740-1816), whose arms are on the binding. Wodhull was the first English translator of the complete works of Euripides, and he may have used Buchanan's work for reference.

This is one of a series of 10 portraits of prize cattle by James Howe, published in 1832. Between 1830 and 1831 Howe was employed to draw a series of illustrations of British farm animals for publication by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.

This is an Angus heifer, whose breeder Mr Hugh Watson of Keillor was awarded the Society's prize medal. The judges mention the heifer as a most extraordinary animal: her dead weight was between 130 and 140 stones.


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