January 2008 acquisitions
Here is some information on a sample of items recently acquired by Rare Book Collections at the National Library of Scotland.
An Edinburgh rose
At first glance the 'Edinburgh rose' looks like a cleverly sculpted paper rose. However, when opened it shows 28 engravings of Edinburgh and its surroundings. The illustrations include Calton Hill, the Castle, Holyrood Palace, Roslin Chapel and Tantallon Castle. This is a remarkable piece of paper engineering.
The Edinburgh rose is kept in an envelope with an engraving of the Scott Monument. On one side the imprint reads 'Joseph Myers & Co., London', and on the other 'C. Adler, Hamburg'. Myers and Adler produced a series of over 100 such 'roses' depicting views of places throughout Britain and Europe.
David Hume in German
Displayed here is the title page of the very rare first edition of German extracts from the works of the philosopher David Hume. It contains translations from two of his works, History of England and Essays and treatises on several subjects. Hume's works were translated into many languages.
The German poet and critic Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg (1737-1823) translated the texts rather freely. He also wrote his own summaries of the Scottish philosopher's views.
There are no copies of this work in the UK and only one in North America. The Library collects Hume material extensively, especially as he was Keeper of the Advocates Library from 1752 to 1757.
A beautiful Bible
We recently bought a Bible bound in bright red morocco with a herringbone design. It is a copy of the rare Edinburgh edition of the Psalms of David. The herringbone binding is a characteristically Scottish binding design. It was particularly popular in the 18th century.
The book appears to have been bound for Margaret, Countess of Dumfries, who married the 6th Earl of Dumfries in 1771. 'M. Dumfries' is inscribed at the head of the title page. The book was later owned by the Countess's grandson, Lord James Stuart. He was the younger brother of the second Marquess of Bute and a Member of Parliament for Cardiff.