July 2008 acquisitions

Here is some information on a sample of items recently acquired by Rare Book Collections at the National Library of Scotland.

Early photographs

Scottish soldiers
The 92nd
Highlanders.

The 92nd Highlanders pose for a group photograph! The picture comes from an album of 94 albumen prints probably compiled by William Henry Dick-Cunyngham (1851-1900). The first half of the album shows views in India, and towards the end are a few commercial Scottish views. In between are photographs that relate specifically to army regiments.

The 92nd Regiment of Foot was a British Army infantry regiment. In 1881 it was joined with the 75th Regiment of Foot to form the Gordon Highlanders. Dick-Cunyngham, who compiled the photographs, was a lieutenant in the Gordon Highlanders. He served during the Second Afghan War, and died in action in Natal, South Africa, during the Boer War.

 


 

A popular poet

Portrait of Thomson
James
Thomson.

James Thomson's portrait serves as the frontispiece of an illustrated edition of his famous poem 'The seasons'. Thomson (1700-1748), a Scottish poet and dramatist, was one of the most influential poets of his day. He is perhaps best remembered for the present work, which was originally published in separate sections between 1726 and 1730.

We bought this copy mainly because it has original wash drawings by the Scottish painter and caricaturist Isaac Cruikshank. The book also contains the morocco and gilt bookplate of the well-known book collector Jerome Kern (1885-1945). Kern also composed over 700 songs, including 'Ol' Man River' and 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes'. The book has a splendid early 20th-century green morocco binding.

 


 

Russian peasants

A Russian peasant
A Russian peasant.

Russians peasants are just some of the objects William Carrick used for his photographic portraits. They form part of an album of 24 carte-de-visite photographs. Pasted onto folding boards, these cards make up a portfolio.

Edinburgh-born William Carrick (1827-1878) moved to Kronstadt, the port of St Petersburg, in 1828. He visited Scotland in 1857, where he met a professional photographer, John MacGregor. MacGregor encouraged him to set up a photographic studio in St Petersburg. Carrick's studio opened in 1859 and MacGregor joined the business.

When he was not taking commissioned portraits, Carrick would invite people from the street to have their photographs taken. In this way, he and MacGregor photographed a broad cross-section of Russian society. There are photographs of nuns, street hawkers, coachmen and soldiers. They called these portraits 'Russian types'.

 


 

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