June 2009

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

Improving horses

Horse cure engraving
Detail from horse
cure engraving.

Cosmetic surgery for horses was quite common in the 18th century. Docking the tail of a horse involved cutting and raising the tail while the horse was kept in its stall. Through a system of weights and pulleys the docked tail was pulled upwards. The aim was to give the tail a pleasing erect appearance.

Dionysius Robertson, a well-known Scottish horse doctor, explained docking in his book on 'Anglicising' horses. Robertson also describes how to reduce the size of a horse's ears. The book was published in German in 1770. There is no English version.



A new bird

A new species of crossbill
Detail from
bird engraving.

A new species of crossbill was discovered in southern Africa by Lieutenant William Paterson (1755-1810), a Scots army officer and natural historian. Between 1777 and 1779 he made four journeys from Cape Town into the largely unexplored interior of South Africa. Paterson published an account of his travels in 1789 under the title 'A narrative of four journeys into the country of the Hottentots and Caffraria'.

Johann Reinhold Forster (1729-98), a German of partial Scottish descent, translated the work into German. The German edition including the map of Africa is rare. Forster was Professor of Natural History and Mineralogy at the University of Halle. He had also served as the naturalist on Captain Cook's second voyage, 1772-1775.



European Cup 1967

Inter-Celtic football programme
Detail of
football programme.

On 25 May 1967, Glasgow Celtic beat Internazionale (Inter) Milan 2-1. Celtic thus became the first British football team to win the European Cup.

We purchased a copy of the official match programme along with six Continental newspapers reporting the match. Our copy has an ink stamp on the front cover with an additional price in British currency: "2/6", two shillings and sixpence.



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