Advocates Library book stamps and inscriptions

In 1925 the Advocates Library transferred many of its early printed books to the newly formed National Library of Scotland.

The Advocates Library marked its books in several distinct ways over the years to indicate ownership. The style first used by James Nasmith in 1684 has remained remarkably consistent over the centuries. This is despite changes in curators, handwriting style and the introduction of stamps in the 19th century.

Marks of ownership include:

  • An inscription — later a stamp — on the recto of the front flyleaf, often followed by the year of accession. See, for example, the 'Ex Libris Bibliothecae Facultatis Juridicae Edinburgi'.
  • An abbreviated form of the 'Ex Libris'. This is written — later stamped — vertically in the gutter margin of the first page of the main body of text. For example, 'Adv. Bib' — a basic stamp used throughout the 19th century.
  • A stamp at the foot of page 101, where applicable, in books from the 19th century onwards.

These examples show the evolution of Faculty of Advocates marks of ownership from the 1690s to the 1920s.

 



Date: Before 1694

Description: 'Ex Libris Bibliothecae Facultatis Juridicae Edinburgi'.

Notes: In the hand of James Nasmith, Keeper 1684-1693.

Source: Juvenal. 'Satirae'. Leiden, 1658.

Shelfmark: K.58.e.13

 


 

Date: 1695

Description: 'Lib: D: D: Georgii Douglas Bibliothecae Facultatis Juridicae Edinburgi Donat'.

Notes: Inscribed in books owned by Lord George Douglas (1667/1668-1693) and presented to the Advocates Library in 1695 by his father. Read about the Lord George Douglas collection.

Source: Aleandro. 'Refutatio coniecturae anonymi scriptoris de suburbicariis regionibus, & dioecesi episcopi romani'. Paris, 1619.

Shelfmark: Hall.292.b.6

 


 

Date: 1705-1707

Description: 'Ex Libris Bibliothecae Facultatis Juridicae Edinburgi. 1707. prius M. Jacobi Sutherland'.

Notes: Inscribed in books owned by James Sutherland (1639?-1719) and bought by the Advocates Library in 1705 and 1707. In the hand of Thomas Ruddiman. Read about the Sutherland collection.

Source: Scaligero. 'Commentarii, et animadversiones, in sex libros De causis plantarum Theophrasti'. Lyon, 1566.

Shelfmark: Suther.30

 


 

Date: 1726

Description: 'Ex Libris Bibliothecae Facultatis Juridicae Edinburgi 1726'.

Notes: General inscription appearing with many different dates.

Source: 'The Psalmes of David in prose and meeter'. Edinburgh, 1635.

Shelfmark: Hall.293.f.8

 


 

Date: 1809

Description: 'Ex Libris Bibliothecae Facultatis Juridicae Edinburgi 1809'.

Notes: General stamp appearing with many different dates.

Source: Pinkerton. 'An essay on medals'. London, 1808.

Shelfmark: E.54.d.14

 


 

Date: 19th century

Description: 'Lib. Bib. Fac. Jurid. Edin'.

Notes: Stamped in the gutter margin of the first page of text proper.

Source: Signorelli. 'Storia critica de' teatri antichi e moderni'. Naples, 1787-1790.

Shelfmark: Claud.9.3

 


 

Date: 19th century

Description: 'Adv. Bib'.

Notes: Basic stamp in use throughout the 19th century. Found in gutter margin of first page of titlepage, text proper and, when applicable, at the foot of page 101.

Source: Gordon. 'Observations on the structure of the brain'. Edinburgh, 1817.

Shelfmark: Combe.1.c.2

 


 

Date: Mid-19th century

Description: 'Bibliotheca Advocatorum'.

Notes: Circular stamp with the aegis of Athena in centre surrounded by laurel wreath. Also found in gilt on front and back boards of rebound books.

Source: 'The mirour for migistrates'. London, 1587.

Shelfmark: [Ak].6.2

 


 

Date: 19th century

Description: 'Advocates Library Edinburgh'.

Notes: Oval stamp in use throughout 19th century.

Source: Gordon. 'Observations on the structure of the brain'. Edinburgh, 1817.

Shelfmark: Combe.1.c.2

 


 

Date: Early 19th century

Description: 'Advocates Library'.

Notes: Gilt design on spine.

Source: Zach. 'L'attraction des montagnes'. Avignon, 1814.

Shelfmark: Cb.1.32

 


 

Date: Later 19th century

Description: 'Advocates' Library Edinburgh'.

Notes: Gilt armorial stamp on spine.

Source: Boyle. 'Memories and thoughts by the Countess of Cork'. London, 1886.

Shelfmark: Hall.266.e

 


 

Date: Later 19th century

Description: 'Advocates Library Edinburgh'.

Notes: Blind stamp, forming a plain impression in the paper.

Source: Perry. 'Principles of political economy'. London, 1891.

Shelfmark: [Ab].1/3

 


 

Date: 1920

Description: 'Advocates Library Edinburgh 2 Jul 1920'.

Notes: Circular stamp including day and month of accession. In the 20th century the Advocates Library began to stamp books with a date stamp reflecting not only the year of accession but also the day and month. This volume, which formerly belonged to the Honorable Lord Guthrie, was presented to the Advocates Library by Lady Guthrie in June 1920.

Source: 'The Psalmes of David in prose and meeter'. Edinburgh, 1635.

Shelfmark: Hall.293.f.8

 

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