Rare Books - Important Acquisitions List All

Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 752 of the most important items we have acquired since 2000. We update it regularly as new material comes in. The description gives information about why it was chosen and what makes it particularly interesting. You can order the list by date of acquisition, author or title.

Please let us know what you think of this resource, if you have information to add about an acquisition, or if you have rare Scottish books that you would like to donate or sell. Email us at rarebooks@nls.uk

      

Important Acquisitions 1 to 15 of 752:

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AuthorBoylan, Grace Duffie
TitleIf Tam o'Shanter'd had a wheel
ImprintNew York: E. R. Herrick
Date of Publication1898
NotesBoylan (1862-1935) was a writer for the Chicago Journal, as well as a poet and novelist. This collection of writings includes poems on religion and social justice as well as short stories set in many lands. The short heroic poem 'The Cuban Amazon' celebrates Inez Cari, the black woman who led a Cuban revolt against Spain. The title of the volume comes from the first poem, which whimsically re-writes Robert Burns's famous poem, imagining instead a young man on a bicycle pursuing a witch-like lady also on two wheels. The scene is depicted on the front cover, with a cyclist in tartan and witches and bats in the background. This acquisition suggests the influence of Burns on radical American literature.
ShelfmarkAB.2.206.003
Acquired on06/06/05
AuthorScott, Sir Walter.
Title[The Legend of Montrose.] Vysluzhivshiisia ofitser, ili voina Montroza, istoricheskii roman. Soch. Valtera Scotta, avtora Shotlandskikh puritan, Rob Roia, Edimburgskoi temnitsy, i proch. Perevod s Frantsuzskago. [The officer on the up, or the war of Montrose, a historical novel. A work by Walter Scott, author of The Scottish Puritan [ie. Old Mortality], Rob Roy, The Edinburgh Dungeon [ie. The Heart of Midlothian], and others. Translated from French].
ImprintMoscow: P. Kuznetsov
Date of Publication1824
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is the rare first edition of the first Russian translation of Sir Walter Scott's The Legend of Montrose. This historical romance set in Scotland in the 1640s was first published alongside The Bride of Lammermoor in 1819. During his lifetime Scott became famous in Russia - just as Robert Burns would become hugely popular there in later years. Many of his novels were translated from French. Kenilworth was the first of his novels to appear in Russian, in 1823. Scott became a major influence on great Russian writers such as Pushkin. Copies of Scott's novels in Russian are rare and this is the first early example NLS has been able to acquire. This copy is is bound in contemporary Russian marbled sheep, gilt-tooled with an image on the spine of a cart with a plough and sheaves.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2695
Acquired on31/10/07
Title[211 nineteenth century pamphlets on education]
ImprintVarious
Date of Publication19th century
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a collection of 12 bound volumes containing 211 nineteenth century pamphlets on topics related to education. They were at one time in the library of the Educational Institute of Scotland. The Educational Institute of Scotland was founded in 1847 and is the oldest teaching union in the world. Queen Victoria granted a Royal Charter to the EIS and among the powers conferred was the power to award a degree of Fellow of the Institute. The EIS remains the only trade union that awards degrees. Liverpool and Scotland feature strongly in the collection and there are also items from the United States, Wales and other parts of England. Items produced by the pupils on their press in an Edinburgh disabled pupils school are particularly interesting. Important authors represented include William Godwin and Thomas Chalmers among others.
ShelfmarkAB.3.206.002-013
Acquired on21/02/06
Title[3 early nineteenth century Edinburgh trade cards]
Imprint[Edinburgh]
Date of Publication[c.1811-1842]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese three trade cards provide us with a fascinating snapshot of the commercial life of the growing capital in the first half of the 19th century.The earliest of the three is probably that advertising the activities of H. Urquhart who was working as a hairdresser, peruque (wig)-maker and perfumer from premises at 31 George Street from 1811-1815. According to the Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory he worked at other addresses in George Street and Hanover Street around the same period. The engraving has been inexpertly hand-coloured probably many decades later. The text on the verso of the illustration describes in detail the services offered by Urquhart. We have been unable to discover when George King, velvet and silk dyer, was working. Around 10 dyers are listed in Edinburgh trade directories from 1810 to 1840, but there is no mention of King. The style of dress on the engraving suggest that in dates from the first quarter of the 19th century. The Watergate referred to on the card was a physical structure guarding the entry to the Canongate from the north-east. It acted as a toll barrier rather than a military defence. The engraved card advertising Tait’s New Royal Hotel on Princes Street probably dates from the 1840s. It was engraved by Mould & Tod who had an address on North Bridge in 1842. The scene shows a bustling street with people promenading outside the hotel, which is opposite the Scott Monument (opened in 1846).Trade cards probably date from the late 18th century. The advances in printing technology in the early 19th century led to trade cards becoming far more plentiful. This was accentuated when colour printing was developed from mid-century onwards. The trade card evolved into the business card which is still in use today. There are other examples of Scottish trade cards in the collection at RB.m.571 and RB.m.112.
ShelfmarkAPS.1.206.001
Reference SourcesEdinburgh and Leith Post Office directories 1810-1850
Acquired on04/04/05
AuthorDupont, John et al.
Title[4 anti-Jacobite pamphlets]
ImprintYork: Printed for John Hildyard
Date of Publication1745 & 1746
LanguageEnglish
NotesA collection of 4 rare anti-Jacobite pamphlets, printed for John Hildyard in York. Jacobitism had a strong base of support not just in Scotland but also south of the border in counties such as Northumberland, Yorkshire and Lancashire, as well as areas of the Midlands, Wales and the West Country. However, in the 1745 uprising very few men from northern England were prepared to commit to the Jacobite cause. The printing of these violently anti-Jacobite (and also anti-Catholic) pamphlets served as a warning to the local population of the dangers of supporting the Stuarts (NB pamphlet 1 was printed after the defeat of the Jacobites at Culloden). Pamphlets 1 and 3 are by John Dupont, vicar of Aysgarth in Yorkshire.
ShelfmarkAPS.1.204.132(1-4)
Reference Sources1. ESTC T4272, 2. ESTC T33080, 3. ESTC ????, 4. ESTC ????
Acquired on14/07/04
AuthorKalley, Robert Reid
Title[6 pamphlets by or relating to Robert Reid Kalley]
ImprintLisbon & Funchal
Date of Publication1845-1875
LanguagePortugese
NotesThis is a collection of six pamphlets, printed in Portugal and Funchal in Madeira, relating to the controversial career of Dr Robert Reid Kalley (1809-1888), a Scottish missionary. Kalley was born and brought up in Glasgow. After qualifying in medicine and surgery at Glasgow University, he practised medicine in Ayrshire, where he refound his Christian faith, lost in his teens, and rejoined the Church of Scotland. Kalley was accepted as a potential missionary by the London Missionary Society in 1837, but was obliged to resign shortly afterwards when he became engaged to be married, without the Society's permission. His wife was found to be ill with tuberculosis, so, seeking a milder, drier climate for her, in October 1838 Kalley and his wife travelled to Funchal, on the island of Madeira, initially to spend the winter there. Funchal had a large colony of British residents, but the devout Christian Kalley was unhappy with what he regarded as the spiritual laxity of the Anglican ex-pat community. He decided to become ordained as a minister, but, rather than spend years of theological study demanded by the Church of Scotland, he went to London where he was ordained in the Congregational ministry in July 1839. However, he renounced the title Reverend and remained throughout his life formally a member of the Church of Scotland. On the way back to Madeira he obtained a medical qualification in Lisbon, which enabled him to practise in Portugal. Kalley subsequently worked as a medical missionary, unsupported by any society and unconnected with any denomination of the church. He learned Portuguese and opened a clinic for Madeiran patients, treating the poor for free. He began preaching to his patients, organized worship in his house for local people and created seventeen schools to teach literacy, so that the Madeiran people could read and understand the Bible. Kalley's evangelizing brought him into conflict with the Catholic Church and the local police. He was eventually arrested and imprisoned in July 1843 on charges of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy, which carried the death penalty. From prison he mounted a campaign for his release in the British newspapers, while the British embassy in Lisbon helped to secure his release in January 1844. Kalley was unbowed by his imprisonment and resumed his work in Madeira despite continued harassment of his local followers and the disquiet of the local British community and consular staff at his activities. He visited Scotland in the summer of 1845, where he addressed the Free Church assembly. A Free Church missionary, William Hewitson, had already arrived in the island and was at this time baptizing his converts. The first pamphlet in this collection, "Revista historica do proselytismo anticatholico" (Funchal, 1845), written by an anonymous 'Madeirense', dates from this period and is an attack on Kalley's work on the island. Kalley's response to this pamphlet was published in Lisbon in 1846 "Observacoes sobre a revista historica do proselytismo". After Hewitson left Madeira, in poor health, in May 1846, Kalley found himself increasingly isolated on the island and again accused of anti-Catholic proselytizing. In August 1846 a crowd headed by a Jesuit priest drove 'Calvinistas' from their homes, and ransacked Kalley's house, burned his books, and demanded 'Death to the wolf from Scotland'. Kalley, fearing for his life, disguised himself as a Madeiran peasant woman, and was carried in a hammock to the harbour, where he and his wife escaped from Madeira on a British ship. Several hundred of his followers were subsequently expelled from their homes in Madeira, settling first in the West Indies and then in the USA. Despite his escape from Madeira, Kalley seems to have maintained links to Madeira. The English-language pamphlet "A few plain words to visitors to the island of Madeira on the present position of the English Church there" written by 'a visitor', published in Funchal in 1848, appears to have been written by him and printed on his behalf. It is a sharply worded attack on the Anglican community there and a "priest of the English Church in this island" who has committed "a most gross act of Schism". Although, Kalley's name is not mentioned anywhere in the pamphlet, it is clearly meant as a vindication of his work on the island. After a period travelling through Europe, the Middle East and north Africa, during which time his first wife died, Kalley settled in Brazil with his new wife, where he continued to work as a medical missionary and prosletytize, this time in a more low-key manner, and without harassment from the more liberal Brazilian government. His turbulent time on Madeira still seems to have exercised him. The collection also contains three different Lisbon printings of a work by him, two dated 1875 from the press of a presumably British printer based in Lisbon (W.T. Wood's Typographia Luso-britannica), the other undated. The work bears the title "Exposicao de factos [etc.]" ("An exposition of the facts relating to the aggression against protestants on the island of Madeira"). It deals with the events of 1843, reproducing official documents relating to Kalley in this period. Not long after the publication of this work, Kalley and his wife retired to Edinburgh in 1876, where he was elected a director of the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society, and where he died in 1888.
ShelfmarkAP.1.213.32 ; AP.1.213.31 ; AP.1.213.30 ; AP.1.213.29(1) ; AP.1.213.29(2)
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; W. B. Forsyth, The wolf from Scotland: the story of Robert Reid Kalley, pioneer missionary, Darlington, 1988.
Acquired on25/01/13
Title[69 execution broadsides]
Imprintvarious
Date of Publication1754-c.1850
LanguageEnglish
NotesA collection of 69 broadsides dating from 1754 to around 1850, all but five of which are almost certainly printed in Scotland. Most are printed in Glasgow but there are some from Edinburgh, with others most likely printed in Stirling, Perth and Ayr. The content is almost exclusively 'gallows literature' - accounts of executions and 'last speeches and dying confessions'. Highlights include the 'Last Speech and Dying Words of Robert Campbell, alias Drummond, alias Macgregor, alias Rob Roy', son of Rob Roy McGregor (1754) and a supposed account of the murder of William Hare a mere three months after the execution of his accomplice William Burke (1829). Hare actually survived until 1859. Of the 69, 59 are unique and a further 9 are known only as single copies. Surprisingly many of these executions are not recorded in Alex Young's Encyclopaedia of Scottish executions (1998), so this may be the only source we have for some of these cases.
ShelfmarkRB.l.238(1-69)
Acquired on17/12/07
AuthorRobert Louis Stevenson
Title[A collection of 5 items printed by Lloyd Osbourne in Davos-Platz Switzerland]
ImprintDavos-Platz: S.L. Osbourne & Co
Date of Publication1882
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a collection of five small items printed by Robert Louis Stevenson's stepson, (Samuel) Lloyd Osbourne (1868-1947), on a little printing press which he took with him to Davos-Platz, Switzerland when he, Stevenson, and his mother Fanny spent the winters of 1880-81 and 1881-82 there. Surviving copies of items printed on Lloyd Osbourne's press are very rare and much sought after by collectors. The items acquired are: the two collections of poems by Stevenson, both titled 'Moral emblems' with woodcut illustrations by Stevenson, two single leaf advertisements for the above works, and 'To M. I. Stevenson' a [4]-page pamphlet which has a woodcut and a single line quotation attributed to Stevenson's father, Thomas. The Scottish author had become part of Lloyd's life when he had met Lloyd's mother, the American Frances (Fanny) Van de Grift Osbourne, in the summer of 1876 at an artists' colony in Grez, France. Fanny had given up on her unhappy marriage to Samuel Osbourne and moved to France with Lloyd and his sister, Isobel (Belle). Stevenson fell in love with her and the relationship continued despite the disapproval of Stevenson's parents and Fanny's move back to California in 1878. They were reunited the following year in the USA, and in May 1880, Fanny having obtained a divorce, they were married. At some point in 1880, before his 12th birthday in April, Lloyd was given a little portable printing press. Family tradition has attributed the gift to Stevenson, although at the time the struggling author was almost penniless, whereas Lloyd's wealthy father could easily have afforded it. Some of Lloyd's earliest blurry efforts on the press from early 1880 have survived and are now held in the Beinecke Library. They show that the boy's enthusiasm was not initially matched by his skill in using the press. In August 1880, Stevenson and Fanny moved to Scotland, the former having been reconciled with his parents, who would now support him financially. In November of that year the family was on the move again, this time on medical advice, to spend the winter in the health resort of Davos-Platz in the Swiss Alps. Stevenson was suffering from chronic lung problems which would plague him for the rest of his life, and it was thought that the clean dry air of the Alps would be better for him than a damp Scottish winter. For a 12 year-old boy Davos-Platz was hardly an enticing location; he would describe it as a "small straggling town where nearly all the shops were kept by consumptives." Lloyd had brought his printing press along to while away the hours and was soon carrying out small pieces of jobbing printing such as lottery tickets, admission tickets and concert programmes, and three issues of a newspaper 'The Davos News'. Back in Scotland in the summer of 1881, he visited the Edinburgh printers R. & R. Clark, who printed some of Stevenson's early works, and saw how the professionals did it. The following winter the family was back in Davos-Platz again, and once again the printing press was put to good use. This time Stevenson himself become more involved in the activities of Lloyd's printing 'firm', not only supplying text to print but also carving woodblocks with a penknife to make woodcuts to illustrate the pamphlets. Lloyd regarded his press very much as a commercial venture, giving it the following names: Osbourne and Company, S.L. Osbourne and Company, and Samuel Lloyd Osbourne and Company. He was now sufficiently confident of his skill to advertise his services as follows, "printing of all kinds done neatly and well". In this second Davos winter Lloyd printed his own mini-novel 'The Black Canyon', and finished off the printing, begun in the previous winter, of a collection of poems by Stevenson, 'Not I, and other poems'. The pamphlet 'To M. I. Stevenson' was printed for his and step-family's amusement, and was not for sale. M. I. Stevenson was Stevenson's mother, Margaret Isabella, and Lloyd printed it for her 53rd birthday on February 11, 1882. Stevenson supplied a woodcut of a woman in a dress delighting in the discovery of a flower in the countryside. On the adjacent page is the caption: "THE MARGUERITE. Lawks! What a beautiful flower!! T.S", supposedly a quote from Stevenson's father, Thomas, and, according to his son, the only piece of poetry his father ever composed. This particular copy is housed a morocco case with silk folding inner liner made by the Scroll Club of New York. Lloyds next project in March 1882 was another collection of five short poems by his stepfather, 'Moral Emblems', with Stevenson also supplying four basic woodcuts to accompany the poems; the fifth, depicting an elephant, was done by his mother. Ninety copies were printed and sold in Davos-Platz, and also sent to friends and family. The success of 'Moral Emblems' was such that Stevenson was willing to write a second instalment, 'Moral Emblems: a second collection of cuts and verses', even though he was at the time hard at work finishing off the novels 'The Silverado Squatters' and 'Treasure Island'. The format was the same as the first collection, five poems and five woodcut illustrations, this time all done by Stevenson. Fanny had gone to the trouble of acquiring for him some pear-wood blocks, which were easier to carve, and proper engraving tools, so the illustrations were of a finer quality. Stevenson wrote in a letter to his mother, dated 20 March 1882, "I dote on wood engraving." Another print run of ninety copies was produced just over a month after the first collection and was equally successful. The items purchased for NLS include copies of both collections of 'Moral Emblems', the second collection being a presentation copy from Stevenson, inscribed in ink on the front cover "S.E.P. from R.L.S.". The identity of "S.E.P." is unknown; there is no one among Stevenson's close friends and regular correspondents with these initials, it may have been one of his fellow residents of Davos-Platz. Along with the copy of the second collection of 'Moral Emblems' there is a letter from Stevenson's friend, the writer Edmund Gosse (1849-1928), dated 17 November 1896, nearly two years after Stevenson's death. Written on Board of Trade paper, where Gosse worked as a translator, he informs his correspondent "Foote", the American banker and book collector Charles B. Foote (1837-1900), that he has managed to acquire for Foote this copy, with Stevenson's signature on it, from the original owner. Gosse remarks that the owner would not part with it for less than £5, which was the sum Foote had commissioned him to pay for it. Gosse was well acquainted with 'Moral Emblems'; back in March 1882 Stevenson had sent him an advertisement leaf for the first collection, noting that this was an "advertisement of my new appearance as a poet (bard, rather) and hartis [artist?] on wood." Stevenson could only send Gosse the advertisement, not the book as he declared, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, "I would send you the book; but I declare I'm ruined. I got a penny a cut and a halfpenny a set of verses from the flint-hearted publisher, and only one specimen copy, as I'm a sinner." Gosse would later remark that the pamphlets had a curious charm even if he was less convinced of Stevenson's abilities as a poet, "these volumes were decidedly occult. A man might build upon them a reputation as a sage but hardly as a poet." Gosse and his wife did, however, receive copies of 'The Black Canyon' and 'Not I and other poems'. The advertisement leaves for both collections of 'Moral Emblems' are among the items acquired here; the leaf for the first collection contains Stevenson's woodcut to accompany his poem 'The hero and the eagle', and promises an edition deluxe priced 9 pence, the illustrations marking "a new departure in the business of Osbourne & Co." The advertisement leaf for the second collection shows Lloyd developing his entrepreneurial skills to offer a deluxe edition for 10 pence, and a "popular edition for the million" with the "cuts slightly worn", for the bargain price of 8 pence. In a letter of April 1882 Stevenson mentioned his stepson's printing activities (calling him by his first name), "Sam I believe is to be a printer". However, Lloyd's printing activities were over for good. That same month the family moved back to Britain, where Lloyd was sent to a private tutor. He was reunited later in the summer with his family and his printing press in Kingussie in the Highlands, but his attempts to begin printing again were scuppered as the press was broken, possibly damaged in transit from Switzerland to Scotland, and could not be repaired. The next publication of Samuel Osbourne & Co., 'The Graver and the Pen', another collection of Stevenson poems with woodcut illustrations had to be printed on a shopowner's press in Kingussie. A further collection of poems was planned to be printed in Edinburgh later that year, 'Robin and Ben: or, The pirate and the apothecary'. Stevenson wrote the text and carved three wood blocks for it, but it was never published in his lifetime. The family moved to the south of France in the winter of 1882, as Stevenson could not bear the thought of another stay in Switzerland, and Lloyd was sent off to school where he developed new interests. These surviving publications of his press are a fascinating reminder of an important chapter in his and Stevenson's life, where they collaborated to produce works which may have lacked literary and typographical polish, but more than made up for it in homespun charm. Lloyd's printing press is now on display in the Writers' Museum in Edinburgh.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2894 ; RB.s.2895 ; RB.s.2896 ; RB.s.2897(1) ; RB.s.2897(2)
Reference SourcesJ.D. Hart, 'The private press ventures of Samuel Lloyd Osbourne and R.L.S.' (San Francisco, 1966); Oxford DNB; B.A. Booth and E. Mehew (eds)'The letters of Robert Louis Stevenson' (New Haven, 1995-1996)
Acquired on16/05/14
Author[Anon]
Title[A group of 8 poetical broadsides, printed on silk and dedicated to Count Agostino Scotti dei Duglassi]
Imprint[Padua: Giuseppe e Fratelli Penada & Gio. Antonio Conzatti]
Date of Publication[c. 1800]
LanguageItalian
NotesThis is a collection of Italian poetical broadsides composed to celebrate Count Agostino Scotti dei Duglassi's graduation from university in Padua with a law degree. The Scotti dei Duglassi were a branch of the Scottish Douglas family who settled in northern Italy in the 16th-century. The poems are printed on coloured silk (three on ivory-coloured silk, one on pink, three on light blue and one on yellow) four of them have woodcut headpieces. The texts of all 8 poems are different. The Count was born c. 1776 and presumably graduated in his early 20s, so these broadsides were printed c. 1800. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 and is one of the oldest universities in Italy (second only after Bologna). Graduation ceremonies in Padua were very important and solemn events and became very popular during the sixteenth century, often involving all the citizens of the city. After the ceremony a banquet took place and the graduates celebrated together with their family and friends. In many cases, the graduates' relatives arranged for the publication of sonnets, poems and songs to announce their graduation. These publications were written by the graduates' friends or parents and praised the intellectual abilities and the moral strength of the graduates. It is rare for such poems to have survived, let alone ones printed in silk in such fine condition. One of the broadsides has a contemporary ink inscription: Pellegrin Pasqualigo Friulano.
ShelfmarkRB.el.29
Acquired on11/06/09
Title[Advertisement for John Hogan, Spectacle Maker, Edinburgh] That whereas John Hogan, removed from the Lucken-Booths to the Lower End of the Canongate, at the Sign of the Spectacles...
Imprint[Edinburgh: s.n.]
Date of Publicationca.1740-1750?
LanguageEnglish
NotesPreviously unrecorded in ESTC, this 18th-century advertisement publicizes the removal of one John Hogan from the Luckenbooths (the famous row of shops at St Giles on Edinburgh's Royal Mile, destroyed in the 19th century) to the 'lower end of the Canongate'. The Mr Robertson to whose premises Hogan removes must surely be the William Robertson whose house was 'near St John's Cross, Canongate', and who around the same time as this broadside was published was developing a 'catadioptric microscope', a 'dioptrick telescope', and an 'artificial eye, explaining the nature of vision' among other inventions. Hogan's advertisement here is for the work of a more ordinary optician: 'who makes and sells the best Christal Spectacles ... by the Use of which, those People who have weak Eyes, may be made capable to read or work as long as those who have stronger'. He also advertises reading glasses, 'Christals for Pictures', 'all Sorts of Glasses to preserve the Eyes when rideing [sic]' and 'all Sorts of Shagreen Cases, of any Fashion or Form; as reasonable as in any Part of Great Britain.' This single sheet, illustrated with a woodcut of a pair of spectacles, might have been posted up around town, or sent to customers: such ephemera rarely survives.
ShelfmarkRB.m.669
Reference SourcesESTC; William Robertson: A description of the figure, construction and use of a new catadioptric microscope, invented by William Robertson (Edinburgh, ca. 1750).
Acquired on21/02/08
Author[William Henry Dick-Cunyngham]
Title[Album of 94 albumen prints]
ImprintS.n, s.d.
Date of Publication[c. 1875 - c.1882]
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn album of 94 albumen prints probably compiled by William Henry Dick-Cunyngham (1851-1900). Dick-Cunyngham served with the Gordon Highlanders in India then Afghanistan, winning a Victoria Cross in the Second Afghan War of 1878-80. The album contains photographs relating to his time in India, as well as views of the family home at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh, all of which are captioned. The first half of the album comprises commercially produced views in India and towards the end are a few commercial Scottish views by Valentine and Wilson. In between are photographs that relate specifically to army regiments, including an interesting series of military group portraits identified as: pipers, 93rd Sutherland Highlanders, Windsor 1882; group of Sutherland Highlanders (93rd?); officers of the Sutherland Highlanders including Colonel MacPherson and Colonel Nightingale; Captain Dick-Cunyngham VC, Gordon Highlanders and the men of his company, taken at Edinburgh Castle. The photographs showing Dick-Cunyngham and companions posing with hunting trophies may have been taken by John Burke (1843-1900), a leading commercial photographer based in North-West India who is best known for his photographs taken during the Second Afghan War (two of the photographs in this album show men and officers of the 92nd Highlanders in Kabul in 1880). Dick-Cunyngham went on to serve in the Boer War in South Africa where he died of wounds incurred in action at Wagon Hill in Natal.
ShelfmarkPhot.la.69
Reference SourcesJ. Falconer " India: Pioneering Photographers 1850-1900" London, 2001. Auction catalogue.
Acquired on21/04/08
AuthorCarrick, William & Eurenius & Quist.
Title[Album of Russian and Scandinavian photographs from the 1860s and 1870s]
Imprint[S.l., s.n.]
Date of Publicationc. 1870
Languagen/a
NotesThis unusual album contains 48 albumen prints, from around the 1860s and 70s. They are mostly portraits and have been hand-coloured. It includes 10 Russian 'types', together with a few Moscow and St. Petersburg views, almost all by William Carrick (1827-1878), the Scot who for twenty years ran a successful studio in St. Petersburg and was particularly known for depicting Russian life. There is also a series of photographs by the Swedish court photographers Eurenius & Quist depicting the regional costumes of Scandinavia. The firm was established by W.A. Eurenius and P.L. Quist in Stockholm in 1858 and continued through the 1860s and 1870s. Their studio was highly esteemed and is believed to have been among the earliest professional photographic businesses in Sweden. There are also in the album uncoloured portraits of Karl XV and Queen Louise of Sweden by Hanson of Stockholm; Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden and Princess Sofia, by Eurenius and Quist; Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark and Princess Louise; and, rather incongruously a photograph of Grey's Monument in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, produced by the local firm of P.M. Laws, which is possibly a later addition to the album. The binding of the album is particularly interesting and it points to the original owner of the album being Russian. Lacquered boards have been attached on to the original album covers, with the upper cover painted to show a seated man playing the balalaika and a couple dancing.
ShelfmarkPhot.sm.147
Reference SourcesAuction catalogue
Acquired on15/10/10
AuthorRoyal Company of Archers
Title[An engraved membership certificate on vellum, admitting Andrew Duncan to the Company of Archers on 13 July 1771]
Imprint[Edinburgh?: s.n.]
Date of Publication[1771?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis certificate is printed on vellum. It is completed in manuscript with Andrew Duncan's details and signed by James Hardie, S.G.R.S. The remains of a papered wax seal are attached. The seal shows an archer with bow and arrow beneath a tree; on the verso is cupid with a bow and arrow. The Royal Company of Archers was formed in 1676. In 1822 it was appointed as the Sovereign's 'Body Guard in Scotland'. Membership is by election. Members need to be Scots or at least have strong Scottish connections. Andrew Duncan, the elder (1744-1828), became Professor of Theory of Medicine at Edinburgh University as well as President of the Royal College of Physicians in 1790. Having witnessed the poor treatment of the mentally ill, he proposed the erection of a public Lunatic Asylum, which was built in 1807 and eventually grew into the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.
ShelfmarkRB.m.654
Acquired on15/08/07
AuthorHill, Alexander W.
Title[Archive of pictorialist photographs taken in Scotland c. 1907-1945]
Imprint[Edinburgh: A.W. Hill]
Date of Publication[c. 1907-1945]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an important archive of bromoil transfer photographs/prints, consisting of 60 images on 57 paper sheets, by the Scottish amateur photographer A.W. Hill. This group of images has been selected from the largest known archive of Hill's work to come on the market. It ranges from unsigned trial prints, three of which printed on the reverse of others, to signed and mounted exhibition prints. The prints are on a variety of papers and in different sizes; most of them are signed and titled in pencil by the photographer. Born in Girvan, southwest Scotland, Alexander Wilson Hill (1867-1949) was a bank manager by profession but also a dedicated photographer. He took up photography in the 1890s after dabbling with painting, and was to become a longstanding member of the Edinburgh Photographic Society (EPS). He became a devotee of pictorialism, a late 19th-century movement which believed that photography should seek to mimic the painting and etching of the time. Using methods such as soft focus, special filters, lens coatings, manipulation of images in the darkroom and exotic printing processes, often on rough-surface printing papers, pictorialist photographs were intentionally fuzzy. They often mirrored the then fashionable impressionist style of painting in their composition and choice of subject matter. Pictorialism went out of fashion after 1914, but Hill remained loyal to its aesthetic, using the bromoil (transfer) process as his preferred means of expression over a period spanning approximately forty years. The bromoil process was introduced in 1907 and was based on a conventional photographic print made on gelatine silver bromide paper. The introduction of a dichromated bleach allowed for the softening of parts of the original silver-based image, enabling the gelatine to absorb an oil-based pigment, applied selectively by the photographer. To achieve a bromoil transfer print this pigmented (bromoil) image was then transferred to plain paper with the aid of a press. The resulting transfer print was therefore a hand-crafted process, in which the image comprised pigment on plain paper, and was not susceptible to the fading more often associated with silver-based prints of the same period. Although Hill appears to have standardised his technique from an early date, he remained open to a broad range of subject matter, as can be seen in this archive. He photographed extensively in and around Edinburgh, in particular in the Merchiston area near his home in Polwarth. The archive also includes street scenes and images of workers in rural settings and the fishing industry, adding an unusual 'documentary' edge to images that were otherwise still executed within pictorial traditions. There are also landscapes and coastal views from elsewhere in Scotland and a few examples of portraiture and still life. Hill exhibited from the early 1900s to the 1940s, at regular intervals during the 1920s and 1930s, not just in the UK, but also elsewhere in Europe and in North America. He was a regular exhibitor at the annual exhibition of the EPS, The Scottish National Salon and the London Salon of Photography. He taught photography at the Boroughmuir Commercial Institute in Edinburgh and lectured at the EPS on landscape photography and on the bromoil process, as well as being the first convenor of their photographic gallery and museum, which was established in 1931. Hill was one of the first to support the idea of the creation of a national collection of Scottish photography and actively encouraged gifts and donations to this end. It was therefore fitting that in 1987 his own personal photography collection was gifted to the national collection held at Scottish National Portrait Gallery; it includes examples of his own work.
ShelfmarkPhot.la.75
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; EdinPhoto website www.edinphoto.org.uk
Acquired on04/11/09
AuthorDuncan, Andrew.
Title[Collection of 13 printed items mainly edited or written by Andrew Duncan the elder].
Imprint[Edinburgh: Neill & Co.]
Date of Publication1801-1810
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis collection of ephemera is mostly connected with a key figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, the physician Andrew Duncan the elder (1744-1828). Duncan is best known today for two major acts of social medicine in Edinburgh: the founding of a dispensary for the sick poor and a lunatic asylum where inmates were treated humanely. He became president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1790, and in 1808 the freedom of Edinburgh was conferred on him for his services in the foundation of the dispensary and the asylum. Apart from his medical work, Duncan was convivial man with great energy who was a member of and founded many clubs and societies, such as the Aesculapian Club, the Harvein, Gymnastic and Royal Caledonian Horticultural societies. He also had a keen interest in literature and wrote poetry, of indifferent quality to say the least, which was often read out or sung at meetings of these clubs. This collection contains 10 items which can be ascribed to him; nine of them are not in NLS and at least two are unrecorded. There are also two substantial items here: "Poems chiefly in the Scottish dialect" (1809) not by Duncan but by Andrew Stewart, a poet sentenced to death for theft but whose sentence was commuted to transportation on the intervention of Walter Scott; and part of a collection of Scottish verse edited by Duncan "Carminum rariorum macaronicorum delectus" (1801). The collection also contains two elegies written by James Amos and John Wharton for late Edinburgh medical colleagues. The Duncan items mostly relate to the clubs he was was involved in, two of the poems, however, are devoted to Duncan's ascent of Arthur's Seat on a foggy May Day morning in 1807. For half a century, right up until a year before his death, Duncan climbed Arthur's Seat every May Day and sometimes produced a poem to commemorate the event. The items were probably all printed in Edinburgh by the firm of Adam Neill & Son, whose head, Patrick Neill, was a friend of Duncan's and the first secretary of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society. The poems, which are bound together, were formerly in the library of Douglas Grant (1921-1969), professor of American literature at the university of Leeds.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2811(1-13)
Reference SourcesODNB; J. Chalmers (ed.), "Andrew Duncan Senior: Physician of the Enlightenment" Edinburgh, 2010.
Acquired on12/11/10
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