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 727 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.

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Important Acquisitions 151 to 165 of 727:

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AuthorBarclay, John
TitleEuphormionis Lusinini.
ImprintOxford: Henry Cripps,
Date of Publication1634
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is an early English edition of the works of Scottish author John Barclay (1582-1621) which consists of five separate works: both parts of his satirical work "Euphormionis Lusinini Saytricon", the "Apologia" he wrote to defend the work, his "Icon Animorum", and the "Veritatis Lachrymae", an attack on the Jesuit order, which was actually written by the French author Claude-Barthélemy Morisot. The book has been bought for its provenance. As well as marginal readers' marks, it has annotations in a 17th-century hand on the front and back pastedowns and final leaf which show that the book was also used for the conveying of messages between Scotland and England. The back pastedown has a MS list of towns in South West Scotland and North West England (presumably stops on a drove road, the distances between each of the towns in miles appear to be written next to them) and an inscription on the final leaf informs a Robert Watson that a John Andrew will be arriving in Carlisle with a "8 or 9 pack[s]" but will not be arriving until Friday, so Watson is asked to keep any packs destined for Scotland until he arrives.
ShelfmarkAB.1.210.005
Acquired on19/01/10
AuthorDarwin, Charles.
TitleOn the origin of species by means of natural selection. [2nd edition]
ImprintLondon: John Murray,
Date of Publication1860
LanguageEnglish
NotesDarwin's "Origin of Species" is one of the most important, influential and controversial books to have been published in the English language. With the acquisition of this second edition NLS now has copies all six editions published by John Murray in Darwin's lifetime (1809-1882). The first edition sold out on the day of publication in November 1859, the second edition accordingly appeared in January the following year to meet public demand. Three thousand copies were printed. John Murray had asked Darwin to begin revising the text as soon as the first edition had appeared in print and the second edition can be recognised immediately by the date, by the words 'fifth thousand', and the correct spelling of 'Linnean' on the title page. There is also a minor change to the text with the 'whale-bear story' (where Darwin speculated on a possible evolutionary link between whales and bears, much to the later amusement of his opponents) edited down, and a misprint of the word 'species' has been corrected.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2771
Reference SourcesThe Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
Acquired on15/12/09
AuthorMacLeod, Fiona [William Sharp]
TitleRe-issue of the shorter stories of Fiona Macleod: rearranged, with additional tales.
ImprintEdinburgh: Patrick Geddes & Colleagues,
Date of Publication1897-1903
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a three-volume set of William Sharp's short stories, written under the pseudonym 'Fiona MacLeod', in original wrappers. Volume 1 was published in Edinburgh ca. 1897 by the publishing company founded by Patrick Geddes and Sharp to publish literature in support of the Celtic revival taking place in the British Isles. Volumes 2 and 3 have the imprint: 'London: David Nutt, at the sign of the Phoenix, Long Acre, 1903', but have the same overall layout as volume 1.
ShelfmarkFB.s.974
Acquired on15/12/09
Author[Baird, Charles]
Title[Privillegiya, dannaya ober' bergmejsteru 7-10 klassa Karla Berdu na upotrablenie mashiny]
ImprintSt Petersburg: [s.n.]
Date of Publication1825
LanguageRussian
NotesCharles Baird (1766-1843) was a prominent Scottish engineer and industrialist who started his career at the Carron Company, the leading ironworks in Scotland. He travelled to Russia in 1786 to help establish a gun factory there and then set up his own ironworks in the 1790s in St. Petersburg. Baird was one of a number of Scottish entrepreneurs working in Russia at the time and he became one of the most successful. The Baird Works supplied much of the metalwork for the capital city and specialised in the manufacture of steam-driven machinery. This papmphlet is a printed privilege ("privillegiya"), a public document which sets out the Baird Works' monopoly on using a steam-driven machine to sort, compress and pack bales of flax and hemp for transportation. Russia was one of the main producers and exporters of flax in the world (by the 20th century it was producing 90% of the world's total crop) so the machine potentially had an important role in the Russian economy, hence the need to patent it. It was one of several developed by Baird; by 1825 his ironworks was producing 130 steam engines of all kinds. The privilege also includes two folding plates illustrating the machine. Baird's company became a byword for efficiency in Russia, the local inhabitants at the time used the expression 'just like at Baird's factory' to denote when something was running smoothly. Baird was also famous for having built the first steamship in Russia in 1815 and for developing a new method of refining sugar.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2773
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on01/12/09
AuthorMurray, Mungo, d. 1770.
TitleA treatise on ship-building and navigation. In three parts wherein the theory, practice, and application of all the necessary instruments are perspicuously handled. With the construction and use of a new invented shipwright's sector, for readily laying down and delineating ships, whether of similar or dissimilar forms. Also tables of the sun's declination, of meridional parts, of difference of latitude and departure, of logarithms, and of artificial sines, tangents and secants. By Mungo Murray. Shipwright, in His Majesty's Yard, Deptford. To which is added by way of appendix, an English abridgment of another treatise on naval architecture, lately published at Paris by M. Duhamel, Mem. of the R. Acad. of Sciences, Fellow of the Royal Society of London, and Surveyor General of the French Marine. The whole illustrated with eighteen Copper Plates.
ImprintLondon: Printed by D. Henry and R. Cave, for the author; and sold by A. Millar, in the Strand; J. Scott, in Exchange-Alley; T. Jeffreys, at the Corner of St Martin's Lane, Charing-Cross; Mess. Greig and Campbell, at Union-Stairs, and by the author, at his house at Deptford., M,DCC,LIV. [1754]
Date of Publication1754
LanguageEnglish
NotesMurray, Mungo (1705-1770) was born in Fowlis Wester, near Crieff, Perth. In 1738, after completing a customary seven-year apprenticeship at an unknown shipyard, he entered the naval dockyard at Deptford as a shipwright. In 1754 he published his first book: 'A Treatise on Shipbuilding and Navigation'. A second larger edition would appear in 1765. To the Victorian historian Nathan Dews, it was 'the only English treatise on ship-building that can lay any claim to a scientific character; and [Murray] was a man "whose conduct was irreproachable".' On the title page Murray describes himself as 'Shipwright in His Majesty's yard, Deptford'. He makes clear his relatively modest position by acknowledging 'the great obligation I am under to the principle officers and gentlemen in His Majesty's service, not only in the yard where I have the happiness to be employed, but in several others'. Interestingly, he also used the book to advertise for extra income: 'The several branches of mathematicks treated of in this book are expeditiously taught by the author, at his house in Deptford; where may be had all sorts of sliding rules and scales: As also sectors for delineating ships, diagonal scales, &c. on brass, wood or paste-board. Attendance from six to eight every evening, except Wednesdays and Saturdays.' Murray's fortunes improved after the publication of his first book with Lord Howe appointing him as a mathematics and navigation teacher on board his ships Magnanime and Princess Amelia. Among his pupils was Henry, Earl of Gainsborough to whom Murray dedicated his next book on navigation. Murray would go on to publish several more volumes before his death in 1770.
ShelfmarkRB.m.694
Acquired on27/11/09
Author[Glasgow Cape Club]
TitleBe it known to all men that we Sir Ride the super eminent sovereign of the Capital Knighthood of the Cape... being well inform'd ... of Walter Buchanan Esq.r... create, admit & receive him a Knight Companion of this most social order ...
Imprint[Glasgow?: s.n.]
Date of Publication1777
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a membership certificate, printed on vellum, for the Glasgow branch of the Cape Club, or Knights Companions of the Cape. The Cape Club was a gentleman's club, formally constituted in Edinburgh in 1764, and which had the motto 'concordia fratrum decus'. The Glasgow branch, though less well-known than its Edinburgh equivalent, was active by 1771 and continued until well into the 19th century. Like other male social clubs of the period, the club's activies revolved around ceremonies which involved singing and copious drinking. Members of the Cape Club called themselves 'knights' - in this certificate the name of Walter Buchanan has been added in MS to the relevant space and he has chosen the title "Sir Hedge". Membership was drawn from a wide range of society from literati to local tradesmen. The "Glasgow Cape Hall", where they met, was in fact Mrs Scheid's tavern in the Trongate.
ShelfmarkRB.l.267
Reference SourcesJ. Strang, Glasgow and its clubs, 3rd ed., Glasgow, 1864, p.463
Acquired on24/11/09
Author[Friendly Society of the Heritors of Edinburgh]
Title[Five printed documents relating to the Friendly Society of the Heritors of Edinburgh and suburbs thereof, Canongate, Leith, &c. for a mutual insurance of their tenements and houses &c. from losses by fire.]
Imprint[Edinburgh : s.n.]
Date of Publication[1720-1730]
LanguageEnglish
NotesFire was an ever-present danger in the Old Town of Edinburgh and in 1703 the city suffered a series of devastating fires, which led to the appointment of 'firemasters' who could recruit men to fight fires, the forerunner of a municipal fire brigade. Fire insurance companies, first established in London, were also introduced. The first fire insurance society in Scotland is thought to be Friendly Society of the Heritors of Edinburgh, which was founded in 1720. Contributors to the Society paid a small percentage of the total value of their properties in return for perpetual insurance and were entitled to interest from stock and profits of the insurance fund. This collection of five documents relating to the Friendly Society span the first ten years of its existence. It consists of three receipts: one for payment of a premium by the advocate Thomas Gordon, and two for "annual rent"; there are also two forms for transferring Gordon's policy to two men, Alexander Marjoribanks and George Falconer, who had presumably purchased the insured property.
ShelfmarkRB.l.264
Acquired on24/11/09
AuthorHay, John.
TitleFragstuck des christlichen Glaubens an die neuwe sectische Predigkanden.
ImprintFreyburg in Uchtlandt: Abraham Gemperlin,
Date of Publication1585
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the first German translation of the treatise "Certaine demandes concerning the Christian religion" by the Scottish Jesuit John Hay (1547-1607). Hay moved from Scotland to Rome in 1566 and spent most of the rest of his life on the Continent, returning to Scotland in 1579, where, in the light of fears about the Jesuits and their teaching, his presence attracted much controversy. He based himself in Aberdeenshire, where the Counter-Reformation movement was already well established, before returning to France. "Certaine demandes" was first published in Paris in 1580 and consisted of 166 questions on points of religious controversy; it was highly influential on the Continent and a key text for supporters of the Counter-Reformation. The lack of a response to the work in Hay's homeland helped to strengthen Catholicism in North-Eastern Scotland. A French translation appeared in 1583, followed by this German translation two years later by the Swiss Catholic theologian Sebastian Werro (1555-1614). This particular copy has the added significance of being a presentation copy from Werro to the Swiss nobleman Ludwig von Afry. The contemporary binding contains a stamped inscription in Latin on the front board recording the presentation of the book by Werro. The text of Werro's dedication of the book to Afry is also repeated in MS on the front pastedown, in Werro's hand. There are also a number of MS corrections to the text which are possibly done by Werro.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2774
Reference SourcesShaaber H110; VD16 H843; Allison & Rogers, Counter Reformation, I, 648.
Acquired on24/11/09
Author[Anon.]
TitleShipped by the grace of God in good o[r]der ... by Ro[bert] Stuart for Henry Leivie ...
Imprint[Edinburgh?: s.n.],
Date of Publication[1671?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare piece of 17th-century printed ephemera, presumably printed in Scotland, namely a bill of lading (a document issued by a carrier to a shipper, acknowledging that specified goods have been received on board as cargo for transport to a named place for delivery to the consignee, who is usually identified on the bill). Manuscript inscriptions in blank spaces on the bill give details of the persons involved. It records the shipment of six tons of wines "fully well conditioned" from Bordeaux to Leith on 30 October 1671 on the "David" of Bruntiland (Burntisland) captained by Patrick Angus. The wine was destined for the merchant William Inglish (Inglis?) of Leith. The bill is signed by Patrick Stuart and has a MS note on the back by him. Scotland had been importing wine from France since the Middle Ages; thanks to the Auld Alliance Scottish merchants had the privilege of having the first choice of Bordeaux's finest wines. Leith was the centre for importing French wine, which was prized by the upper classes. This printed document shows that despite the political and religious upheavals which made trade with France more difficult (the Reformation, Union of the Crowns) the Scots were still using their privilege of selecting Bordeaux wines in the 1670s.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2770
Acquired on24/11/09
AuthorBlackwood, Adam, ed.
TitleDe Iezabelis Anglae parricido [sic] varii generis poemata Latina et Gallica.
Imprint[Paris : s.n.]
Date of Publication1587-88
LanguageLatin, French, Italian
NotesThis is a very rare collection of poems in Latin, French and Italian verse lamenting the execution of Mary Queen of Scots in 1587 and attacking Queen Elizabeth and Anne Boleyn. It was probably edited, and partly written, by Mary's Scottish biographer Adam Blackwood. The poems are signed only by initials and were evidently assembled and issued in a number of different forms and arrangements, and were surreptitiously published in the years 1587 to 1588. The first six verses were evidently the first produced, and were also issued separately in quarto but in a different setting, again without title-page (only two copies of this earlier, smaller edition are known: in the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbuettel and in the BL). Some five poems appear only here, among the second sequence of poems, which was presumably issued some time in 1588. Four of the poems in this collection appear in the second (1588) edition of Adam Blackwood's most famous work "Martyre de la Royne d' Ecosse". The third edition of "Martyre de la Royne d' Ecosse", a substantially larger collection of poems, shares 24 poems with the present volume. "De Iezabelis Anglae parricido" is a mixture of elegaic poems for the executed Scottish queen and savage attacks on Elizabeth and her mother Anne Boleyn (the latter is referred to as a 'barbarr putain' [barbarous whore]); anagrams of Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor draw appropriate moral praise or censure, and the French audience is whipped up by the poem 'Exhortation au peuple de France sur le trespas de la Royne d' Ecosse'. The editor of the collection Blackwood (1539-1613) was born in Dunfermline and studied in Paris, where his education was in part funded by Mary. He was appointed by her as counsellor to the parliament of Poitiers (part of her marriage settlement to the dauphin Francois), and was said to have visited Mary during in her captivity in England. Blackwood's pro-Mary propaganda had a major influence on subsequent French and Scottish national histories of the 17th century.
ShelfmarkRB.m.693
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on11/11/09
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
AuthorPrimrose, James.
TitleDe vulgi erroribus in medicina.
ImprintAmsterdam: Joh. Janssonius,
Date of Publication1639
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is the rare first overseas edition of the physician James Primrose's 'De vulgi in medicina erroribus' (literally 'Of the common mistakes [by people] in medicine'). Primrose (also known as Jacques Primerose) (1600-1659) was born and brought up in France to a Scottish family which had close links to the house of Stuart, in particular to James VI/I. The family moved to England in the 1620s and Primrose eventually moved to Hull in Yorkshire where he worked as a doctor and also built a career as a prolific and highly regarded medical author. In this book, his most popular, first published in London in 1638, he attacks the non-professional practice of medicine, and the widespread use of folk remedies by quack doctors. Two of the common errors refuted by Primrose were that the linen of the sick ought not to be changed; that remedies ought not to be rejected for their unpleasantness; and that gold boiled in broth will cure consumption. Despite his rational approach to medicine, Primrose remained devoted to the writings of ancient physicians, such as Galen, which led to him to reject William Harvey's discovery that the heart pumps blood around the body.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2765
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on04/11/09
AuthorCicero, Marcus Tullius
TitleM. Tullii Ciceronis opera philosophica ex editione Jo. Aug. Ernesti cum notis et interpretatione in usum Delphini variis lectionibus notis variorum recensu editionum et codicum et indicibus locupletissimis accurate recensita.[vol.II only]
ImprintLondini : Curante et imprimente A. J. Valpy
Date of Publication1830
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is volume two taken from an eighteen volume edition of the collected works of Marcus Tullius Cicero. The book features a grand fore-edge painting of Edinburgh Castle as viewed from the Grassmarket. The painting may have been based upon the title-page vignette of the same scene in T. H. Shepherd's 'Modern Athens Displayed in a Series of Views, or, Edinburgh in the Nineteenth Century' which was published in London in 1829, a year prior to the present volume. However, this painting shows significantly more detail and a wider panorama. The artwork shows only a little fading and a couple of spots of minute wear.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2768
Acquired on03/11/09
AuthorAdam, William, (1689-1748)
TitleProposals for printing by subscription, in two large volumes in folio, the plans, elevations, and sections, of the principal regular buildings in Scotland, together with several new designs, done for some of the noblemen and gentlemen of that country. To which will be added, the particular sections of the best rooms built in Scotland. Also, some designs of buildings for the decoration of parks and gardens. By the late William Adam, Esq. architect, and continued by his son John Adam, Esq. ...
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication[1766]
LanguageEnglish
NotesDuring the 1720s the Scottish architect William Adam began plans to publish "Vitruvius Scoticus", a work surveying the finest architecture in Scotland. Adam died before his ambitious work came into being. John Adam (1721-1792), William's eldest son, revived the idea of publishing his father's book. In March 1766 this proposal was issued to potential subscribers promoting the intended publication: "this work will consist of 160 copper-plates, near one fourth of which are whole sheets. There will be above 200 folio pages of engravings, done by the best hands, and printed on a French Colombine paper ...". This copy of the proposal includes manuscript inscriptions in the receipt section at the end of the text: "the Marquis of Carnarvon" and "For Mr Adam Ja[me]s Dodsley". The subscription belonged to James Brydges (1731-1789), 3rd Duke of Chandos, who was Marquess of Carnarvon from 1744 to 1771. Although at the time of the proposal's issue sheets of the book (apart from the description or explanation of the plates) are known to have already been printed, the work was not published in 1767 as advertised. It is suggested that issues relating to the copyright holders of the engraved plates prevented Adam from keeping his agreement to transfer sole rights in the book to the London bookseller Andrew Millar (1705-1768) (Harris, p.99-100). It was not until 1811 that "Vitruvius Scoticus" was eventually published under William Adam's grandson, William Adam (1751-1839). This proposal is significant in tracing the history of the publication of this work.
ShelfmarkRB.l.259
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue; Harris, Eileen, "British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785", Cambridge University Press, 1990; Oxford DNB
Acquired on03/11/09
AuthorScott, Walter.
TitleDe Zeeroover [The Pirate]
ImprintLeeuwarden : Steenbergen van Goor,
Date of Publication1825
LanguageDutch
NotesThe fame of Walter Scott's novels spread quickly through Continental Europe. Scott's novel "The Pirate" was written in 1821 and published in Edinburgh and London by Archibald Constable in December 1822. This is the first Dutch translation, done by the publisher Jan Willem Steenbergen van Goor (1778-1856). "The Pirate" was written after Scott's publisher, Archibald Constable had suggested he write a novel about pirates. Scott took as his inspiration the tale of the 'Orkney Pirate' John Gow, who had returned home to Orkney to lie low for a period. Gow lived a respectable life for several weeks, pretending to be an honest trader, until his cover was blown, which led to his eventual arrest and execution in 1725.
ShelfmarkAB.3.209.38
Reference Sourceshttp://www.walterscott.lib.ed.ac.uk/works/novels/pirate.html
Acquired on19/10/09
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