Important acquisitions

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Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 864 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 151 to 165 of 864:

Ordered by title
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AuthorMetastasio, Pietro.
TitleBethulia delivered. A sacred nama[sic].
ImprintEdinburgh
Date of Publication1774
LanguageEnglish
NotesA rare edition of this libretto, which was first performed in Vienna in 1734: only one other copy is recorded in Britain. The drama was set to music by Domenico Corri, (1746-1825) originally from Rome, who came to Scotland in on the recommendation of the musician Charles Burney in 1771. He was employed as singing master and composer to the Musical Society in Edinburgh and stayed in Scotland until about 1790. With his brother son Giovanni and later with his brother Natale, Domenico founded a successful musical publishing business before moving to London. He was also manager for a period of the Theatre Royal in Edinburgh. According to the cast list, Corri and his wife took the principal roles. The manuscript annotation on the title page appears to indicate that a benefit performance took place for Corri on 8th March 1774. The item also has a noteworthy provenance being owned by members of the Grant family of Monymusk, Aberdeenshire, the Signet Library and latterly Christina Foyle, of the Foyles London bookselling dynasty.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2073
Acquired on31/10/00
TitleBhagavad-Gita
ImprintGlasgow: David Bryce and Sons
Date of Publication[1900?]
LanguageSanskrit
NotesThis is a miniature copy of the Bhagavad-Gita, printed in gold and produced by David Bryce of Glasgow, the pre-eminent 19th century Scottish maker of miniature books. Regular copies of this publication are extremely rare and this copy printed in gold type is most probably unique. The provenance is significant in that it was originally part of David Bryce's personal collection. It was then owned by Bryce's grand-daughter and later acquired by Louis W. Bondy (1910-1993), the author of the classic one-volume reference source entitled: Miniature Books: their History from the Beginnings to the Present Day. The book measures 3 x 4 cm. The text is printed upon the thinnest white tissue paper and it is bound in gold and purple grapevine patterned stiff paper. On the front board a curlicue-patterned paper is pasted on, at the center of which is the title. The same pattern is repeated on two separate pasted papers on the spine. The book is accompanied by a lidded silver box measuring 4.5 x 6.5 cm. The top lid is engraved with a pattern resembling a tartan which incorporates a shield device. Engraved in script in the center of the shield is Bryce's name, and "Jedburgh" below.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2747
Reference SourcesBondy
Acquired on21/04/09
TitleBibbia
ImprintGeneva
Date of Publication1607
LanguageItalian
NotesA striking Scottish binding with a long and impressive Scottish military provenance. It was the first edition of Giovanni Diodati's Protestant translation of the Bible into Italian. Diodati (1576-1649) was Professor of Theology and Professor of Hebrew at Geneva. The book was bound around 1680 by an unknown binder who was probably part of an Edinburgh workshop which bound at least six copies of Sir Thomas Murray's 'Laws and acts of parliament', Edinburgh, 1681 (copy at L.193.a). Although the designs differ in some ways, it is clear that the same set of tools (thistles and wild strawberry arrow-heads) have been used. It is notable also for the designs of circles, ovals and thistles on the gilt edges. It was probably bound originally for James Ogilvy, 3rd Earl of Findlater (d.1711), which accounts for the gilt initial 'F' beneath an earl's coronet on the covers. Ogilvy was a Justice of the Peace for Banff, who voted for the Union. Later owners include John Macfarlane, Writer to the Signet (mid-18th century), Charles Hope-Weir, (1710-1791), second son of the first Earl of Hopetoun and Lt. General Sir Whiteford Dalrymple (d. 1830),Colonel of the 57th Regiment and his descendants, who all served in the military.
ShelfmarkBdg.m.147
Acquired on22/02/01
AuthorNamba, Toshio
TitleBibliography of Robert Burns in Japan
Date of Publication1977
LanguageJapanese
NotesThe donor's father, Mr. Robert McLaren, was a president of the Robert Burns Federation, and his work brought him into contact with Professor Toshio Namba. Namba, a professor of English Literature, was deeply interested in Burns, and translated many of the poems into Japanese. This bibliography, with additional translations, is an important addition to our collections. It contains a manuscript dedication to Mr. McLaren, and is in fine condition in its original cardboard slipcase. With this donation we have received a copy of another book of relevance to Scottish-Japanese studies. Album England (1979), despite its title, consists of photographs of Scottish scenes with Japanese accompanying text. It also has a manuscript dedication from Namba. We have also been given a number of photographs including some of Mr. Namba and others of scenes in Tokyo. The notes on these photographs show that a warm friendship had developed between the Japanese researcher and the McLarens.
ShelfmarkHP2.205.0101
Acquired on29/10/04
AuthorBoswell, James
TitleBicentenary edition of Pitman's extra illustrated Boswell's Johnson
ImprintIsaac Pitman & Sons
Date of Publication1909
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis edition of Boswell's Johnson was published in twenty weekly instalments beginning on Saturday September 18, 1909 and finishing on Saturday January 29th, 1910. The text is supplemented by the inclusion of over 560 illustrations offering information on people, places, documents and events associated with the narrative. The National Library's copy of this edition is notable for two reasons. Firstly, all twenty of the individually published parts are accounted for. Secondly, all of the front and back paper wrappers are present and in excellent condition.
ShelfmarkH8.202.0878
Acquired on15/04/02
AuthorHarnisch, Carl.
TitleBildliche Darstellungen in Arabeskenform zu Ossians Gedichten
ImprintBerlin: G. Reimer
Date of Publication1835
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is a rare copy, in its original wrappers, of a portfolio of six lithographs, and a leaf of descriptive text, by the German artist Carl Harnisch (1800-1882). The lithographs are illustrations are inspired by the poems of Ossian, which had already appeared in German translation in the 1770s and continued to be popular in the early 19th century. The artist has done them in the arabesque form, which uses a decorative motif comprising surface decorations based on rhythmic linear patterns of scrolling and interlacing foliage and tendrils. The European version of arabesque art was inspired by early Islamic art and became widely used from the 15th and 16th centuries onwards. In his introduction Harnisch states that, "the following leaves, a series of drawings in the arabesque form, arose out of reading Ossian. The intention of their creator, as can been seen from the chosen form of representation, has been to portray an overall view of the ancient Nordic bard's individual sensibilities and poetry, rather than each drawing represent a particular passage in the poet's work." Harnisch had already published in 1832 a series of arabesque lithographs of illustrations inspired by Goethe's Faust. Harnisch later emigrated to the USA where he continued to work as an artist and lithographer.
ShelfmarkRB.el.30
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on20/12/13
AuthorAnon
TitleBiographical sketch of Mr. Morison, the hygeist.
Imprint[London]: G. Taylor
Date of Publication[1837?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 8-page pamphlet is about James Morison (1770-1840), pill manufacturer, originally Bognie, Aberdeenshire. Morison claimed to have suffered incessant poor health until his fifties, which doctors were unable to cure and which eventually led him to develop his "Universal Vegetable Pill" in the 1820s. He sold his pills through a network of agents and local retailers throughout Europe and the USA. After a series of sudden deaths attributed to his pills, Morison having advocated taking his pills in large doses, he moved to Paris in 1834. Despite this setback affecting sales of his pills he continued to market his product aggressively, this being one of a series of pamphlets he produced, which includes a portrait of the man himself.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.21
Acquired on29/01/16
Author[Walter Scott]
TitleBirthday chimes from Scott: selections from the poems and tales of Sir Walter Scott.
ImprintEdinburgh : W. P. Nimmo, Hay & Mitchell
Date of Publication1891
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a birthday book, compiled by William T. Dobson, which provides a Scott quote for each day of the year with space to enter the birthdays of friends and family. The photographic illustration mounted on the binding is a trimmed reproduction of James Valentine's photograph of the Valley of Tay from Kinnoul, taken in 1882. Kinnoul Hill's Tower, visible in the left margin of the photograph, is a folly built on the cliff's summit in 1829 by Lord Gray of Kinfauns, whose home, Kinfauns Castle, is visible from the hill. Grey also built nearby Binn Tower and used both as observatories. The selection of this image for the cover could be related to the Gray family, as five of the six names entered in ink in this copy share the Gray surname. W. P. Nimmo, Hay & Mitchell produced a total of 22 "Birthday chimes" on various themes, as shown on the publisher's advertisement, including Bible words, Shakespeare and Keats. Purchasers of the series were able to customise bindings (cloth or leather) and finishing details, such as the gilt edges. Presumably this photographic addition was ordered alongside the cloth binding.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.963
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on06/11/15
AuthorAnderson, Alan and Jennie
TitleBlue remembered hills
ImprintLoanhead: Tragara Press
Date of Publication2004
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Tragara Press was founded by Alan Anderson in Edinburgh in 1954 who has, remarkably, continued to produce fine work for fifty years. The National Library has always collected Tragara books, and has marked-up copies of the two bibliographies of the press. Alan Anderson has donated many of the Tragara books we hold, and has now given us this, the last book which will be printed by Tragara. It is a selection of verse by Alan and Jennie Anderson (the title comes from A. E. Housman's 'A Shropshire lad'). This edition is limited to 20 copies, hand-set in Garamond type and printed on paper made by Amatruda of Amalfi. It is a fine conclusion to half a century of Scotland's most enduring private press.
ShelfmarkFB.m.801
Reference SourcesAlan Anderson, 'The Tragara Press', 1979; 1991.
Acquired on20/12/04
AuthorSmith & Wellstood (Limited) Columbian Stove Works
TitleBonnybridge price list and illustrated and descriptive catalogue of Smith & c's patent and registered American cooking stoves, portable kitchen ranves, warming stoves, for church, hall, parlour, office, shop and ware-room use, &c. Catalogue 2A
ImprintBonnybridge : [s.n.]
Date of Publication[1888?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis trade catalogue of Bonnybridge iron foundries dates from the 1880s, the heyday of heavy industry in central Scotland. The firm of Smith & Wellstood was established in Glasgow in 1858 to sell American-style free-standing stoves in Britain. Outlets were subsequently opened in Liverpool, Dublin and London. The firm was the driving force in persuading the British public to invest in efficient, slow-burning stoves in place of open fires. These stoves used less fuel and produced more heat than the type being used in Britain in the 1850s. The founders were James Smith and Stephen Wellstood, both Edinburgh-born entrepreneurs who had begun their business careers in the United States. Smith decided it would be more economic to produce the stoves in Scotland than to import them from the United States. In 1855 James Smith had contracted the services of George Ure, an ironfounder of some repute and a partner of Crosthwaite, Ure & Co. of Camelon. Ure opened his own foundry - the Columbian Stove Works - in Bonnybridge in 1860 to make the castings for the stoves. The finished products were transported down the Forth-Clyde canal to Smith's warehouses in Glasgow. Smith & Wellstood opened their foundry in 1873 and in 1890 amalgamated with George Ure & Co. In addition to stoves, baths, ranges, gates, railings, pots, pans, piano frames and umbrella stands were manufactured. At the turn of the century Smith & Wellstood introduced the first closed anthracite-burning stoves onto the UK market. These were modelled on a French design and became known as the Esse range of stoves.
ShelfmarkABS.8.202.01
Reference SourcesBorthwick, Alastair. The history of Smith & Wellstood Ltd. ironfounders. (Bonnybridge, 1954) H4.80.755 McIntosh, Fiona. Bonnybridge in bygone days. (Falkirk, 1989) HP3.90.453 Smith & Wellstood Ltd., Ironfounders, Bonnybridge. (Survey / National Register of Archives (Scotland) no.2198) (Edinburgh, 1989) GRH.9
Acquired on19/06/01
AuthorRichardson, George
TitleBook of ceilings
ImprintLondon: Printed for the author
Date of Publication1776
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe copy on offer seems to differ from the copy purchased by the Library in 1980 (Sotheby's auction - 456) only by the fact that all of the 48 plates have been coloured. The possibility of acquiring coloured copies of A book of ceilings was mentioned in an advertisement in Richardson's New designs in architecture (1792). The cost was 48 guineas - a guinea per plate - a colossal sum even in those days (in today's terms about over 3500). The only coloured copies traced are at the British Library and the National Library in Warsaw. The British Library copy (55.I.18 from the Royal Library in an 'Adam' design binding) has both the coloured and uncoloured copies of each plate bound together. The coloured plates have less rich colour and 'white' areas are left as plain paper as compared to the body-colouring in the NLS copy. Also the coloured and uncoloured copies seem not be always the same printed state - e.g. for plate XII Richardson's name is engraved and printed in black on the uncoloured copy whereas on the coloured copy his name is in brown and may be in manuscript. A possible explanation is that the colouring in the BL copy was carried out separately and at an earlier stage. ESTC lists 13 copies - the only other copies in Scotland are at Bowhill (the then Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch are listed among the subscribers), and Paxton House, Berwickshire, which has the first four plates published in 1774. Both copies are uncoloured. Eileen Harris in British architectural books and writers 1556-1785 lists 4 additional holdings (2 British). Two of the designs (plates XVII and XVIII) were carried out for Sir Lawrence Dundas of Edinburgh, one of which is now to be seen in the Board Room of the Royal Bank of Scotland building in St. Andrew Square, Edinburgh. Ian Gow, Head of the Curators Department of the National Trust for Scotland has examined the work and believes it more likely that such a deluxe work would have been purchased by book collectors rather than by architects. He has also remarked on the unusual use of gouache and the body-colouring employed in the roundels in the designs. Mr. Gow believes that the acquisition of this work by the National Library offers the opportunity for art and architecture historians to find out more about the colouring of ceilings in 18th century houses and mansions. There is little doubt that Richardson (who may have come from Inveresk, Midlothian) was closely associated with the Adam brothers earlier in his career. At the age of about 20 he was involved, albeit in a minor capacity and under James Adam's direction, in turning Robert Adam's plates of and commentary on Diocletian's Palace at Split into a publishable book (this was published in 1764 as Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia. Richardson accompanied James Adam on his Grand Tour from 1760 to 1763 and had plenty of opportunity to study the remains of ancient architecture and painting. The National Library holds 2 of Richardson's letters written to his patron (Archibald Shiells of Inveresk) recording his observations of Rome (MS.3812). He probably left the employ of the Adams prior to 1773 as he is not listed among the numerous artists and architects employed by them. According to Eileen Harris it was however Adam's folio of executed designs described in French and English (Works in architecture, published in parts from 1773) which prompted Richardson to start publishing his own works in a similar fashion in 1774. By publishing the work in instalments over a number of years he helped to increase the sales to those unable to invest 3-4 guineas all at once. A book of ceilings did not have the desired effect of attracting new patrons for Richardson. By publishing his own designs he made available his works for imitation and execution by others and rendered unnecessary his actual employment as an architect.
ShelfmarkFB.el.132
Reference SourcesDNB, Harris, Eileen, British architecture books and writers 1556-1785 (Cambridge, 1990)
Acquired on16/10/03
AuthorChurch of England
TitleBook of common prayer
ImprintEdinburgh: Adrian Watkins
Date of Publication1756
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis volume contains an incomplete 1756 printing of the Book of Common Prayer, as well as a 1764 printing of the "Communion-Office for the use of the Church of Scotland" printed for the Episcopal Church, and a 1757 Edinburgh printing of the Psalms of David. It is has been acquired for its binding done by James Scott of Edinburgh, one of the best bookbinders in 18th century Britain. Six other James Scott bindings of the 1756 Book of Common Prayer are recorded in J.H. Loudon's bibliography "James Scott and William Scott bookbinders", dating from the years 1774-1780. This rather worn and faded binding, in crimson morocco, resembles the earlier bindings from 1774/75 (JS 9, 11, 11.5) and so can probably be dated to c. 1774. A MS genealogy on the verso of the final leaf in the volume and rear pastedown shows that it belonged to Alexander Stewart of Invernahyle, Argyllshire (1707/8-1795), and his family. Stewart was one of the sons of the laird of Invernahyle and during the 1745/46 Jacobite uprising he served in the Jacobite army along with the Stewarts of Appin. He fought at Prestonpans and Culloden; in the former battle he saved the life of a Hanoverian officer, Colonel Whitefoord of Ballochmyle. In his later years he was regular visitor to the house of Sir Walter Scott's father. Scott, as a boy, was thrilled to hear Stewart's tales of the '45 and he visited Stewart in Argyllshire in 1786 or 1787. Scott later claimed that listening to Stewart's tales gave him the inspiration for his most famous historical novel "Waverley", with Stewart acting as a model for the novel's protagonist, Edward Waverley.
ShelfmarkBdg.m.175(1)
Reference SourcesJ.H. Loudon "James Scott and William Scott bookbinders" London, 1980; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on19/07/13
AuthorPater, Erra.
TitleBook of knowledge: treating of the wisdom of the ancients.
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication1726
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn unrecorded edition of this hugely popular text 'translated' by the Tudor almanac compiler William Lilly who used the pseudonym 'Erra Pater, a Jew'. Most of the many eighteenth century editions are recorded in only one or two copies. The National Library also holds Glasgow imprints of this title dated 1786 and 1794. This edition is strikingly illustrated with a number of crude woodcuts of facial moles and astrological signs. Although most of the book follows the standard format of the almanac with astrological and meteorological predictions and medical advice, there is also some material of a Scottish flavour at the end of the book. This includes lists of Scottish fairs, descriptions of the 'most remarkable highways' and a 'table of the kings of Scotland'. William Lilly (1602-1681), the 'English Merlin', was the most successful and influential astrologer of seventeenth century England. He published an almanac every year from 1644 until his death in 1681. Lilly's almanacs and pamphlets had a tangible effect on public opinion, and his clients included many of the leading political and military figures of an age when most people naturally believed that the stars and planets had a direct influence on human affairs.
ShelfmarkABS.1.201.038
Reference Sourceshttp://www.skyhook.co.uk/merlin/ Parker, Derek. Familiar to all: William Lilly and astrology in the seventeenth century. (London, 1975) H3.75.2171
Acquired on25/09/01
AuthorGrant, John Peter [ed].
TitleBook of the Banff Golf Club bazaar.
Imprint[Banff]: Banffshire Journal Office,
Date of Publication1895
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare item of late 19th-century 'golfiana'. It consists of poems, songs and short stories by memebers of the Club, as well as portraits of local worthies. The publication was produced to coincide with a bazaar to raise funds for a new clubhouse and improvements to the course. The Banff Golf Club was founded in 1871, the members playing on a course on Banff links, although golf had of course been played in the area for centuries. The Club continued until 1924 when it amalgamated with another Banff club, the Duff House Club to become the Duff House Royal Golf Club. This particular copy has the bookplate of noted golf book collector Joseph Bridger Hackler.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2746
Acquired on10/04/09
AuthorGrant, James
TitleBothwell or the days of Mary Queen of Scots
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1870?
LanguageEnglish
NotesPurchased with a selection of other yellowbacks by two popular Scottish authors. Yellowbacks (less commonly called 'mustard-plaster' novels) was the name given to the form of cheap fiction developed from the late 1840s and competed with the 'penny dreadful' as an accessible source of entertaining reading. The distinctive brightly coloured covers made the books very attractive for a growing reading public encouraged by the spread of education and the expansion of the railways. Routledges in establishing their 'Railway Library' in 1849, were the first of many publishers to target a new reading public with yellowbacks. This series ran to 1,277 titles, ending in 1899. Most works of fiction in this format were stereotyped reprints of earlier cloth editions. By the end of the 19th century, sensational fiction and adventure stories in addition to more 'educational' manuals, handbooks and cheap biographies were being published in this manner. These yellowback novels of Grant and Stevenson were typical of those published at this time. Edinburgh-born, James Grant (1822-1887), a distant relation of Sir Walter Scott, was a prolific author, writing some 90 books. Many of his 56 novels deal with key characters and events in Scottish history. In 1853 he founded the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights. Grant is best remembered today as an historian - his thoroughly-researched 'Old and new Edinburgh' was published in 1880.
ShelfmarkABS.1.201.016
Acquired on05/01/03
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