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 755 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 16 to 30 of 755:

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AuthorDiego de Torres Bollo
TitleDe rebus Peruanis, R di P. Dieghi de Torres, Societatis Iesu Presbyteri commentaries a Ioanne Hayo.
ImprintAntwerp: Martin Nutius
Date of Publication1604
LanguageLatin
NotesThis work is an account of Jesuit Father Diego de Torres Bollo's missionary activities in Peru. After joining the Jesuit order Torres Bollo (1550-1638) had hoped to be chosen for the China missions; instead, his superior general sent him to the fledgling mission of Peru in South America. There he eventually became the Provincial of Peru and sent out missionaries throughout the continent. Torres Bollo was also instrumental in the development of the famous 'reductiones' of Paraguay, small utopian-like communes created by the Jesuit fathers for the native peoples, but which were eventually destroyed by the Spanish colonists. The work also includes interesting details and anecdotes of the continent, such as when the volcanoes spewed out such a great quantity of ash the peoples had to walk through the cities with a lantern at noon. According to Sabin's bibliography of books relating to America it is probable that Torres Bollo wrote his account in Spanish; but the earliest recorded printed editions are in Italian, published in Milan, Venice and Rome in 1603. Subsequent Latin and German versions state that they are translations from the Italian. This Latin translation is one of several editions to be published a year following the first Italian edition and is distinguished from the Mainz Latin translation published the same year in that it is the work of John Hay (1547-1607), a Scottish Jesuit and exile living on the Continent. Hay had entered the Society of Jesus in 1566 and became noted for his polemical treatises written whilst living in France. In his later years he was based in the Low Countries where he translated Jesuit mission reports, such as these, into Latin.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2900
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford DNB (John Hay); Sabin (96257)
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorAnon
TitleEpistle to the deil by Holy Willie of Prussia. Second edition.
ImprintGlasgow: J. Biggar & Co.
Date of Publication[1871]
LanguageScots
NotesAnonymous satirical poem in Scots supposedly by "Holy Willie of Prussia" (German Emperor Wilhelm I)addressed to the devil "dear Nickie-ben". It refers to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, which led to the defeat of France and the proclamation of King Wilhelm of Prussia as the first German emperor. The poem is written in the style of Robert Burns, and is followed by a full-page appendix "concerning Were-wolves", and a five-page glossary of Scotticisms. The author is clearly anti-Prussian as one verse runs: "Now just confess: through France I've trod O'er men, wives, weans, knee-deep, in blood; On right and justice trampl'd rough-shod, Until they're dead; And when I've blamed a' this on God, Are you no paid?" The author also gets a dig in at Thomas Carlyle, "the psalmist dour of Prussia's course", who was an admirer of German culture and who had written a history of Frederick the Great of Prussia. A contemporary manuscript note at end of poem (p.26) records one reader's dislike of the poem: "one of those thousand jingling dilettante whose jingle dies with the moment of its birth - ". No copy of this edition is recorded on COPAC, and the only other copies traced are published in London.
ShelfmarkAP.1.214.35
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorJohn Muir (ed.)
TitlePicturesque California and the region west of the Rocky Mountains, from Alaska to Mexico.
ImprintSan Francisco & New York: J. Dewing Company
Date of Publication1888
LanguageEnglish
Notes2014 marks the centenary of the death of Scottish-born naturalist and conservationist John Muir (1838-1914), who is regarded as the founder of national parks in the USA. He edited this great work of pictorial Western Americana. Among the famed artists who contributed to the work are Frederick Cozzens, Thomas Hill, Thomas Moran and Frederick Remington. Their work is reproduced here in engravings, etchings and photogravures, which fill 120 full-page plates (with printed tissue descriptions). The 35 separate articles are written by a variety of authors, with Muir contributing seven articles, three of them on the High Sierras and his beloved Yosemite Valley (two of them were written especially for this work, the others were edited from earlier publications). This edition includes his article on Alaska which is not included in later abridged editions. Publication was issued by subscription, and no subscription was accepted "for less than the entire work." The work was issued in a bewildering number of different formats and editions, initially between 1887 and 1890, the latest edition with this title being 1894. Muir wrote in a letter of 1889 that he had finished his contributions by shutting himself up in a room in the Old Grand hotel San Francisco for two weeks.
ShelfmarkAB.10.214.07-09
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford DNB; W.F. Kimes & M.B. Kimes 'John Muir: a reading bibliography' (Palo Alto, 1977) (no. 175); L.G. Currey & D.G. Kruska "Bibliography of Yosemite, the Central and the Southern High Sierra" (Palo Alto, 1992) (no. 257)
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorSeymour, Mina S.
TitlePen pictures: transmitted clairaudiently and telepathically by Robert Burns
ImprintLily Dale, N.Y. : [s.n.]
Date of Publication1900
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a privately-printed oddity relating to Robert Burns. It is a volume of over 150 poems in English and Scots allegedly by Burns, as received by an American medium, Mina Seymour, at the end of nineteenth century. It was published in Lily Dale, a spiritualist community in south-western New York State. Carol McGuirk, writing on Burns in America in the nineteenth century comments on the frequency with which nineteenth-century Americans imagined, wished, or even roundly asserted that Robert Burns was not dead. "As with Elvis Presley sightings in our time, this is most likely a sign that mere celebrity has been transcended and cult status achieved. The cult of Burns included prominent Scottish-Americans such as Andrew Carnegie but also marginal persons as Mina S. Seymour, a psychic who in 1900 published a book said to be 'transmitted' or channelled directly from the mind of Burns" (McGuirk, 'Haunted by authority', 1997). McGuirk describes the book as "Seymour's deranged little volume", and the quality of the poems in it is truly awful. In the opening poem, dedicated to the Psychical Research Society, the voice of Burns reveals that "I've beat auld Death, I write as weel, As mony in Earth life." The book is illustrated with portraits with various members of the American spiritualist community, many of whom were apparently recipients of poems by Burns.
ShelfmarkAB.2.214.31
Reference SourcesCarol McGuirk, "Haunted by authority: nineteenth-century American constructions of Robert Burns and Scotland", in 'Robert Burns and Cultural Authority' edited by Robert Crawford (Edinburgh, 1997), pp. 136-158.
Acquired on16/05/14
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). They were produced on a little printing press which he took with him to Davos, 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. Fanny moved back to California in 1878 but 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, Fanny and Lloyd moved to Scotland (Fanny's daughter Belle married in 1879 and remained in the USA). Stevenson was now reconciled with his parents, who would 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 the clean dry air of the Alps was thought to be better for him than a damp Scottish winter. For a 12 year-old boy, Davos 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, and once again the printing press was put to good use. This time Stevenson himself became 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 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 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 nonsense poems by his stepfather, 'Moral Emblems', modelled on pocket-size emblem books, which were popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. Stevenson supplied four basic woodcuts to accompany the poems; the fifth, depicting an elephant, was done by Fanny. Ninety copies were printed and sold in Davos, and also sent to friends and family. Stevenson sent a copy of the booklet to his friend the Scottish author Alexander Japp, describing, with tongue firmly in cheek, the illustrations as "replete with the highest qualities of art". 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 at 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 in fact over for good. That same month the family moved back to Britain, where Lloyd was sent to a private tutor to make up for the lack of education he had received in Switzerland. He was reunited later in the summer with his family and his printing press in Kingussie in the Scottish 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 shop owner'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
AuthorBible
TitleLa Bible qui est toute la saincte escriture du Vieil & du Nouveau Testament
ImprintLa Rochelle: Imprimerie de H. Haultin par Corneille Hertman
Date of Publication1616
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is a rare, finely printed and illustrated French Protestant bible from La Rochelle with an interesting early Scottish provenance. The bible, printed in small Roman type, imitates the great Estienne folio Bibles of the previous century. All Protestant printing of this period in France is rare as it was expressly forbidden by the edict of Nantes except in those provincial towns where Protestantism was allowed. After the siege of La Rochelle in 1627-28 during the Protestant revolt Protestant bibles were preserved in France clandestinely. This bible is bound in a contemporary red morocco which may be in a French binding style but the somewhat cruder material and execution may point to it being Scottish. The marks of provenance indicate that it belonged to the Wemyss family in Scotland and in particular to one or two women in the family. There are three inscriptions in two 17th-century hands: "Jean Wemyss" on front free end-paper, "Janna Wemyss" in the same hand on the following leaf, "Forfar" on verso of title page in different hand. "L I W" is blind-stamped at centre of front and back boards of the binding. The Jean/Janna Wemyss inscribed on the free endpapers is either Jean Gray (d. 1640), the wife of John Wemyss, 1st Earl of Wemyss (1586-1649), or her granddaughter, Lady Jean Wemyss (d. 1715), eldest daughter of David Wemyss, second earl of Wemyss. Lady Jean Wemyss' eldest son was Archibald Douglas, who became 1st Earl of Forfar in 1661, which could explain the "Forfar" inscription on the verso of the title page.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2899
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorBlair, James Law
Title[Photographs taken by James Law Blair in and around Bandawe when employed by the African Lakes Company circa 1900.]
Date of Publication1900?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe volume contains 132 black and white photographs. Bandawe settlement was funded from Glasgow on a commercial/evangelical basis. It was then called Nyasaland but is now Malawi. The African Lakes Corporation was a British company originally set-up in 1877 by Scottish businessmen to co-operate with missions in what is now Malawi. Despite its original connections with the Free Church of Scotland, it operated its businesses in Africa on a commercial rather than a philanthropic basis, and it had political ambitions in the 1880s to control part of Central Africa. Its businesses in the colonial era included water transport on the lakes and rivers of Central Africa, wholesale and retail trading including the operation of general stores, labour recruitment and landowning.
ShelfmarkPhot.med.125
Acquired on09/05/14
TitleThe Edinburgh Review, or Critical Journal
ImprintEdinburgh: Archibald Constable
Date of Publication1814-1860
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a collection of c. 130 issues of 'The Edinburgh Review', covering the years 1814 to 1860. The volumes are in their original state with blue paper wrappers, along with inserts of publishers' advertisements for the later issues. The latter are often missing from bound sets in Library copies, such as NLS's existing set, as they were usually removed prior to binding. These particular volumes were part of the collections found the Northumbrian mansion The Hermitage, described in the press as the house "that time forgot". The contents of the house on the outskirts of Hexham were sold at auction in 2013 after the death of last surviving member of the Morant family, who had rented the house since the 1920s. The Morants had thrown very little away in the 90 years they had occupied the house and looked after the existing contents with great care, with the result that the house was full of antiques, memorabilia and ephemera. 'The Edinburgh Review' was published from 1803 to 1929 (the first issue for October 1802 actually appearing in 1803) and quickly established itself as one of the leading and most influential English-language periodicals of the 19th century. The publishers' aim was to select only a few outstanding books in all fields of interest and to examine them with more care than had been customary in previous reviewing. 'The Edinburgh Review' was above all an instrument of political enlightenment and social reform, adopting a pro-Whig stance in contrast to the pro-Tory 'Quarterly Review' and later 'Blackwood's Magazine'. To have a substantial run of this important periodical with the volumes in their original state is a great addition to the Library's collections.
ShelfmarkAB.3.214.09-141
Reference SourcesWaterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals: 1800 - 1900
Acquired on04/04/14
AuthorAnon.
TitleA famous Fife trial: the Kirkcaldy duel case.
ImprintCork: Purcell and Company
Date of Publication1893
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 16-page pamphlet records the basic details of one of the most famous murder trials in Scotland in the 19th century. David Landale, a linen merchant from Kirkcaldy in Fife, was tried for the murder of George Morgan in a duel which took place on 23 August, 1826. It was the last recorded fatal duel that took place in Scotland. The shooting of Morgan by Landale was the culmination of a dispute between the two men that had started the previous year. Landale's business was suffering major cash flow problems when his banker Morgan had suddenly and unexpectedly refused to help him pay his creditors. Morgan was a vindictive and irascible man, who took exception to Landale's subsequent decision to take his business elsewhere. He began to spread rumours in the town about the merchant's lack of creditworthiness. In June 1826 Landale complained bitterly in a letter to the Bank of Scotland headquarters in Edinburgh about Morgans conduct. The Bank took Landale's allegations seriously and admonished Morgan and his brother (and fellow-banker), David, for discussing bank matters and Landale's financial affairs in public, but chose not to punish them. George Morgan took this reprieve from the Bank as a green light to pursue his own personal grudge with the merchant. He was incensed that Landale had gone behind his back and had written to the Bank of Scotland directly; he demanded an immediate written apology for the allegations in the letter. Landale refused to apologise but did not rise to the bait of challenging Morgan to a duel, Morgan being reluctant to issue a challenge himself. There followed a tense stand-off between the two men, neither of them willing to back down and apologise, which was finally broken on the morning of 22 August when Morgan spotted Landale in Kirkcaldy's High Street and hit him across the shoulders with his umbrella while shouting "Take you that, sir!" Landale sought refuge in a shop only to be pursued in there by Morgan crying, "By God, sir, you shall have more of this yet!" Landale fled, briefly pursued by Morgan, only to return to the scene of the attack to find Morgan had also gone back there; his reaction was to call Morgan "a poor, silly coward". After being assaulted in public Landale now had no alternative but to write to Morgan and to demand "the satisfaction which as a gentleman I am entitled to". He challenged Morgan to a duel at seven o'clock the following morning with pistols, even though he later claimed that he had never fired a gun in his life and did not own any pistols; moreover, Morgan was a former army officer who was used to handling firearms. Despite one final attempt by Morgan's second, on the night of the 22nd, to resolve the dispute, the duel proceeded as planned on 23 August in a field just outside Kirkcaldy. Morgan fired and missed but Landale, having purchased a pair of pistols in Edinburgh the previous day, mortally wounded his adversary. Landale escaped to Cumbria to avoid arrest but returned to Scotland the following month to face trial for murder, confident he would be cleared. The trial took place in Perth on September 22 in a packed and boisterous courthouse. Landale was represented by two of the leading advocates of the day: Henry Cockburn (a record of the trial, kept his clerk, is now in the NLS's manuscript collections: Adv.MS.9.1.2) and Francis Jeffrey, best known today as a literary critic. Cockburn and Jeffrey argued convincingly that Landale had not acted out of malice, had been reluctant to challenge Morgan, and had been subject to sustained and intolerable provocation by Morgan. After a five-hour trial, the jury only need two minutes to acquit Landale. The judge dismissed him from the court room, commenting on his honourable and unsullied character. He returned to Kirkcaldy to carry on running his business, later becoming provost of Kirkcaldy. In an incredible twist of fate, one of his daughters, Ellen, married in 1851 Alexander Morgan, nephew of George Morgan, a sign that both families had long become reconciled. Another daughter, Eliza Gage Landale, married William Lane, an Irish landowner. He owned Mount Vernon in Cork, a Georgian mansion in the city, which is still there today. As Cork is the place of publication of this pamphlet, she must have been involved in getting this work privately printed. The text is largely based on an anonymous account of the trial published in 1826 'Report of the trial of David Landale Esq., before the Circuit Court of Justiciary at Perth'. Her motives for publication, nearly 70 years after the event, are unclear. The inscriptions in this copy show that Eliza presented this copy to her son, Samuel, and at the back she records basic details of her father's life and the fact that her sister had married the nephew of the man her father had "the misfortune to kill".
ShelfmarkAB.1.214.31
Reference SourcesJames Landale, 'Duel: a true story of death and honour', (Edinburgh: Canongate, 2005).
Acquired on28/03/14
AuthorAnon
TitleThe song of Solomon
ImprintLondon: Guild of Women Binders
Date of Publication1897
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis book is bound in a modelled goatskin medieval-style binding popularised by Scottish women binders of the late 19th century. The technique was developed by Annie MacDonald (d. 1924) who along with a few other women in Edinburgh had begun binding books in the 1890s. Walter Biggar Blaikie (whose collection of Jacobite-related books and manuscripts is now in NLS) of the publishers A. & J. Constable let them use his workshops after hours. From 1895 two of Constable's workmen, a finisher and a forwarder, taught the group of women in premises owned by Edinburgh Social Union. MacDonald tried various types of leather for modelled bindings but found that natural goatskin, before any curing processes, could be moulded as she wanted. The modelling was done after the book itself was covered in the goatskin. It involved neither cutting nor raising the leather to relief. The design was traced onto the dampened leather and worked with one small tool called a 'Dresden', which was used to carefully press the background and mould the relief design. Using glue rather than paste to cover the books, the leather was a pale ivory when completed which developed into a richer brown once aged. The work of MacDonald and the other Edinburgh-based women inspired London bookseller Frank Karslake to found of the Guild of Women Binders in 1898 as an outlet for the sale of work by women binders who lived outside London, including the Edinburgh women. Karslake advertised a series of books specially printed for the Guild on Japanese vellum and bound by Guild members, including 'The Song of Solomon', which was one of 100 numbered copies (this particular copy being number 31). A pencil note on the front free endpaper, "worker Mrs MacDonald", would seem to indicate that it was done by Annie MacDonald herself. However, the 1900 Sotheby's catalogue of bindings done by the Guild of Women binders reveals that there were at least two separate "embossed mediaeval morocco" bindings of the Japanese vellum printing of the 'Song of Solomon'. One was done by Annie MacDonald, "the design adapted from the cover-design", and one by a "Miss Pagan", "the designs adapted from the illustrations". An Annie MacDonald binding for the 'Song of the Solomon' which is now held in Duke University Library, is reproduced in Marianne Tidcombe's "Women bookbinders 1880-1920" p. 98. The Duke University binding is a likely match for the one described in the Sotheby's catalogue as having done by Annie MacDonald, given that it resembles the cover of the regular 1897 edition of the 'Song of Solomon' published by Chapman and Hall. It is possible that she did more than one binding of this particular edition; but the design for this particular binding is adapted from the illustrations within the book, not the cover of the regular edition, and would seem to correspond to Miss Pagan's binding. The design on the front board is based on the art-nouveau style illustrations in the book by Herbert Granville Fell (1872-1951), along with a quote from the Song of Solomon as a decorative border : "Many waters cannot quench love neither can the floods drown it. Love is strong as death". The back board contains the ownership initials "H.F.C. 1898". "Miss Pagan" may be Jean Pagin, who was one of the women binders associated with Edinburgh Social Union, the main amateur arts and crafts organisation in the city (Tidcombe also mentions in an appendix to her book the existence of a binder called Jeannie E. Pagan but this may be same person as Jean Pagin). The turn-in on the front board simply records in gilt lettering that this binding is by the Guild of Women Binders. What is notable is that this copy has normal paper endpapers, where in other modelled bindings silk endpapers were used because the goatskin tended to stain both paper and vellum - as has happened in this copy. Inserted in this copy is a printed advertisement slip for the Guild of Women Binders describing this style of binding as a "revival of the mediaeval monastic binding".
ShelfmarkBdg.m.176
Reference SourcesM. Tidcombe, 'Women bookbinders 1880-1920', London, 1996.
Acquired on28/03/14
AuthorMartin Martin
TitleA late voyage to St. Kilda, the remotest of all the Hebrides, or Western Isles of Scotland
ImprintLondon: Printed for D. Brown, and T. Goodwin
Date of Publication1698
LanguageEnglish
NotesMartin Martin (d. 1718), the Scottish traveller and author, wrote the first published account of the remote Scottish island group of St. Kilda, based on his experiences during a trip to the islands made in 1697. The work was published in London the following year with some success and he would go on to publish in 1703 his celebrated 'Description of the Western Islands of Scotland'. The Advocates Library copy of the latter is believed to have been taken by James Boswell on his journey with Samuel Johnson to the Highlands and Inner Hebrides in 1773. This particular copy of 'A late voyage' has been acquired for the Library as the existing Library copy was imperfect, lacking the half title, whereas this copy is complete. It also has a noteworthy provenance. It contains the late 18th-century armorial bookplate of James Whatman, Vinters, Kent, and an inscription on the title page "J. Whatman 1800", which indicates the book was in the library of the famous paper-making family the Whatmans, either collected by James Whatman II (1741-1798) or his son James Whatman III (1777-1843).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2901
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on14/03/14
AuthorPindar
TitleTa tou Pindarou Olympia
ImprintGlasgow: R. and A. Foulis
Date of Publication1754
LanguageGreek
NotesThis is the first volume of the miniature Foulis Press edition of the ancient Greek poet Pindar's odes (printed 1754-58), this copy being one of only a few recorded copies printed on silk. It is a separate bibliographic item as only volume was the only printed in silk and accordingly it does not have the general title page of the regular 4-volume set. This is in fact only one of two miniature books printed on silk by the Foulis Press of Glasgow, the other being an edition of Anacreon printed in 1751 (a copy was acquired by the Library in 2003). It showcases the quality of their printing and the clarity of the Greek type they developed. The book is in a contemporary red morocco binding.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2892
Reference SourcesGaskell, A bibliography of the Foulis Press, 2nd ed., 1986, no. 274
Acquired on28/02/14
AuthorAnon
TitleA Scottish penny wedding
ImprintBelfast: Simms and M'Intyre
Date of Publication1840?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis Belfast-printed broadside contains a large wood engraving printed from nine individual blocks. It shows a lively wedding scene in a barn with bride and groom dancing to fiddle music and guests eating and drinking. There were three sorts of wedding in Scotland in the early half of the 19th-century: the free wedding, where only a few select friends were invited and the guests were not to be the cause of any expense; the dinner wedding, where a dinner was provided by the marriage party; and the penny wedding (also known as the penny bridal), where each guest contributed financially or by way of food towards the dinner and then paid for their own drink, and which by the end of the festivities (which could go on for several days) could bring in a tidy profit for the newly-weds. This latter type of wedding was particularly common across rural Scotland, despite the disapproval of the Kirk. The three-column poem printed beneath the illustration is 'Twas on the morn of sweet May-day' also known as 'Jockey to the fair', a wedding-themed song often appearing in 18th- and 19th-century chapbooks.
ShelfmarkAP.el.214.02
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on28/02/14
AuthorFerguson, Adam
TitleRicerche storiche e critiche su le cause dei progressi e del decadimento della repubblica Romana. [History of the progress and termination of the Roman Republic]
ImprintVenice: presso Antonio Zatta e figli
Date of Publication1793-94
LanguageItalian
NotesThis is the first Italian translation of Adam Ferguson's 'History of the progress and termination of the Roman Republic', first published as a 3-volume work in English in 1783. No copies of this 8-volume translation are recorded in major UK libraries. Ferguson's history of the Roman republic proved to be one of his most popular works, receiving critical acclaim in his native Scotland and from the historian Edward Gibbon, who had written the definitive work on Roman history 'The history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire'. A French translation of Ferguson's work had already appeared in Paris, in 1784-91, and a German translation in Leipzig in 1784-86, by the time this Italian translation (by an unknown translator) appeared. Unlike the French and German editions, the Italian edition does not include the maps which appeared in the first English edition. This particular copy is still in the original publisher's paper wrappers with an attractive floral design.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2882-2889
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on24/01/14
Author[Anon]
TitleRemarks on a voyage to the Hebrides, in a letter to Samuel Johnson, LL.D
ImprintLondon : G. Kearsly
Date of Publication1775
LanguageEnglish
NotesIn January 1775 Samuel Johnson's 'Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland' was published. His account of his three-month tour of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the late summer and early autumn of 1773, in the company of James Boswell, met with a mixed reception. Scots were affronted by his apparent bias against their country and his description of primitive culture in the Highlands, as well as his dismissal of the poems of Ossian as a modern invention by their editor James Macpherson. Journalists in both Edinburgh and London, politically hostile to Johnson, accused him of ingratitude in abusing Scottish hospitality. A brief entry in the 'Caledonian Mercury' for 4 February 1775 went as far as to state that Johnson was "now under a course of mercury" having caught the pox ("Scotch fiddle") "in the embraces of a female mountaineer" on this island of Coll. This anonymous and acerbic pamphlet addressed to the English author, while not descending into the cheap abuse of the 'Caledonian Mercury', was part of the attack on Johnson's work. The author, clearly a proud Scot, begins by commenting on Johnsons life-long prejudice against Scotland: "The contemptible ideas you have long entertained of Scotland and its inhabitants, have been too carefully propagated not to be universally known; and those who read your Journey, if they cannot applaud your candour, must at least praise your consistency, for you have been very careful not to contradict yourself. Your prejudice, like a plant, has gathered strength with age - the shrub which you nursed so many years in the hothouse of confidential conversation, is now become a full-grown tree, and planted in the open air" (pp. 2-3). The author goes on to make detailed observations on Johnson's inaccuracies and misjudgements in the book. The conclusion of the pamphlet is predictably damning, "the flame of national rancour and reproach has been for several years but too well fed you too have added your faggot" (p. 35). The truth of the matter was more complex. Johnson was deeply interested in Scotland and had a deep knowledge of its culture and history in comparison with other Englishmen of his day. Most of his anti-Scottish remarks seem to have been intended simply to provoke and tease. As someone with Jacobite sympathies, his criticisms were more directed at Scottish Presbyterianism and the way its supporters, in his opinion, had betrayed the house of Stuart and allowed elements of Scotland's native culture to decline. Johnson himself could shrug off all criticism of the work; the book earned him 200 guineas, as well as the admiration of George III, and considerable success in terms of sales.
ShelfmarkAB.2.214.04
Reference SourcesP. Rogers, 'Johnson and Boswell: the transit of Caledonia' Oxford, 1995; M. Pittock "Johnson and Scotland" in 'Samuel Johnson in Historical Context' (ed. Clark and Erskine-Hill) Basingstoke, 2002; bookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on03/01/14
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