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 772 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 166 to 180 of 772:

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AuthorAndrew Sharp & Sons
TitleCatalogue of Iron & Brass Bedsteads, Child's Cots, Bed Chairs, &c.
ImprintGlasgow: John F. Gourlie, Lith.
Date of Publicationc. 1900
NotesThis is a sumptuous trade catalogue with 53 lithographed plates, most of them partly printed in colour. Brass and wrought iron are much in evidence; no flat-pack self-assembly kits here. Judging by the size and solidity of the beds illustrated here, some are probably still around today. The Campbellfield Bedstead Works were built for Andrew Sharp in 1876, and were in Campbellfield Street in central Glasgow. This copy comes with three price lists dated 1901, one with manuscript corrections.
Acquired on28/03/07
AuthorSommerville, John
TitleCatalogue of Scottish rocks, Collected and Sold by John Sommerville, 18 West Register Street, Edinburgh.
ImprintEdinburgh: R. Wallace & Co.
Date of Publication[1837?]
NotesA very rare brochure listing 100 specimens of Scottish rocks which were for sale in cabinets. The samples came in three sizes, the largest at three inches costing 5. In the advertisement on the verso of the title page, the author states that the collection has been available for eight years, constantly undergoing improvements. The advertisement goes on to say that the collection represents nearly all the deposits to be found in Scotland, and that it will be of particular use to geologists in England as it 'stops at the point where the English strata begin to be more illustrative' than Scottish strata. The blank leaves bound into the volume suggest that it was intended for use as a field book. It is bound with the 1837 edition of John Phillip's 'Treatise on Geology'.
Acquired on12/03/07
Author[David Morison (1792-1855)]
TitleCatalogue of the Gray Library at Kinfauns Castle
Imprint[Perth?: D. Morison]
Date of Publication1827
Notes An unrecorded copy of the catalogue of the library of Baron Gray in Kinfauns Castle, Perthshire. This copy is unique in that it is entirely lithographed; 12 copies of the catalogue were produced the following year (1828) which had lithographed border designs on it but letterpress text. David Morison, the compiler and printer of the catalogue, belonged to the famous Perth family of printers and he had worked as a librarian as well as printer, which meant he was the ideal person to produce a catalogue of Baron Gray's collection. He also appears to have been one of the first people in Scotland to master the art of lithography, which had been introduced to Scotland some 10 years before and was being widely used in book illustrations and jobbing printing. Although the contents of Baron Gray's library were largely unremarkable, Morison's catalogue is remarkable for its elaborate lithographed borders printed in red. A comparison of the two versions of the catalogue suggests that this 1827 version was an experiment or trial run by Morison, possibly done for Baron Gray. It is not as complete as the 1828 version and there are a number of differences in the border designs. Morison must have decided against producing further copies with lithographed text in favour of letter-press. From the dedication page it would appear that the catalogue was actually printed in Perth, where Morison would have had the printing stones for the lithography, rather than in Kinfauns Castle itself - although there is evidence of Baron Gray having had a printing press in Kinfauns Castle. This copy was formerly in the collection of the famous New York-based bookseller and collector, Bernard Breslauer (1918-2004).
Reference SourcesAntony Lister "David Morison & the catalogue of Lord Gray of Kinfauns" Antiquarian Book Monthly Review (ABMR)vol. XIII (1986), pp. 416-421. D. Shenck, Directory of the lithographic printers of Scotland, 1820-1870, Edinburgh, 1999.
Acquired on15/04/05
TitleCentral India photographs
Date of Publication1863
Notes19 albumen prints by an unknown photographer in a portfolio. From the collection of Victor Alexander Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin. An important group of early photographs assembled between 1850 and 1867 by James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, and his son Victor Alexander Bruce, the 9th Earl, providing a visual record of the distinguished careers of the two earls as diplomats, military strategists, and politicians in India and the Far East. The four albums form a valuable source for the study of colonial and imperialist expansion, global commercial travel, and, not least, the rapid growth of commercial photography. The purchase was made possible by generous contributions from the Heritage Lottery Fund (National Heritage Memorial Fund) and the National Art Collections Fund.
Acquired on08/02/00
AuthorScott, Walter, Sir.
TitleCharacter of Lord Byron
Imprint[Edinburgh, Ballantyne]
Date of Publication[1824]
NotesSir Walter Scott's Character of Lord Byron is bound with William Parry's Last days of Lord Byron with His Lordship's Opinions on Various Subjects Particularly on the State and Prospects of Greece. Scott's tribute to Byron first appeared in the May 19, 1824 issue of the 'Edinburgh Weekly Journal' and was later reprinted in 'The Pamphleteer', vol. 24, 1824. This copy of the Character of Lord Byron does not incorporate the same typeface, or follow the same layout as the edition of Scott's article published in the 'The Pamphleteer.' No bibliographic record for this copy can be found in NSTC, RLIN, CURL, or the catalogues of the British Library, Library of Congress, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge or the University of Edinburgh. Neither does it appear in William B. Todd's Sir Walter Scott : a bibliographical history, 1796-1832. A footnote on p. 197, vol. VII, in John Gibson Lockhart's Life of Sir Walter Scott (Edinburgh: Constable, 1902) presents some relevant background information. According to a recollection in 1839 by Andrew Shortrede, an apprentice in the Edinburgh printing trade in 1824: 'Sir Walter came down from the Court of Session to the printing-office the day the intelligence of Byron's death reached Edinburgh and there dictated to James Ballantyne the article which appeared in the Weekly Journal. I think it was inserted without correction, or revisal, except by Ballantyne. From these circumstances, I with others imagined James had himself produced it in some moment of inspiration; but when I afterwards told him how I had been misled, he detailed suo more the full, true, and particular history of the article. Separate copies, I remember, were thrown off for some of Byron's friends.' No publication details can be found anywhere on this copy of Scott's article. As Shortrede's recollection suggests, this is most probably one of the very few surviving separate copies, which James Ballantyne and Company had printed for the friends of Byron.
Reference SourcesNot in NSTC, RLIN or CURL
Acquired on23/04/02
AuthorGilmour, J. P. (ed.)
TitleChemists & Druggists' Directory and Year Book for Scotland.
Date of Publication1914
NotesThere is an enormous quantity of information about medicine and business practice in Scotland on the eve of the First World War in this volume. The most striking feature of the book is certainly the adverts for miracle cures, weed killers, bandages and cosmetics which fill the opening and closing pages. The delights of 'flexible gelatine capsules' and 'Burgess' Lion Ointment' are celebrated in terms that might well have the modern Advertising Standards Agency raising an eyebrow.
Acquired on19/11/02
AuthorStevenson, R.L.
TitleChild's garden of verses
Date of Publication1919
NotesSee entry for New York 1905 edition. These two illustrated American editions of Robert Louis Stevenson's popular collection of 64 poems for children, add to the library's collection of Stevenson's works. A child's garden of verses has been described as 'the most notable collection of serious poems written for children since Original poems for infant minds (1804-1805) by Anne and Jane Taylor' (Oxford companion to children's literature). The poems were composed by Stevenson in the early 1880's, inspired in part by Kate Greenaway's Birthday book for children (1880) and was published, without illustrations, in 1885. The first illustrated edition (by Charles Robinson) appeared in 1896. Both editions have been illustrated by American women American illustrators; Bessie Collins Pease Gutmann and Maria Louisa Kirk. Stevenson's work was the first book illustrated by Gutmann (1876-1960). She was a popular illustrator during the first quarter of the twentieth century, best known for her drawings of 'innocent' children during the so-called golden age of illustration. Maria Kirk (1860-193-?) illustrated over fifty children's classics also during the early decades of the century. This edition is not listed in Beinecke.
Reference Sourceshttp://homepage.fcgnetworks.net/tortakales/Illustrators/Gutmann.html http://www.resnet.wm.edu/~srgarv/1mariaIntro.htm
Acquired on01/11/01
AuthorStevenson, Robert Louis
TitleChild's garden of verses
ImprintNew York
Date of Publication1905.
Notes See entry for Philadelphia 1919 edition. These two illustrated American editions of Robert Louis Stevenson's popular collection of 64 poems for children, add to the library's collection of Stevenson's works. A child's garden of verses has been described as 'the most notable collection of serious poems written for children since Original poems for infant minds (1804-1805) by Anne and Jane Taylor' (Oxford companion to children's literature). The poems were composed by Stevenson in the early 1880's, inspired in part by Kate Greenaway's Birthday book for children (1880) and was published, without illustrations, in 1885. The first illustrated edition (by Charles Robinson) appeared in 1896. Both editions have been illustrated by American women American illustrators; Bessie Collins Pease Gutmann and Maria Louisa Kirk. Stevenson's work was the first book illustrated by Gutmann (1876-1960). She was a popular illustrator during the first quarter of the twentieth century, best known for her drawings of 'innocent' children during the so-called golden age of illustration. Maria Kirk (1860-193-?) illustrated over fifty children's classics also during the early decades of the century. This edition is not listed in Beinecke.
Acquired on01/11/01
AuthorDavies, C. Langdon (ed.)
TitleChina magazine. Christmas volume
ImprintHong Kong
Date of Publication1868
NotesThis is a rich source of information about the early activities of the Scottish-born pioneering photographer John Thomson. Thomson is known to have played an important role in the development of the China Magazine, an interesting periodical, which gives valuable information about Chinese literature, British perceptions of the colonial environment, and, in particular, photographic images of China and other Asian countries. Two articles and three of the twenty-four original albumen prints in the Christmas volume of 1868 are clearly identified as Thomson's, and Thomson's contributions are acknowledged in the 'Envoi' at the end of the volume. The first article, 'The Cambodian Ruins' (pp.17-19), gives valuable information about Thomson's photographic explorations in 1866. With Mr. K[ennedy]., Thomson set out from Bangkok towards the Cambodian frontier, armed with a letter from the King of Siam. He describes the photograph which illustrates the article as 'the only good photograph out of six, the others having been spoiled by the violent efforts of a tribe of black monkeys, who persisted in shaking the branches of the trees every time they saw me emerge from my tent to expose the plate'. The second article (pp.80-2) is illustrated by a striking photograph of a stone carving of an elephant. The third photograph definitely by Thomson is of a cup presented to the retiring governor of Macao (p.82). It is, of course, possible that other prints in this volume are by Thomson. The 'Envoi' concludes by announcing that 'new photographic apparatus, additional type and ornamentation are either on their way out from England or already to hand', and appeals for more subscribers to help them foot the bill. The Christmas volume is a substantial publication, which evidently includes articles from earlier issues of the magazine: both the periodical and this special volume are quite uncommon.
Reference SourcesStephen White, John Thomson, 1985. Richard Ovenden, John Thomson, 1997.
Acquired on05/07/02
AuthorSharp, Hugh
Title[Christmas cards]
ImprintHill of Tarvit
Date of Publication1930-1938
NotesThis is a rather remarkable donation which brings back to Scotland some printed items with close personal connections to Hugh Sharp and his family. Hugh Sharp (1897-1937) was the Dundee jute manufacturer and bibliophile whose private library was presented to the nation in 1938 by his mother and sister, Elizabeth. The Hugh Sharp collection is now one of our finest special collections, with many first editions of literary classics in fine condition. One of Hugh Sharp's friends was G. J. Scaramanga of Arundel, Sussex, who kept up the connection with the Sharps after Hugh's untimely death. He kept cards sent from Hugh and the Sharps in a special gilt-tooled folder. This folder of Christmas cards, which has now been donated to the Library, includes cards from 1930 to 1935, a calendar for 1937 and a later newspaper cutting. Movingly, there is a letter from Elizabeth Sharp dated 27 August 1938, which includes an example of the bookplate specially designed for the Hugh Sharp collection at the National Library after Hugh's death that year. The Christmas cards include facsimile reproductions from books in Hugh Sharp's collection, and they were finely printed by Pillans and Wilson of Edinburgh in only 50 copies each. Each card is interesting and tasteful, in decorated card covers and with coloured ties.
Acquired on01/06/04
TitleChronicle of Perth: a register of remarkable occurrences, chiefly connected with that city, from the year 1210 to 1668
ImprintEdinburgh Maitland Club
Date of Publication1831
NotesAn apparently unique copy of this Maitland Society publication, printed on vellum. It is not mentioned in the list of the Society's publications listed in A catalogue of the publications of Scottish historical and kindred clubs and societies by Charles Sanford Terry (Glasgow, 1909). The volume is tastefully bound in contemporary morocco, with the borders tooled in gilt with floral designs. The Maitland Club was a publishing society founded in Glasgow in 1828 with the purpose of editing and printing works of Scottish historical and literary interest. It was named after the 16th century poet and editor, Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington. The Club produced over 50 publications between 1829 and 1859.
Acquired on22/06/01
TitleCL. Psalmes of David in Meeter. With an exact Kalendar, also morning & evening prayers.
ImprintEdinburgh, Printed by James Bryson, and are to bee sold at his shop, a little above the Kirk-stile at the signe of the golden angel.
Date of Publication1640
NotesThis is a beautiful and important book: both the text and the binding are new to our collections. It is an edition of the metrical Psalms printed in Edinburgh in 1640 and contained in a silver binding, decorated with a design of birds and flowers. The leaf edges are gilt and decorated with a stamped design of dots and crosses. The first blank pastedown has the pencil note 'Hamilton Bruce' (probably the collector some of whose books the Library already has). The recto of the following blank has a pasted-on slip with the ink inscription 'This Edition of the Psalms was sold at 4..4 plain binding / Lowndes' (William Thomas Lowndes the bibliographer?) The text appears to be an unrecorded Aldis item, apparently in 32o. Aldis 975 (Cwn.651) is quarto; Aldis 976 (Cwn.483(2)) is duodecimo; Aldis 977 (Cwn.49) is printed by R. Bryson; Aldis 978 (Hall.191.k) has a variant title and is 16o. This edition is not mentioned in W. Cowan, 'Bibliography of the Book of Common Order', EBS X (1911-13). No examples have been traced in STC or ESTC. It seems that the binding is contemporary. The thin-gauge silver, which is not hallmarked, is overlapped by the old endpapers. One would expect a Victorian binding to have new endpapers, and, indeed, to be more artistically confident. The blackening of the silver where it has not been touched, and the loss of the clasps, also suggest an earlier binding. The Sotheby's sale of silver and enamel bindings of 10 May 1985 does not provide any definitive answers, nor does J. F. Hayward's Silver Bindings from the J. R. Abbey Collection. No. 38 in the Sotheby's catalogue shows a seventeenth-century English silver binding with a bird and flowers: evidently British craftsmen were doing work of this quality in the seventeenth century. Various silver experts were consulted about this work, and there are different opinions. Some suggest the binding is Dutch or German (perhaps a luxury binding for a member of the Scottish reformed communities in the Low Countries?), some suggest that the style is more likely to be British.
Reference SourcesW. Cowan, 'Bibliography of the Book of Common Order', EBS X (1911-13). Sotheby's sale of silver and enamel bindings, 10 May 1985. J. F. Hayward, Silver Bindings from the J. R. Abbey Collection.
Acquired on09/12/02
AuthorBeddoe, John
Title[Collection of 42 pamphlets etc]
Date of Publicationc. 1859-1900
NotesJohn Beddoe (1826-1911) was born in Worcestershire but studied medicine at Edinburgh University, becoming house physician at Edinburgh Royal Infimary. He developed a keen, not to say obsessive, interest in the different ethnic or racial groups of Europe. His studies of hair and eye colour, height and physique, are among the early works of the science of anthropology. More disturbingly, his ethnological writings prepare the way for the theories of racial separation and extreme nationalism that disfigured the early twentieth century. This is a collection of some 43 pamphlets and offprints in two volumes, many inscribed by the author, perhaps to a family member or close friend. Among these are some rare provincial Scottish and English imprints, such as 'Anthropological history of Europe', Paisley, 1893. Beddoe spent much of his life in the English west country, and there are some interesting examples of Bristol printing. Many of the works have a distinct Scottish slant. Notably, his publication 'On the stature and bulk of man' has tables with details of Scottish villagers, measured with and without shoes, and weighed with and without clothes. Amusingly, Beddoe spends some time complaining that people would not always cooperate with his researches. In Scotland, the east coast fishermen proved 'extremely stubborn and suspicious', and a Glasgow manufacturer told him it was a 'waste of workmen's time'. These pamphlets fit in well with existing collections such as the Combe collection of phrenological writings. Although much of Beddoe's data is of great interest, one feels unhappy at the direction of his arguments. 'On the physical characteristics of the Jewish race' (1869) is not actually coloured by any anti-Semitic remarks, but how much did it contribute to the rise of racist pseudo-science sixty years later? This is, perhaps, the darker side of Edinburgh's contribution to science and medicine.
Acquired on21/11/03
AuthorDeuchar, David
TitleCollection of etchings after the most eminent masters of the Dutch and Flemish schools
Date of Publication1803
NotesThese two volumes contain 361 fine etchings in the style of the old masters of the Low Countries as well as contemporary character studies, fashion plates, scenes of rustic life and genre scenes of Edinburgh life. The plates were drawn on thin India paper and mounted on thick cream paper and bound in contemporary straight grain morocco with decorative borders in gilt and blind. Though published in 1803, the etchings are dated between 1783 and 1802. Deuchar's etchings were published in a number of formats. The National Library has a single small volume with 168 etchings (M.99.b). Other versions with 369 India paper etchings in 4 quarto volumes and 381 etchings printed directly onto wove paper in 3 folio volumes (both in private hands) have also been traced. It seems likely that this scarce work was produced for private circulation among friends, including the artists David Allan, John Brown and Alexander Runciman. In many of the plates Deuchar showed 'appreciation of the quality of the etched line' and 'had an influence on the later etchings of Wilkie and Geddes' (Cursiter) Deuchar (1743-1808) from farming stock, worked as a Edinburgh seal-engraver in Edinburgh. A gifted amateur, he played an important role in encouraging Henry Raeburn to become an artist. Deuchar frequented the shop of James Gilliland, the jeweller and goldsmith, where the young Raeburn was an apprentice. After giving Raeburn some drawing lessons, Deuchar urged him to become a portrait painter.
Reference SourcesCaw, James L. Scottish painting past and present. Edinburgh, 1908 (Art.S.45.2) Cursiter, Stanley. Scottish art to the close of the nineteenth century. London, 1949 (Art.S.45.C2
Acquired on22/05/01
AuthorBrewster, David., Somerville, Mary et al.
TitleCollection of offprints presented to or collected by James Veitch.
Date of Publication1812-1831
NotesThis is a remarkable collection of nine papers written by six scientists (five of whom were Scots) during the early 19th century. What makes this collection so interesting is that all of these papers were presented to James Veitch (1771-1838), the self-educated polymath who was acquainted with these and other prominent contemporary scientists. He was also known to major public figures such as Sir Walter Scott and Francis Jeffrey, editor of the Edinburgh Review. Veitch came from Inchbonny, near Jedburgh where he made his living as a ploughwright, but he also found the time to dabble in mathematics, mechanics and astronomy. He set up a scientific workshop on the Jedburgh turnpike where he gave lessons to local educated men in these subjects. By the late 1820s he had stopped making ploughs and devoted his time to making telescopes and clocks. His customers for telescopes included Scott, the Earl of Hopetoun, the Earl of Minto, Mary Somerville and Professor Schumacher of the Altona Observatory in Germany. He was also working as the Inspector of Weights and Measures for Roxburghshire. Veitch is best known today as the man who inspired the young David Brewster (1781-1868), the inventor of the stereoscope and the kaleidoscope, to take an interest in scientific matters. With Veitch's help, Brewster had made his first telescope by the age of ten. Appropriately enough, four of the nine papers in this volume are by Brewster. There is also the first scientific paper by Jedburgh-born Mary Somerville (1780-1872). She was a leading scientific author and the first woman to have a work published in the Royal Society of London's Philosophical Transactions. The other papers are by Basil Hall, the son of the eminent geologist Sir James Hall, John Robison from Edinburgh and Alexander Rogers, who possibly came from Leith. There is also a paper by the Englishman William Hyde Wollaston, inventor of the camera lucida.
Reference SourcesGordon, Margaret Maria. The home life of Sir David Brewster. Edinburgh, 1881. Clarke, T.N. et al. Brass & glass: scientific instrument making workshops in Scotland. Edinburgh, 1989.
Acquired on25/04/06
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