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 754 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 226 to 240 of 754:

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AuthorAdam Smith
TitleThe works of Adam Smith
ImprintLondon: T. & J. Allman
Date of Publication1825
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the third collected edition of Smith's works, following on from editions published in 1811/12 and 1822. It is published in a smaller, pocket-size, format and unlike the previous two collected editions, it contains a translation of Germain Garnier's 'Short view of the doctrine of Smith compared with that of the French economists', which appeared in the 1802 French edition of the 'Wealth of Nations'.
ShelfmarkAB.1.207.055
Acquired on02/07/07
AuthorAdam Smith
TitleUntersuchung ueber die Natur und die Ursachen des Nationalreichthums[Wealth of Nations]
ImprintFrankfurt and Leipzig: [s.n.]
Date of Publication1796-99
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is one of three German-language editions of Smith's "Wealth of Nations" published in the 1790s, which is a testament to the impact the work had on continental Europe. The translation is by Christian Garve, revised by August Doerrien.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2728
Acquired on14/11/08
AuthorAdam Smith
TitleThe theory of moral sentiments. 2nd edition.
ImprintLondon : A. Millar
Date of Publication1761
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is one of the 750 copies printed of the second edition of the "The theory of moral sentiments". The second edition is notable for the inclusion of replies to criticisms of the first edition by David Hume. Commonly regarded as the work that established Smith's international reputation, he himself always considered it his finest work. First published in 1759, it was an immediate success and eventually ran to six editions, the last of which Smith extensively revised just before he died in 1790. It is often said that we cannot properly understand the "Wealth of Nations" without a knowledge of "The Theory of Moral Sentiments". The other two copies of the second edition in NLS's collections are held in deposited collections, so the purchase of this copy ensures that NLS has its own copies of all the English-language editions of the work printed in the 18th century.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2854
Acquired on25/01/13
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
AuthorAdamson, Patrick
TitleSerenissimi ac nobilissimi Scotiae, Angliae, Hyberniae principis
ImprintParis
Date of Publication1566
LanguageLatin
NotesIn 1566 Patrick Adamson (1537-1592), a Scottish minister who was later to become Bishop of St. Andrews, was working in France as a tutor to the son of a Scottish nobleman. Although Adamson was away from the tumult of Scotland - where a power struggle between Mary Queen of Scots and the Scottish nobles, including James Hamilton, second Earl of Arran, was being played out under the watchful eye of the English government - as a client of Lord Hamilton he still found himself caught up in the events. The birth of Mary's son James in June of that year was a key event, as Mary still pursued a claim to succession of the English throne, occupied by the unmarried and childless Elizabeth. Adamson published this Latin poem in Paris to celebrate the birth of James, describing him as prince of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland. The title would turn out to be an accurate one but the timing was very inopportune as relations between the Scottish and English courts were far from cordial due to the succession issue and Mary's Catholic faith. The poem enraged the English Government, who demanded that Adamson be punished. He was subsequently imprisoned in Paris for six months. After his release Adamson toured the continent before returning to Scotland to re-enter the ministry. He would be at the heart of the religious controversies that raged in Scotland in the latter half of the 16th-century. After his death Adamson's contemporaries regarded him as gifted man of letters who was probably happier and more suited to the world of scholarship than church politics. This poem marked Adamson's entry into the world of political controversy, and in view of the storm it caused it is very rare. there are only four recorded copies, none of them in Scotland.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2600
Reference SourcesShaaber, DNB
Acquired on27/04/05
AuthorAeschylus
TitleHai tou Aischulou Choephoroi. Aeschyli Choephoroe. [Aeschylus: Choephori]
ImprintGlasguae: Excudebat Andreas Foulis, M.DCC.LXXVII.
Date of Publication1777 [?]
LanguageGreek and Latin
NotesOne of three additions to the Library's Foulis Press holdings. Andrew Foulis published two editions of Aeschylus' Choephorae in 1777, each with parallel texts of a Greek and Latin translation. The LIbrary already has a copy of the quarto setting of one edition (Gaskell 608, shelfmark NE.732.f.3). This is a copy of the far less common edition (Gaskell 608a, 2nd ed.), apparently unrecorded by ESTC and previously known only from a copy in private hands [which may or may not be this one]. There seems to be a bibliographical mystery about the date of this edition, according to a note by Robert Donaldson dated 1982 in the Library's marked-up copy of the 1st edition of Gaskell. He dates the paper of this edition to 1794, and says it has the same setting as the text of Choephori in the editions of Aeschylus: Tragoediae published by Foulis in 1796 and 1802 (Gaskell 702), and is therefore printed from the same standing type or stereo plates. There seems no explanation for why this text might have been issued separately with a false 1777 date, and copies of all the relevant editions would need to be collated before any conclusions could be reached. This copy is bound with the edition of Longinus: On the Sublime (Greek and Latin text) published by Foulis in 1790, in what looks like the original binding (which might confirm the later date of publication). The stamp of the Royal School Edinburgh is on the back cover. Along with this item, the Library acquired a copy of John Gay: Poems on Several Occasions (Gaskell 506). The Library has a copy of the variant described on p. 438 of Gaskell, 2nd ed (shelfmark Hall.195.b); this new acquisition accords with the description of the edition on p. 295.
ShelfmarkABS.1.204.061(2)
Reference SourcesGaskell: Foulis Press bibliography (both editions)
Acquired on04/05/04
AuthorAesop
TitleAesop's fables
ImprintGlasgow: James Knox
Date of Publication1764
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis edition of Aesop's fables appears to be completely unrecorded. This is surprising as it is a rather attractive publication with numerous woodcuts. It is designed as an educational book: the words of the fables are broken up by hyphens, so that the beginner could read them a piece at a time. This does make the text look rather odd (for example, 'A Wea-sel run-ning in-to a bra-si-ers shop...'). Aesop's fables play an important part in Scottish culture. The fifteenth-century poet Robert Henryson did an excellent translation into Scots, and there are many other editions. This edition is particularly notable for the naive illustrations, which are more akin to those normally found in a chapbook.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2606
Acquired on27/06/05
AuthorAinslie, William.
TitleSixty-six years' residence in South Africa: an autobiographical sketch.
Imprint[Fort Beaufort, South Africa]: Fort Beaufort Printing and Publishing Company
Date of Publication1899
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis rare book, crudely printed in the small South African town of Fort Beaufort, documents the experiences of a Scottish emigrant to South Africa. William Ainslie was born c. 1820 in Hawick in the Scottish Borders. His father worked there as a brewer and bookbinder. In 1833 the Ainslie family decided to move to South Africa, on the advice of William's famous uncle Thomas Pringle, who had lived there in the 1820s. Pringle (1789-1834) was a writer and campaigner for abolition of slavery, who became known as the father of South African Poetry, being the first successful English language poet and author to describe South Africa. The Ainslie family eventually purchased a farm in what was then called Kaffraria, the southeast part of what is today the Eastern Cape Province. They inevitably got caught up in the conflicts between European settlers and the native Xhosa people (referred to in the book as 'Kaffirs'). From the late 18th century onwards a series of armed conflicts between the Xhosa, British army and settlers had taken place as more and more settlers encroached on Xhosa lands. In the preface to the book, written by one A. Hanesworth, it is stated that: "No savage people has given Great Britain so much trouble in open fight and secret foray as the Coloured races of Kaffraria". When William Ainslie acquired his own farm, he became a 'burgher' who was obliged to arm himself to defend his property and also to assist the army and the other settlers. As such he was participant in what is now termed the 8th Xhosa War of 1850-53, which he describes at length. In 1859 Ainslie settled in the Fort Beaufort area, where he continued to farm as well as making a brief foray into diamond mining. Ainslie's book documents the struggle of an emigrant to establish himself in an often hostile and unforgiving environment. It was written on the eve of the Boer War and he criticises the Dutch Bond politicians "who are doing everything in their power to cause race-hatred between the Dutch and English".
ShelfmarkAB.1.212.26
Acquired on23/03/12
AuthorAlcott, Louisa M.
TitleLittle women.
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication[1927]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an uncommon edition of Louisa Alcott's classic children's book with a striking wrap-around pictorial cover by Jessie M. King. The style of the illustration, which is typical of King with a solitary slender girl in a what appears to be a desert environment is at variance with both the story itself and the Edwardian-style colour frontispiece and title page by an unknown illustrator. Indeed, this design was used for twelve books in the Collins Bumper Reward Books series Born in New Kilpatrick, Bearsden, King (1876-1949) studied at Glasgow School of Art between 1892 and 1899 - her style mirrors the angular art nouveau concepts of the Glasgow Style Her decorative work in books is often regarded as the counterpart to Charles Rennie Mackintosh's output in the field of applied arts. As early as 1902 she was regarded as the pre-eminent book illustrator in the Glasgow movement. She illustrated nearly 200 books between 1898 and 1949. It has been said that her myopic eyesight allowed her to work in fine detail in her book illustrations, as well as in her jewellery, ceramic and fabric designs, murals and watercolour painting.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.880
Reference Sourceshttp://www.greengate-gallery.org.uk/jmk.html http://www.speel.demon.co.uk/artists2/jmking.htm http://www.ortakales.com/illustrators/King.html White, Colin. The enchanted world of Jessie M. King. (Edinburgh: Canongate, 1989) H8.90.6
Acquired on31/01/02
AuthorAlexander Brand
TitleA true collection of poems on the several birth-days of His Majesty King George
Imprint[Edinburgh? s.n.]
Date of Publication[1727]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis small collection of seven poems in honour of the Hanoverian royal family was written by a now obscure Scottish knight, Sir Alexander Brand of Brandfield (Brandsfield). Only two other copies of this printing are recorded - at the British Library and the Bodleian. It is likely that this printing was done in Edinburgh, possibly for private circulation; a London reissue of the same year is also recorded in ESTC as now being held at Yale University. These particular poems, written between 1724 and 1727, are gushing in their praise of the King and his son and daughter, as one would expect from hagiographic poems of the period, but they are of absolutely no literary merit. The text of one of them, to the Princess of Wales, was reproduced in the St. James's Evening Post of 1725, and then in the Caledonian Mercury. The Caledonian Mercury reveals that Brand had presented the poem in person at court as part of his efforts to be recompensed for his loyalty to the British Crown. He had served in the Edinburgh militia during the 'Glorious revolution' of 1688 and had imported arms and provisions to Scotland for government troops, but had never been reimbursed, due, according to him, to the actions of unnamed enemies. Of particular interest is a later poem dedicated to the princess of Wales, 'Verses to her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales, on her birth-day, March 1. 1725-26', in which Brand seems less concerned about praising the princess than including random details of his personal life and settling scores against his enemies. He begins it with the lines: "Brand, the oldest bard in life, Marry'd fifty years t' a wife", before revealing some eccentric and grandiose schemes. In the poem he proposes to fund the cutting of a canal between Leith and Holyrood House, "Twice as long and broad's the Mall". In a footnote he claims that the canal and the erection of statues of the King and Prince William of Orange would be there "to convince the world of his great loyalty, and that he is no bankrupt". Brand seems over-eager to prove his financial solvency; although a landowner in the Edinburgh area (Brandfield Street in the Fountainbridge Area of Edinburgh is presumably named after him) and a businessman involved in schemes for improving trade and manufacturing gilt leather, in his dedication to the Princess of Wales at the front of the book he refers to being "oppressed with years infirmities and disasters". Quite how he would have financed a canal from Leith to Holyrood is open to question. He also offers to help in the field of international politics, referring to Empress Catherine I of Russia, then sole ruler of Imperial Russia, "Or if she shou'd be mistaken , I'd tell her how to save her bacon". His ambitious plans and perhaps his ardent anti-Jacobite feelings seem to have made him a controversial figure in his homeland. In another footnote to the same poem he says he has "designs to buy land in England or Hanover, being determin'd not to live among Scotch Justices of the Peace & who have insulted him in coffee-houses", regarding a trial he was currently involved in. His plans for a canal in Edinburgh and his general character were satirised in an anonymous pamphlet published in London in 1725 "A letter from a gentleman in White's Chocolate-House, to his friend at the Smyrna Coffee-House". Moreover, Brand's sudden switch of loyalties in 1688 to Prince William, having loyally served both Charles II and James VII/II (as sheriff of Edinburgh he had supervised the execution of the Earl of Argyll in 1685) seems to have rendered him suspect to fellow Scotsmen, including Gilbert Burnet. Brand does not appear to have ever got the financial rewards he was seeking. The Caledonian Mercury in October 1729 advertises, on behalf of creditors, the sale of the lands of "Dalray (alias Brandsfield)" (i.e. Dalry), presumably after the death of Sir Alexander. This particular copy of Brand's poems is notable for having the title page misbound after leaf [A2], and for having an extra leaf bound into it which contains a 44-line poem in praise of the second Duke of Argyll (1648-1743). Argyll had commanded government troops in Scotland during the 1715 Jacobite uprising and, according to Brand, tamed the Highlands and forced the clans to "give up dispotick power". The leaf is on paper with a different watermark to the rest of the book and is possibly a later inclusion.
ShelfmarkAP.4.213.11
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on13/09/13
AuthorAlexander Duncan, 1747-1816
TitleA navy sermon delivered on board His Majesty's Ship Venerable of seventy-four guns.
ImprintLondon : J. Marshall
Date of Publication1798?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis rare pamphlet (only one other copy of this printing is recorded, in the British Library, but none in ESTC) reproduces the text of a prayer of thanksgiving and a sermon given after the naval battle of Camperdown which took place off the Dutch coast near the village of Kamperduin. The author of "A navy sermon" was the Rev. Dr Alexander Duncan (1747-1816), who served as chaplain on the "Venerable", the ship commanded by his cousin and fellow-Scot Admiral Adam Duncan (1731-1804). Admiral Duncan was then commander-in-chief of the British fleet in the North Sea. On 11 October 1797 he attacked the Dutch fleet (the Dutch were allies of France in the French Revolutionary Wars), and after a long and bloody engagement decisively defeated it. Camperdown proved to be the most significant action between British and Dutch forces during the 1790s, giving the British complete control of the North Sea. It was also regarded as the greatest ever victory for a British fleet over an equal enemy force to that date, although it was later overshadowed by Nelson's victories in the Napoleonic Wars. Admiral Duncan was a deeply religious man and in the aftermath of the battle, with the "Venerable" itself severely damaged, he assembled all of those men fit to attend for a church service to "return thanks to Almighty God for all His mercies showered on them and him." Leading the service was his cousin Alexander, a minister in the Episcopal Church, who in 1795 had become rector of Bolam parish in Northumberland, but who also served in the Royal Navy. In a surviving miniature portrait of Dr Duncan there is a quote attributed to King George III inscribed on the back, "Would to God that all my subjects were as loyal as Dr Duncan." Dr Duncan uttered suitably stirring and patriotic words for the occasion, and was prompted to publish the words of his service by a letter from members of the "Venerable"'s company (the text of the letter is reproduced here as well as a letter from Dr Duncan to his cousin). This 1798(?) printing would appear to have been a private printing solely for distribution to various members of the ship's company (a copy of a later 1799 London printing, by a different printer, is recorded in the library of the US Navy Dept.) This particular copy was a presentation copy for Admiral Duncan, who by this time had been created Viscount Duncan of Camperdown and Baron Duncan of Lundie. It is bound in contemporary tree calf with gold tooling and has a leather label on the front board "Lord Viscount Duncan", reflecting his change in status. It has also has a later gilt stamp on it "Camperdown Library" which indicates that it was at one time held in the family mansion of Camperdown House in Dundee, built in 1828 to replace the old family home of Lundie House, which was demolished that year. Dr Alexander Duncan seems to have retired to the quiet life of a minister, publishing one further work in 1799 "Miscellaneous essays, naval, moral, political, and divine". Four of his nine sons are known to have served in the Royal Navy.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2852
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; A. Orr, The Duncans of Dundee and Camperdown: followed in the line of the Reverend Doctor Alexander Duncan DD, [Montrose, 2000]
Acquired on08/03/13
AuthorAlexander, James Edward, Sir.
TitleOn the means of defending farm houses.
ImprintGraham's Town [South Africa]: [s.n.],
Date of Publication1835
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare South African imprint which gives instructions for the defence of farms during the 6th Cape Frontier (or Xhosa) War. The author, James Alexander (1803-1885) was a Scottish army officer, who at the time was serving in South Africa as the as aide-de-camp to Sir Benjamin D' Urban, the then governor of the Cape Colony. Alexander played a key role in organising the defence of settlements such as Grahamstown and leading an exploring party into the heart of South Africa. The 6th Cape Frontier War was one of series of nine armed conflicts between white European settlers (Boers and British) and the native Xhosa peoples of the Eastern Cape area of South Africa, which lasted for around 100 years, from the late 18th to the late 19th century. The 6th war was triggered by the killing of Xhosa chief by a government commando party in 1834. An army of 10,000 Xhosa swept into the Cape Colony the following year, pillaging and burning the homesteads and killing all who resisted. Alexander's pamphlet gives practical instructions, complete with seven illustrations, for farmers on how to defend their property. The war ended with the signing of a peace treaty in 1836. Alexander went on to pursue a long and distinguished career in the army, serving in various parts of the British Empire.
ShelfmarkRB.m.686
Acquired on10/04/09
AuthorAlexander, Sir William, Earl of Stirling
TitleRecreations with the Muses
ImprintLondon: b. Tho. Harper
Date of Publication1637
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis collection of the works of William Alexander is of central importance to the development of Scottish literature. Alexander was a member of the 'Castalian band' (named after the mythical spring on Mount Parnassus, a symbol of the inspiration of the muses) of poets at the court of King James VI, along with writers such as Alexander Montgomerie, William Fowler, Robert and Thomas Hudson, and the king himself. When the court moved to London in 1603 with the accession of James to the English throne, the 'Castalian band' was dispersed. Alexander, like other writers who moved to London with the king, began to modify his verse, expunging Scotticisms and adopting the southern English language, so that this publication of 1637 is substantially a book of poetry in English, not Scots. Alexander was highly regarded by James VI and I and by Charles I, and was chosen by James to help him produce a new translation of the Psalms; the translation was published under James's name although it was almost all the work of Alexander. Alexander, who died in 1640, was by 1637 Secretary of State for Scotland; more notable, perhaps, is the fact that he had been granted the colonial territories of Nova Scotia (and, indeed, much of what is now Canada and the USA!). This book is thus a collection of a major Scottish author's writings, and one of the last editions published during his lifetime. Of enormous symbolic importance is the fact that this copy contains a fine impression of the extremely rare portrait of Alexander. On the portrait is the manuscript inscription 'Liber Fra: Kinaston ex dono Nobilissimi Authoris'. Sir Francis Kynaston (1587-1642) was an influential English poet of the court of Charles I, and an appropriate recipient for this collection of Anglicised works by a Scottish-born writer. The bookseller describes the portait as one of the 'black tulips' of early English print-making, and there does not seem to be another copy with the portrait in any UK public library. This copy is of some bibliographical importance, as the inscription indicates clearly that the portrait was issued with the book (it had been argued that the rarity of the portrait was a consequence of its having been issued separately). An eighteenth-century facsimile is also bound in this copy. Another interesting bibliographical feature of this and at least two other copies is that two leaves ([2]X1 and [2]X6) were missing due to an error in printing early copies of that sheet; here they have been supplied from another copy. The book is attractively bound in early nineteenth-century green morocco with gold-tooled decoration and lettering on the spine; the edges of the leaves are gilt. A note on a front flyleaf signed 'H.C.' probably indicates the ownership of the nineteenth-century collector Henry Cunliffe. The National Library of Scotland had two copies of this text already (H.29.a.3, H.29.a.4), but the additional features of this copy enable us to claim that our holdings of this important book now approach bibliographical completeness. This will enhance further our standing as a centre for studies of early Scottish literature.
ShelfmarkRB.m.502
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on07/10/02
AuthorAlfred, King of England
TitleThe will of King Alfred
ImprintOxford : Clarendon Press
Date of Publication1788
LanguageEnglish
NotesA remboîtage in a Scottish red morocco herringbone binding. The front and back boards have been elaborately tooled in gilt. The spine features 7 compartments with the title in gilt in compartments two to four. The textblock is gilt-edged. The front and back openings feature Dutch floral endpapers.
ShelfmarkBdg.m.170
Acquired on14/11/08
AuthorAllen, Peter
TitleTravels in the Cevennes
ImprintWhittington Press
Date of Publication1998
LanguageEnglish
NotesNote: This is no.27 of a limited edition of 50 special copies of this beautifully produced and tastefully illustrated private press book. Printed using 14-point Cochin on Arches mould-made paper it differs from the 'standard' edition of 150 copies with the inclusion of two additional pochoir-coloured illustrations. This hand coloured illustration process was first used in 15th century and revived in France in the late 19th century. A monochrome outline of the design is printed by letterpress or lithography. As many as 20 to 30 celluloid stencils are cut out for the various parts of the design and special brushes with gouache and watercolours are used for the colouring. The book is an account by author and illustrator Peter Allen of his life as a farmhand on a goat farm in the Cevennes and his subsequent travels in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson. There are frequent echoes throughout the text of Stevenson's Travels with a donkey in the Cevennes, but unlike the Scots scribe Allen travelled by car and not by donkey.
ShelfmarkFB.m.614
Acquired on04/07/01
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