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 226 to 240 of 772:

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AuthorA.M. graduate in Physic [Tobias Smollett]
TitleDon Ricardo Honeywater vindicated.
ImprintLondon: E. Pen
Date of Publication[1748]
LanguageEnglish
NotesIn 1748 the eminent English physician Richard Mead was viciously attacked in print by the London-based Scot William Douglas in the pamphlet "The cornutor of seventy-five". This withering response to Douglas's pamphlet appeared in the same year and includes a comprehensive rebuttal of Douglas's aspersions and a damning biography of Douglas, referred to here as 'Doctor Salguod'. The authorship of this rare satirical pamphlet has been convincingly attributed to Tobias Smollett. As a fellow Scot in London, Smollett must have been acutely aware of the prejudices against Scots in the wake of the recent Jacobite uprising, and was anxious to prevent Douglas from stirring up more trouble by attacking the most respected medical man in England. This pamphlet is signed on the final page 'Gill Blas', the same moniker used by Smollett, who had done an English translation of Lesage's work "Gil Blas", in his pamphlet "Thomsonus Redivivus". Smollett's stout defence of Mead appears to have ended Douglas's literary career and no doubt enhanced Smollett's standing in the medical and literary community of London.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2638(2)
Reference SourcesESTC; DNB; R.A. Day, "The cornutor of seventy-five and Don Ricardo Honeywater vindicated", The Augustan Reprint Society publication no. 224-225, Los Angeles, 1987
Acquired on24/11/06
AuthorAbercrombie, John.
TitleEvery man his own gardener.
ImprintLondon: Printed for W. Griffin,
Date of Publication1767
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis book is a rare copy of the first edition of John Abercrombie's most popular work. Abercrombie (1726-1806) from Prestonpans, near Edinburgh was the son of a market gardener, whom he worked for from the age of 14. In 1751 he went to London and worked at Kew Gardens, Leicester House and a host of other noblemens' gardens. At an early age, Abercrombie started the habit of noting down various horticultural observations, which formed the raw material for this book. His name does not appear on the title page or elsewhere in the publication. Instead he had asked his friend, Thomas Mawe, gardener to the Duke of Leeds in return for 20 to prefix his name to the book so that it would sell. It was a huge success and by the seventh edition of 1776, Abercrombie's name appeared on the title page.Its popularity continued for many years, a thirty-fifth edition appearing in 1857. This copy has the ownership inscription of John Lamiman, 1767 and it is possible that he had the book put into a protective chemise, possibly so he could take it out into the garden with him.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2727
Reference SourcesHenrey, Blanche. British botanical and horticultural literature before 1800. (London, 1975); Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online
Acquired on13/10/08
AuthorAbernethy, John
TitleSeelen Artzney. Das ist: Ein schoener und nuetzlicher Tractat, in welchem die Kranckheiten der Seele, ihre Ursachen, Zeichen, Zufaelle und Prognostica ordentlich beschrieben und zugleich angezeigt wird ?
ImprintHanau: David Aubry; Frankfurt: Clemens Schleichen und Peter de Zetter
Date of Publication1634
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the second German edition of Abernethy's seminal "Christian and heavenly treatise containing Physick for the soule" of 1615; the first German translation was published in 1625. This edition is bound in contemporary vellum with blind tooling and gauffered edges. John Abernethy became Bishop of Caithness in 1616, but was deprived of the See in 1638; he died in 1639. His "Physick" deals with original sin as the source of spiritual illness, and with the cure or "Artzney" for different sins such as jealousy, impatience, fear, intemperance or hatred. The treatise is modelled on medical books detailing cures for certain diseases, and indeed draws on diseases of the body as parallels, such as the "cancer of heresy". The translator of the German edition is unknown, but he has added comments and enlarged the original English version.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2304
Reference SourcesScott, H. Fasti ecclesiae Scoticanae, 1928: |b vol. 2, p. 125
Acquired on23/07/03
AuthorAdam Ferguson
TitleSaggio sopra la storia delle societa civile [Essay on the history of civil society]
ImprintVicenza: nella stamperia Turra
Date of Publication1791-92
LanguageItalian
NotesThis is the rare (no copies recorded outside Italy) first Italian translation of Adam Ferguson's "Essay on the History of Civil Society", one of the main works of the Scottish Enlightenment, and regarded as the first work of empirical sociology in English. The work was first published in English in 1767 and made Ferguson famous as a philosopher and historian throughout Europe. The present translation, by the Vicenza-based lawyer Tomasso Cerato, is taken from the French translation of 1783. A further Italian translation was published in Venice in 1807.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2862
Acquired on21/06/13
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 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 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, 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
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