Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through
purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 835 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 241 to 255 of 835:
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|Title||The ladies' science of etiquette by a lady|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Paton and Ritchie|
|Date of Publication||c1850|
|Notes||Victorian society was famously governed by strict codes of etiquette which were supposed to be the defining marks of members of polite society. This meant that many guides to these rules were produced, aimed at those who were anxious about whether their own behaviour met these exacting standards. This is one of the rarest surviving examples of such a conduct book, in its original coloured paper covers. Although here the work is published anonymously, it seems to be a reprint, originally written by the author and socialite Baroness E.C. de Calabrella, who was part of the circle surrounding the Regency dandy Count D'Orsay. This may account for the tone of this volume: where many such etiquette guides were written by and for the expanding Victorian middle class, and reflected bourgeois stolidity, The Ladies' Science of Etiquette discusses questions such as whether a lady should walk to a ball ('superlatively ridiculous' - if stuck in a provincial town without a carriage, take a sedan chair) and whether it is acceptable for a lady to carry a small dog about town ('altogether vulgar').|
|Author||A.B. Fleming & Co.|
|Title||Specimen book of fine colours for letterpress and lithographic printers.|
|Imprint||[Leicester: Raithby, Lawrence & Co.] |
|Date of Publication||[1893?]|
|Notes||The firm A.B. Fleming & Co. was founded c. 1854 and was initially based in Salamander Street in Leith. The firm developed a technique of producing much cheaper newspaper ink which led to a rapid expansion of the business. By the 1880s they could claim to have the largest printing ink works in the world in Caroline Park, Granton, north of Edinburgh city centre. This specimen book is one a series of specimen books produced from the 1870s onwards to showcase their wares nationally and internationally. The book also includes the text of a lecture 'The chemistry of colour printing' given to the Edinburgh Branch of the British Typographia in 1891 by Robert Irvine (d. 1902), who was a chemical director of A.B. Fleming & Co. This copy has an American provenance, containing the embossed stamp of one F. Grant Schleicher, who was superintendent of the W. D. Wilson Printing Ink Company in Long Island City, N. Y.|
|Author||A.M. graduate in Physic [Tobias Smollett]|
|Title||Don Ricardo Honeywater vindicated.|
|Imprint||London: E. Pen|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||In 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.|
|Reference Sources||ESTC; 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|
|Title||Every man his own gardener.|
|Imprint||London: Printed for W. Griffin, |
|Date of Publication||1767|
|Notes||This 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.
|Reference Sources||Henrey, Blanche. British botanical and horticultural literature before 1800.
(London, 1975); Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online
|Title||Seelen 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 ?|
|Imprint||Hanau: David Aubry; Frankfurt: Clemens Schleichen und Peter de Zetter|
|Date of Publication||1634|
|Notes||This 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.|
|Reference Sources||Scott, H. Fasti ecclesiae Scoticanae, 1928: |b vol. 2, p. 125|
|Title||Saggio sopra la storia delle societa civile [Essay on the history of civil society]|
|Imprint||Vicenza: nella stamperia Turra|
|Date of Publication||1791-92|
|Notes||This 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.
|Title||The theory of moral sentiments. 2nd edition.|
|Imprint||London : A. Millar|
|Date of Publication||1761|
|Notes||This 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.|
|Title||Theorie des sentimens moraux ou Essai analytique sur les principes des jugemens|
|Imprint||Yverdun : Pierre Kuppner|
|Date of Publication||1799|
|Notes||This an unrecorded French-language edition of Adam Smith's "Theory of moral sentiments" with a Swiss imprint. It consists of the sheets of the Paris 1798 edition, which is the third translation of the work, by the marquise de Condorcet (NLS copy of this edition: ABS.2.87.36), but with new cancel title pages. The imprint is almost certainly false, as there is no record of a Pierre Kuppner publishing books in Yverdun (Yverdon-les-Bains) or anywhere else at the time. Yverdon-les-Bains in Switzerland was an intellectual and printing centre in the 18th century (a 1781 edition in French of the "Wealth of Nations" was published there), with a long established literary and typographical society, where intellectuals such as Rousseau, Pestalozzi and Fortune-Barthelemy de Felice stayed. This particular copy is in a contemporary full-leather binding and has a Polish provenance with the bookplate, dated 1821, of the Bibliotheca Sobolevskyana.|
|Reference Sources||Jean Pierre Perret, "Les imprimeries d?Yverdon au XVIIe et au XVIIIe siècle" (Lausanne, 1945) |
|Title||Untersuchung ueber die Natur und die Ursachen des Nationalreichthums[Wealth of Nations]|
|Imprint||Frankfurt and Leipzig: [s.n.]|
|Date of Publication||1796-99|
|Notes||This 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.|
|Title||The works of Adam Smith|
|Imprint||London: T. & J. Allman|
|Date of Publication||1825|
|Notes||This 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'.|
|Author||Adam, William, (1689-1748)|
|Title||Proposals 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. ...|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||During 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.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's catalogue; Harris, Eileen, "British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785", Cambridge University Press, 1990; Oxford DNB|
|Author||Adamson, Patrick |
|Title||Serenissimi ac nobilissimi Scotiae, Angliae, Hyberniae principis|
|Date of Publication||1566|
|Notes||In 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.|
|Reference Sources||Shaaber, DNB|
|Title||Hai tou Aischulou Choephoroi. Aeschyli Choephoroe. [Aeschylus: Choephori]|
|Imprint||Glasguae: Excudebat Andreas Foulis, M.DCC.LXXVII.|
|Date of Publication||1777 [?]|
|Language||Greek and Latin|
|Notes||One 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.|
|Reference Sources||Gaskell: Foulis Press bibliography (both editions)|
|Imprint||Glasgow: James Knox|
|Date of Publication||1764|
|Notes||This 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.|
|Author||Agnes Bowie Shanks|
|Title||Diary of a trip to Egypt and Jerusalem, 1886.|
|Imprint||Greenock: W. Hutchison|
|Date of Publication||1887|
|Notes||Unrecorded private printing of the diary of Agnes Bowie Shanks (d. 1920), wife of the Rev. David Shanks (1828-1887), Minister of Craigrownie Church, near Helensburgh. Rev. Shanks undertook the trip to the Middle East to restore his failing health but died in 1887, the year after the trip. Accompanying the work are two letters, one from the Rev. James A. C. Murray, dated 14/06/1916, to Agnes Shanks, thanking her for lending him the volume, the other is a modern note concerning the loan of the book. The signature of the author is at the head of the title page and also the front wrapper. |
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes|