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.

Please let us know what you think of this resource, if you have information to add about an acquisition, or if you have rare Scottish books that you would like to donate or sell. Email us at rarebooks@nls.uk

      

Important Acquisitions 241 to 255 of 772:

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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
AuthorAnacreon
Title[Odes]
ImprintGlasguae: R. & A. Foulis
Date of Publication1751
LanguageGreek
NotesThis is a beautiful Scottish edition of a classic, and a fine example of the aesthetically innovative and well-constructed books produced by Glasgow's Foulis Press. It measures 84 x 51 x 11 mm. Anacreon, the 6th-century BC Greek poet who wrote on wine, women and song, is here celebrated in a neat miniature version. This copy is remarkable as it is printed on silk of four different colours, blue, pink, yellow and cream. The silk is not backed with paper, which makes the pages of some books printed on silk quite thick and rigid; here the silk is limp and the sheets are neatly sewn around the edges. There is an ink inscription on the first (blank) leaf: "This Book was given to Mr. Baker by the Revd Mr Lumley Jan 10th 1771". A few sheets are a little spotted but the overall condition is delightful. Bound in contemporary red goatskin, gilt, with double gilt embossed endleaves (of two different patterns). ESTC T85607 notes 4 copies on silk. See Bondy, Miniature Books, p.24, and Gaskell, Foulis Press, no. 181. The bookseller notes 'It doesn't appear in Book Auction Records and neither Houghton (who had a great miniature book collection) nor Getty ever found one.' The opportunity to acquire such a book is unlikely to recur. NLS has a copy printed on paper, ABS.1.84.108. We also have a copy of Anacreon's Odes printed on silk by Hamilton, Balfour and Neill (1754), Nha.Misc.47. Other copies of books on fabric in NLS are at F.5.g.31 (limp white linen, not sewn at the edges) and F.6.b.4 (limp white silk, interleaved with paper, not sewn at the edges). There seems to have been a minor cult of printing on silk in Scotland at this period; see Brian Hillyard, 'Books printed on silk or linen', Factotum 28 (1989) pp.19-20. In 2000 we bought an unrecorded Aberdeen thesis printed on silk in 1675. The National Library of Scotland has purchased this as an item of outstanding importance, which demonstrates how much Scots of the eighteenth century loved and admired their books. It is also a fine example of the Scottish cult of printing on silk, and of the Scottish tradition of producing miniature books, which arguably culminated in the work of David Bryce of Glasgow at the start of the 20th century.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2302
Reference SourcesGaskell, Foulis Press. Bondy, Miniature Books.
Acquired on18/08/03
AuthorAnderson, Alan and Jennie
TitleBlue remembered hills
ImprintLoanhead: Tragara Press
Date of Publication2004
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Tragara Press was founded by Alan Anderson in Edinburgh in 1954 who has, remarkably, continued to produce fine work for fifty years. The National Library has always collected Tragara books, and has marked-up copies of the two bibliographies of the press. Alan Anderson has donated many of the Tragara books we hold, and has now given us this, the last book which will be printed by Tragara. It is a selection of verse by Alan and Jennie Anderson (the title comes from A. E. Housman's 'A Shropshire lad'). This edition is limited to 20 copies, hand-set in Garamond type and printed on paper made by Amatruda of Amalfi. It is a fine conclusion to half a century of Scotland's most enduring private press.
ShelfmarkFB.m.801
Reference SourcesAlan Anderson, 'The Tragara Press', 1979; 1991.
Acquired on20/12/04
AuthorAnderson, Grace Scott & John
TitleJapan from India: letters & notes of the journey of two travellers, chiefly by one of them.
Imprint[Calcutta?: privately printed]
Date of Publication[1884]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded, privately-printed account of a journey to Japan in 1884, made by the eminent Scottish zoologist, Dr John Anderson (1833-1900) and his wife, Grace (1834-1917). Anderson was at the time based in Calcutta, where he had lived for 20 years and was working as Superintendent of the Indian Museum and professor of comparative anatomy at the medical school. He had devoted his career to studying the zoology and ethnology of the Far East, having already gone on three arduous, and at times dangerous, scientific expeditions to China and Burma during his time in India. The trip to Japan was a more leisurely affair. The anonymous account printed here is a mixture of a travel journal, written by Grace Anderson, who addresses her chapters to a relative or friend called Isabella, with two additional, more scholarly, chapters written by Anderson (referred to in the text as "J.A."). The Andersons' journey started from Calcutta on March 15 with the first destination being the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they met the governor (and fellow Scot), Col. Thomas Cadell. During their stay they visited the penal colony at Port Blair. After a stay in Rangoon, Burma, they moved on to Penang in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Canton (Guangzhou), Grace making frequent comparisons with the landscape she saw in the course of her travels and that of her native Scotland. In May they arrived in Japan, which was the Anderson's main destination. The majority of the book is accordingly devoted to their travels in the Japanese islands with descriptions of the scenery, wildlife, local customs, religion and food. The final chapter in the book is written by John Anderson and concerns their visit to the island of Yezo (Hokkaido) from August to October. He cites a number of other contemporary authors who had written on Japan, including Isabella Bird's 'Unbeaten tracks in Japan' (first published in 1880). Clearly inspired by Bird's travels among the indigenous Ainu people, much of this chapter is taken up with a description of the Ainu. Anderson adopts a relatively neutral tone throughout his account, but, as already described by Isabella Bird, Anderson shows that the Ainu were suffering under the direct Japanese control of the island imposed after 1869. He describes a people living in squalor, unable to practise some of their local customs, and blighted by their addiction to alcohol. Anderson was able to get a letter of introduction from an English Anglican missionary, the Rev. John Batchelor, to meet an Ainu chief Peuri who figured prominently in Bird's 'Unbeaten tracks'. Peuri would appear to have been the "Benri" described by Bird as a "superb but dissipated-looking savage". Not long after his return to Calcutta in 1886, Anderson resigned from his posts and returned to Britain, where he settled in London. He devoted the rest of his life to studying the fauna of North Africa, although for the rest of his life he was in poor health. He and his wife are buried in the Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh. In his obituary in the 'Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal' (1902) it is stated that he travelled with his wife to Japan after his retirement from his jobs in Calcutta, the existence of this account shows that in fact he made the journey before his retirement.
ShelfmarkAB.2.214.28
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on06/06/14
AuthorAnderson, James
TitleObservations on the means of exciting a spirit of national industry; chiefly intended to promote the agriculture, commerce, manufactures, and fisheries, of Scotland.
ImprintDublin : S. Price, W. and H. Whitestone,
Date of Publication1779
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first Irish printing of a work originally published in Edinburgh in 1777, which contains one of the earliest critiques of Adam Smith's recently-published "Wealth of nations". The author, James Anderson (1739-1808), was a landowner and farmer. As well as devoting himself to agricultural matters, Anderson also had a strong interest in the subject of political economy and published a large number of articles in newspapers, pamphlets and other people's publications, often using a pseudonym. In his lengthy preface to this work, he reveals that he had considered remaining anonymous but thought that it would be "a somewhat mean and disingenuous appearance to keep himself concealed". The work consists of a series of letters outlining his thoughts on the future of Scotland's economic output, with special reference to the economically depressed Highlands. Letter XIII in volume two of the "Observations" is largely devoted to arguments put forward in the "Wealth of nations". Anderson refers to Smith's "very ingenious treatise", before proceeding, very politely, to take serious issue with Smith's "entirely fallacious" thinking on aspects of Britain's Corn Laws. Smith had been critical of the existing legislation, which was designed to protect major English landholders by encouraging the export and limiting the import of corn when prices fell below a fixed point. Anderson the farmer and landowner preferred to defend the status quo. Anderson dedicated his work to the Duke of Buccleuch, a major landowner who took a keen interest in Scottish agriculture, but who also happened to be a former pupil and a patron of Adam Smith.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2783-2784
Acquired on30/04/10
AuthorAnderson, James
TitleNeues Constitutionenbuch der alten ehrwuerdigen Bruederschaft der Freimaurer
ImprintFrankfurt: In der Andreaeischen Buchhandlung
Date of Publication1743
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the second, enlarged edition of the German translation of James Anderson's "The Constitutions of the Free Masons; containing the History, Charges, Regulations, &c. of that Most Ancient and Right Worshipful Fraternity. For the Use of the Lodges", which was first published in 1723. Organised freemasonry became established in 1717 when four London lodges formed themselves into a Grand Lodge. In 1721 Anderson, himself a freemason, was asked to produce a rulebook, the Constitutions, which passed through several English editions and was translated into German. The Constitutions are based on a manuscript rulebook which existed in several handwritten copies, dealing with the masons' duties and regulations as well as the history of masonry from the creation. This edition has a beautiful folded frontispiece engraving representing the armorial sword. The sword plays an important part in Masonic ceremonial and the Grand Sword Bearer leads all processions of Grand Lodge carrying a similar sword.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2334
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on20/10/03
AuthorAnderson, James
TitleEnquiry into the nature of the Corn-Laws; With a View to the New Corn-Bill Proposed for Scotland
ImprintEdinburgh, Mrs Mundell
Date of Publication1777
LanguageEnglish
Notes8vo pp. 60 [1] author's apology, [1] blank with an inscription 'To Barond de Podmaniesky, From the Author' on the verso of the flyleaf facing the title. Yet another key text composed by a Scot that explained for the first time one of the main components of economic theory. According to Schumpeter, Anderson 'invented the 'Ricardian' theory of rent' and 'had to an unusual degree what so many economists lack, Vision'. Further praise came when in 1845, J. R. McCulloch wrote 'Though published nearly at the same time as the 'Wealth of Nations', Dr Smith, to whom they might have been of essential service, did not profit by them in revising any subsequent edition of his great work; and so completely were they forgotten, that when, in 1815, Mr Malthus and Sir Edward West published their tracts exhibiting the nature and progress of rent, they were universally believed to have, for the first time, discovered the laws by which it is governed [however] the true theory of rent had been quite as well and as satisfactorily explained by Dr Anderson in 1777 as it was by them in 1815.' Anderson was born in 1739 in Hermiston At age 15 he began working on a farm in Aberdeenshire where he invented the Scotch plough. In 1780 he took an LL.D degree at Aberdeen. In 1783 he had privately printed observations on fisheries in the West of Scotland; between 1790-1793 he edited the journal 'The Bee' which contained many informative papers on economic development. He lived in London from 1797 and died 1808.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2084
Acquired on06/10/00
AuthorAnderson, James.
TitleThe true interest of Great Britain considered.
Imprint[London?: J. Anderson]
Date of Publication1783
LanguageEnglish
NotesIn 1783 the agriculturist and political economist James Anderson (1739-1808), having already written a number of important pamphlets and articles on a wide range of subjects, turned his attention in this treatise to the regeneration of the economy in northern Scotland and the Hebrides. The printed "advertisement" at the beginning indicates that the work was written in 1782 and that plans to publish it in London the following year were initially shelved due to the British government being preoccupied with the drafting of the peace treaty to end the American War of Independence. Anderson therefore had printed a small number of copies for private circulation amongst his friends in the hope that they might provide him with some constructive comments. No place of printing is given; it is likely to have been either London, where Anderson made frequent visits and where the intended readership among the political classes for his work was based, or Edinburgh, where Anderson had moved to in 1783 after farming in Aberdeenshire for several years. In the work Anderson describes the limited possibilities for economic growth in the Highlands and urges the government to protect and subsidise the local fishing industry. He hoped that the creation of "large and populous marts" would lead to an increase in towns and villages on the Scottish coastline, which would in turn stimulate economic growth. Anderson's protectionist stance led to a temporary falling-out with his friend Jeremy Bentham, who had attempted to stop Anderson publishing the treatise. This particular copy has been bought for its copy specific features. It is printed on special thick paper and includes an extra printed dedication leaf to Henry Dundas, first Viscount Melville (1742-1811), then lord advocate and unofficial minister for Scotland, who was endeavouring to restore the fortunes of the Highlands after the damage done to the economy and social order after the Jacobite uprising of 1745/46. The leaf is not present in at least two of the two of the four recorded copies in ESTC(the British Library copy and copy held in a collection on deposit in NLS). Moreover, the work has probably been bound by one of the most celebrated Scottish bookbinders of the eighteenth century, James Scott of Edinburgh. It may have been specially commissioned by Anderson for presentation to Dundas and may have been one of Scott's last bindings, as the latest binding that has been assigned to him dates from 1784. The binding is not recorded in J.H. Loudon's work "James Scott and William Scott, Bookbinders", however the tools employed are visible on various bindings illustrated in Loudon's book: the Greek key roll on the boards, the floral roll on the boards and the urn cornerpieces.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.949
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; J. H. Loudon "James Scott and William Scott Bookbinders" (London, 1980)
Acquired on12/11/10
AuthorAnderson, William
TitleLandscape Lyrics
Imprint[London]
Date of Publication1838
LanguageEnglish
NotesWilliam Anderson (1805-1866) was born at Edinburgh. His maternal grandfather was the author of the 'Natural History of the Mineral Kingdom' and his brother John was the historian of the house of Hamilton. Apart from newspaper contributions, his first publication was 'Poetical Sketches' in 1833. By 1838 he was living in London where he moved in literary circles. Later he returned to Scotland, continuing to publish and working for Scottish newspapers. The DNB characterizes Anderson's poetry as 'generally sweet and tuneful' but 'not characterized by much merit of a literary kind'. These 'Landscape Lyrics' are typical mid-19th century verse in their style and subject. This copy, however, is of particular interest, being the author's proof copy of the first edition, without title page or plates. As the bookseller's catalogue says, 'These pleasantly messy proofs were evidently corrected currente calamo as they came off the press'. As such, they are a good example of writing and publishing practices of the period, and complement the Library's holdings of publisher's archives in this regard. A copy of the publication in its final state is at AB.8.83.5, which would make an interesting comparison.
ShelfmarkAPS.4.204.47
Reference SourcesDNB; Bookseller's catalogue.
Acquired on26/01/04
AuthorAndreini, Giovanni Battista.
TitleLa Florinda, Tragedia
ImprintMilan: Girolamo Bordone
Date of Publication1606
LanguageItalian
NotesRare first edition of this illustrated tragedy, the first work for the stage and the only tragedy by Giovanni Battista Andreini (1579-1654), regarded as the most important Italian dramatist of the 17th century. Andreini is considered especially important as a link between the Commedia dell' arte tradition, with its mixing of dialects and improvisational tendencies, and the emerging genre of opera. The tragedy is set in a Scottish forest (pictured on an illustrated plate), with the plot centering on a domestic tragedy concerning Ircano king of Scotland and his wife Florinda, countess of "Angusa" (Angus?). Tha play ends typically with a succession of suicides.
ShelfmarkRB.m.678
Acquired on07/07/08
AuthorAndrew Sharp & Sons
TitleCatalogue of Iron & Brass Bedsteads, Child's Cots, Bed Chairs, &c.
ImprintGlasgow: John F. Gourlie, Lith.
Date of Publicationc. 1900
LanguageEnglish
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.
ShelfmarkAB.10.207.07
Acquired on28/03/07
AuthorAnnan, John.
TitlePhotographs of excavations at the Roman fort of Castlecary.
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication1902
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a well-preserved album of 16 photographs of excavations along part of the Antonine Wall at Castlecary in Stirlingshire. The excavations were conducted by the Glasgow Archaeological Society from 1890 onwards. The photographer was John Annan (1862-1947), the older son of Thomas Annan (1829-1887) and a member of the family firm of photographers. John specialized in architectural photography and was known for his photographs of Glasgow slums. As a member of the Glasgow Archaeological Society, he could perhaps have taken the photos on a known excursion of the Society to the work in progress at Castlecary, between March and November 1902. These photographs are not the same as the ones used for the article published in volume 37 of the Proceedings of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries (1902-1903; the latter were taken by one of the principal participants in the excavation, Mungo Buchanan. The fort at Castlecary was one of only two defences (from a total of 15) along the 37 mile-long wall to have featured stone ramparts. The archaeological evidence suggests it was built while Agricola was governor between 77 and 84 A.D., prior to the construction of the wall during the middle of the second century. The earliest notice of the fort is probably in an anonymous letter of 1697 describing an excursion to the west of Edinburgh. Castlecary fort was plundered for stone during the construction of the Forth-Clyde Canal in 1770 and was bisected by the Edinburgh-Glasgow railway around 1840. The outer boundary was further damaged by construction of the main Glasgow to Stirling road (A80). The album was formerly owned by the Glasgow Archaeological Society and acquired at auction in 2002.
ShelfmarkPhot.la.24
Reference SourcesRobertson, Anne. The Antonine Wall. (Glasgow: Glasgow Archaeological Society, 1990) HP2.90.7857 Hanson, William S. and Maxwell, Gordon S. Rome's north west frontier: the Antonine Wall. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh Press, 1983) H3.83.2259 Christison, D., Buchanan, M. and Anderson, J. 'Excavation of Castlecary fort on the Antonine vallum' in Proceedings of the Scottish Society of Antiquaries 37 (1902-1903), p. 271-346. SCS.SASP.37
Acquired on04/04/02
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