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 834 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 271 to 285 of 834:

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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 Aird
TitleAutobiography.
ImprintGlasgow: [A. Aird]
Date of Publication1899
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a privately printed autobiography of the Glasgow master printer Andrew Aird (1819-1899), printed in the year of his death and presumably for distribution to family and friends. In the brief "Autobiography" Aird gives information on his humble origins, on his beginnings in the fields of printing and literary production, with sections on his times as apprentice and as journeyman, and he writes on the books he authored, such as "Letterpress printing in Glasgow during the last fifty years", and "Reminiscences of editors, reporters, and printers, during the last sixty years". He also discusses his much longer work "Glimpses of Old Glasgow". Several of his religious works are also detailed.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.31
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on13/05/16
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
AuthorAnnan, Thomas.
TitlePhotographic views of Loch Katrine and of some of the principal works constructed for introducing the water of Loch Katrine into the city of Glasgow.
ImprintGlasgow: [Glasgow Corporation Water Works],
Date of Publication1889
LanguageEnglish
NotesLoch Katrine, a freshwater loch in the Trossach hills north of Glasgow, was identified in 1853 by John Frederick Bateman, a civil engineer employed by the Glasgow Corporation, as a potential source of clean drinking water for the city. Glasgow had in the previous fifty years suffered major cholera and typhus epidemics due to overcrowding, poor sanitation and a lack of reliable water supply for the majority of its inhabitants. Despite strong opposition, a bill was passed in the House of Lords in 1855 authorising work to go ahead on the construction of a waterworks on the loch. Four years later the works was opened by Queen Victoria; they made a substantial difference to the health of the city. They cost around 1.5 million, a huge sum for those days, but were a major source of civic pride for Glasgow. The Glasgow Corporation Water Works engaged the Glasgow-based photographer, Thomas Annan (1829-1887) to provide a photographic record of the waterworks and the various aqueduct bridges and reservoirs built to facilitate the supply of water to Glasgow, 34 miles away. "Photographic views of Loch Katrine", which consisted of 28 albumen prints by Annan, with accompanying text and in a special binding, was first published in 1877. The book was presumably a limited edition as each copy appears to have been presented by the Lord Provost and members of the Water Committee to local worthies. This is a second issue of the book, dated 1889, with a new title page and five additional prints, which are all group photographs of the Glasgow Corporation Water Commissioners on visits to the Gorbals Water Works and Loch Katrine between 1880 and 1886. As with the 1877 issue it appears to have been produced for presentation by the Lord Provost to prominent individuals. This particular copy was presented to one 'Robert Anderson', probably the local businessman and one-time bailie of Glasgow, Robert Anderson (b. 1846).
ShelfmarkPhot.med.117
Reference SourcesA. Aird, Glimpses of Old Glasgow, Glasgow, 1894 (http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/airgli/index.html)
Acquired on30/04/10
AuthorAnon
TitleBiographical sketch of Mr. Morison, the hygeist.
Imprint[London]: G. Taylor
Date of Publication[1837?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 8-page pamphlet is about James Morison (1770-1840), pill manufacturer, originally Bognie, Aberdeenshire. Morison claimed to have suffered incessant poor health until his fifties, which doctors were unable to cure and which eventually led him to develop his "Universal Vegetable Pill" in the 1820s. He sold his pills through a network of agents and local retailers throughout Europe and the USA. After a series of sudden deaths attributed to his pills, Morison having advocated taking his pills in large doses, he moved to Paris in 1834. Despite this setback affecting sales of his pills he continued to market his product aggressively, this being one of a series of pamphlets he produced, which includes a portrait of the man himself.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.21
Acquired on29/01/16
AuthorAnon
TitleThe business man's note-book for the year 1856.
ImprintEdinburgh: James Hogg
Date of Publication1855
LanguageEnglish
NotesA proof copy of an elaborate forerunner of the 'Filofax', printed for the publisher James Hogg (1806-1888), the son of James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. It contains folding coloured maps and metal volvelle on the inside board which is a perpetual calendar. The proof copy was probably produced to attract orders and as a form of advertising. Hogg jnr. in his preface states that "the aim of this work is to produce in one volume at once a kalender [sic], diary, and commercial directory, specially adapted to the wants of business men." Only one copy of the final version for 1856 is recorded, in the 1874 Advocates Library catalogue, but that is now recorded as missing. This particular copy is described as 'incomplete' at the head of the title page, as it has blank space left for advertisements and two fewer maps than listed in the contents. Moreover, the concluding paragraph mentions that an additional 60 pages were planned as a continuation of the statistical notices of the governments of the world; as a fellow of the Statistical Society of London, this was no doubt a subject close to Hogg's heart. A notebook for 1857 was published but in 1858 Hogg closed his Edinburgh firm down and re-located to London and the "Business man's note-book" was not revived by him there.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.127
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on25/09/15
AuthorAnon
TitleThe wandering piper.
ImprintNewcastle: Douglas and Kent
Date of Publication1833
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded, illustrated broadside, printed in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1833, which gives details of the 'Wandering Piper', who roamed throughout Britain and Ireland in the 1820 and 1830s. There are several contemporary accounts of the piper in provincial newspapers, one of which, from the Bury & Norwich Post, for November 21, 1832, describes him as follows: "He is a tall figure, and his air and carriage evidently indicate a rank superior to his occupation, in spite of the disguise of a carroty wig, a pair of green spectacles, and a shabby Highland costume. He has now piped in every market-town in the three kingdoms, except a few in Suffolk, Lincoln, York, Durham and Northumberland, all of which he must visit before next February. During his ramble he has given upwards of 700 l. [] to different charities." Some newspaper accounts speak of him as a former Scottish army officer who served in the Napoleonic Wars, who in 1825 accepted a bet with a Frenchman with whom he had been to school with in Scotland, to see how much money he could raise through busking in every town in Britain and Ireland. Other newspapers dismiss the story of the wager as bogus. Whatever his motivation, there seems to have been no attempt by the piper to profit personally from his playing. As the Newcastle broadside states, "when playing in the streets he endeavours to observe the strictest disguise; he never stands nor solicits money, but receives any sum that is given him." All the money he received was distributed to local charities once he covered his own board and lodgings. The piper's travels only began in earnest in 1828, with the intention being that he would travel for three years and total up how much money he had raised. However, a stage coach accident in Ireland left him incapacitated for over 15 months, which meant that by early 1833 he still had not finished his epic journey. The broadside reports his arrival in Newcastle on January 21, 1833 and notes that he only has six more towns to play in, with Glasgow being his final destination. Along with the broadside this copy also contains a handwritten note from the piper himself, dated January 3, 1833. Addressed to the mayor of Durham, the piper requests permission to play his pipes through the streets of Durham, and stresses that he does not solicit money and that any money he receives goes to charity. The note is signed 'The Wandering Piper/Address Captain Stuart'. The identity of 'Captain Stuart' and why he went to the lengths of wearing a forerunner of a wig and tinted spectacles to disguise himself, remain a mystery to this day. He may have worn Highland costume but in the portrait of the piper on the broadside he appears to be playing Lowland, bellows-blown, pipes rather than the Highland pipes traditionally played by pipe bands in Scotland and throughout the world today. Although the broadside states that the piper was "heartily tired of his frolic", no sooner had he finished his British and Irish travels than he was off to the USA and Canada, where he continued to travel and raise money. He returned to Britain in 1837 and continued to play. A Dublin newspaper records a 'Graham Stuart' dying in Dublin on February 17, 1839, worn out by his travels.
ShelfmarkRB.l.287
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on20/11/15
AuthorAnon
TitleThe song of Solomon
ImprintLondon: Guild of Women Binders
Date of Publication1897
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis book is bound in a modelled goatskin medieval-style binding popularised by Scottish women binders of the late 19th century. The technique was developed by Annie MacDonald (d. 1924) who along with a few other women in Edinburgh had begun binding books in the 1890s. Walter Biggar Blaikie (whose collection of Jacobite-related books and manuscripts is now in NLS) of the publishers A. & J. Constable let them use his workshops after hours. From 1895 two of Constable's workmen, a finisher and a forwarder, taught the group of women in premises owned by Edinburgh Social Union. MacDonald tried various types of leather for modelled bindings but found that natural goatskin, before any curing processes, could be moulded as she wanted. The modelling was done after the book itself was covered in the goatskin. It involved neither cutting nor raising the leather to relief. The design was traced onto the dampened leather and worked with one small tool called a 'Dresden', which was used to carefully press the background and mould the relief design. Using glue rather than paste to cover the books, the leather was a pale ivory when completed which developed into a richer brown once aged. The work of MacDonald and the other Edinburgh-based women inspired London bookseller Frank Karslake to found of the Guild of Women Binders in 1898 as an outlet for the sale of work by women binders who lived outside London, including the Edinburgh women. Karslake advertised a series of books specially printed for the Guild on Japanese vellum and bound by Guild members, including 'The Song of Solomon', which was one of 100 numbered copies (this particular copy being number 31). A pencil note on the front free endpaper, "worker Mrs MacDonald", would seem to indicate that it was done by Annie MacDonald herself. However, the 1900 Sotheby's catalogue of bindings done by the Guild of Women binders reveals that there were at least two separate "embossed mediaeval morocco" bindings of the Japanese vellum printing of the 'Song of Solomon'. One was done by Annie MacDonald, "the design adapted from the cover-design", and one by a "Miss Pagan", "the designs adapted from the illustrations". An Annie MacDonald binding for the 'Song of the Solomon' which is now held in Duke University Library, is reproduced in Marianne Tidcombe's "Women bookbinders 1880-1920" p. 98. The Duke University binding is a likely match for the one described in the Sotheby's catalogue as having done by Annie MacDonald, given that it resembles the cover of the regular 1897 edition of the 'Song of Solomon' published by Chapman and Hall. It is possible that she did more than one binding of this particular edition; but the design for this particular binding is adapted from the illustrations within the book, not the cover of the regular edition, and would seem to correspond to Miss Pagan's binding. The design on the front board is based on the art-nouveau style illustrations in the book by Herbert Granville Fell (1872-1951), along with a quote from the Song of Solomon as a decorative border : "Many waters cannot quench love neither can the floods drown it. Love is strong as death". The back board contains the ownership initials "H.F.C. 1898". "Miss Pagan" may be Jean Pagin, who was one of the women binders associated with Edinburgh Social Union, the main amateur arts and crafts organisation in the city (Tidcombe also mentions in an appendix to her book the existence of a binder called Jeannie E. Pagan but this may be same person as Jean Pagin). The turn-in on the front board simply records in gilt lettering that this binding is by the Guild of Women Binders. What is notable is that this copy has normal paper endpapers, where in other modelled bindings silk endpapers were used because the goatskin tended to stain both paper and vellum - as has happened in this copy. Inserted in this copy is a printed advertisement slip for the Guild of Women Binders describing this style of binding as a "revival of the mediaeval monastic binding".
ShelfmarkBdg.m.176
Reference SourcesM. Tidcombe, 'Women bookbinders 1880-1920', London, 1996.
Acquired on28/03/14
AuthorAnon
TitleA Scottish penny wedding
ImprintBelfast: Simms and M'Intyre
Date of Publication1840?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis Belfast-printed broadside contains a large wood engraving printed from nine individual blocks. It shows a lively wedding scene in a barn with bride and groom dancing to fiddle music and guests eating and drinking. There were three sorts of wedding in Scotland in the early half of the 19th-century: the free wedding, where only a few select friends were invited and the guests were not to be the cause of any expense; the dinner wedding, where a dinner was provided by the marriage party; and the penny wedding (also known as the penny bridal), where each guest contributed financially or by way of food towards the dinner and then paid for their own drink, and which by the end of the festivities (which could go on for several days) could bring in a tidy profit for the newly-weds. This latter type of wedding was particularly common across rural Scotland, despite the disapproval of the Kirk. The three-column poem printed beneath the illustration is 'Twas on the morn of sweet May-day' also known as 'Jockey to the fair', a wedding-themed song often appearing in 18th- and 19th-century chapbooks.
ShelfmarkAP.el.214.02
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on28/02/14
AuthorAnon
TitleEpistle to the deil by Holy Willie of Prussia. Second edition.
ImprintGlasgow: J. Biggar & Co.
Date of Publication[1871]
LanguageScots
NotesAnonymous satirical poem in Scots supposedly by "Holy Willie of Prussia" (German Emperor Wilhelm I)addressed to the devil "dear Nickie-ben". It refers to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, which led to the defeat of France and the proclamation of King Wilhelm of Prussia as the first German emperor. The poem is written in the style of Robert Burns, and is followed by a full-page appendix "concerning Were-wolves", and a five-page glossary of Scotticisms. The author is clearly anti-Prussian as one verse runs: "Now just confess: through France I've trod O'er men, wives, weans, knee-deep, in blood; On right and justice trampl'd rough-shod, Until they're dead; And when I've blamed a' this on God, Are you no paid?" The author also gets a dig in at Thomas Carlyle, "the psalmist dour of Prussia's course", who was an admirer of German culture and who had written a history of Frederick the Great of Prussia. A contemporary manuscript note at end of poem (p.26) records one reader's dislike of the poem: "one of those thousand jingling dilettante whose jingle dies with the moment of its birth - ". No copy of this edition is recorded on COPAC, and the only other copies traced are published in London.
ShelfmarkAP.1.214.35
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorAnon
TitleNoticia e Circunstancias da Felicissima hora, em que a Senhora Rainha da Grao Bretanha deu a luz o suspirado Principe de Gales, herdeiro dos Reynos de Inglaterra, Escocia, & Irlada.
ImprintLisbon: Na Officina de Miguel Manescal
Date of Publication1688
LanguagePortuguese
NotesThis is rare Portuguese newsletter, dated 16 August 1688, which reports the birth of James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales (the Old Pretender, 1688-1766), son of the James VII/II and his second wife Mary of Modena. The pamphlet describes events relating to the birth of the Prince, the baptism, diplomatic responses and the celebrations. 4 months after the publication of this newsletter James fled London on the approach of an army led by William of Orange, never to return to his capital.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2910
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on19/12/14
AuthorAnon
TitleThe history and love adventures of Roswal and Lillian
ImprintGlasgow: J. & M. Robertson
Date of Publication1788
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded Glasgow printing of a Scottish verse romance "Roswal and Lillian". The tale appears to be medieval in origin, and concerns Roswal(l) a prince of Naples who is forced into exile by his father, but who eventually finds love in his new home and marries the king's daughter Lillian. Sir Walter Scott records hearing the song sung in his youth in Edinburgh sung by an old person wandering through the streets. The first recorded printing of the work was in Edinburgh in 1663, there are then four recorded editions in the second half of the 18th century, printed in Newcastle and Edinburgh. The printers of this Glasgow edition, James and Matthew Robertson, were two of the principal printers of chapbooks in Scotland from 1782 onwards. From at least 1777 they were publishing children's books, most of which are reprints of titles published by John Newbery of London. They also imported them from England.
ShelfmarkAP.1.215.14
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes, Scottish Book Trade Index
Acquired on06/03/15
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