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 752 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 286 to 300 of 752:

Ordered by author
Order by title | Order by date acquired
AuthorBembo, Pietro
TitlePetri Bembi Cardinalis viri clariss. Rerum Venetarum historiae libri XII.
ImprintLutetiae [Paris]: Ex officina Michaelis Vascosani, via Jacobea ad insigne Fontis
Date of Publication1551
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is a fine addition to the National Library's holdings of books with important early Scottish provenance. The book itself is important, the history of Venice by Pietro Bembo (1470-1547), the famous Italian scholar and churchman. The library has two other copies of this finely-printed volume (Nha.B188, BCL.B3451), but both are imperfect, whereas this is complete, including the folding plates at the end. However, this donation is particularly important because it was owned by at least three well-known sixteenth-century Scots. The title-page is inscribed 'Adamus Episcopus Orchaden[sis]' - this is Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney (c. 1526-1593), the bishop who joined the reformers and whose extensive library has been recorded. On folio 1 and on the verso of folio 311 is the inscription 'Hen. Sinclar' - this is Henry Sinclair (1508-1565), Bishop of Ross and another known collector of books, who wrote additions to Boece's History of Scotland. On the recto following the title-page is the inscription 'W Santclair of roislin knecht', which also appears on the verso of folio 311. This is William Sinclair, who succeeded to the estates of Roslin in 1554 (see Lawlor, p.95). The Sinclairs of Roslin are one of the more famous Scottish families, associated in popular memory with Rosslyn Chapel which they founded. It seems likely that the book came to Henry Sinclair soon after it was printed, then passed to William Sinclair, and then into the library of Adam Bothwell. On the cover is the date 'Aug. 18, 1593', five days before Bothwell's death. More recently, the book has the bookplate of Arthur Kay designed by Kate Cameron. The existence of this copy was known, as it appeared for sale in 1814 and 1968 (recorded in our interleaved copy of Durkan & Ross). It is very satisfying to finally add it to the national collections.
ShelfmarkRB.m.508
Reference SourcesDurkan & Ross, Early Scottish Libraries Cherry, 'Library of Henry Sinclair', Bibliotheck 4 (1963), no. 1 Lawlor, H. J., 'Notes on the library of the Sinclairs of Rosslyn', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1898
Acquired on24/07/03
AuthorBentham, Jeremy
TitleScotch Reform
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1807
LanguageEnglish
NotesA presentation copy, with the note in the author's hand, of the 1807 printing of this important work. This copy is in good condition and complete with both large folding tables. The Library currently holds only an imperfect copy (wanting tables) of the 1808 printing, the first which was actually published. Bentham, the political philosopher who has come to be known as one of the founders of utilitarianism, wrote this work in favour of reforming the Scottish legal system as a series of letters. Clearly written and full of detail and practical examples, his proposals relate in particular to the workings of juries and appeal courts.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2096
Reference SourcesChuo University Library, Bibliographical Catalogue of the Works of Jeremy Bentham, Tokyo: 1989, S1-1 The Bentham Project http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Bentham-Project/index.htm
Acquired on12/03/02
AuthorBible
TitleLa Bible qui est toute la saincte escriture du Vieil & du Nouveau Testament
ImprintLa Rochelle: Imprimerie de H. Haultin par Corneille Hertman
Date of Publication1616
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is a rare, finely printed and illustrated French Protestant bible from La Rochelle with an interesting early Scottish provenance. The bible, printed in small Roman type, imitates the great Estienne folio Bibles of the previous century. All Protestant printing of this period in France is rare as it was expressly forbidden by the edict of Nantes except in those provincial towns where Protestantism was allowed. After the siege of La Rochelle in 1627-28 during the Protestant revolt Protestant bibles were preserved in France clandestinely. This bible is bound in a contemporary red morocco which may be in a French binding style but the somewhat cruder material and execution may point to it being Scottish. The marks of provenance indicate that it belonged to the Wemyss family in Scotland and in particular to one or two women in the family. There are three inscriptions in two 17th-century hands: "Jean Wemyss" on front free end-paper, "Janna Wemyss" in the same hand on the following leaf, "Forfar" on verso of title page in different hand. "L I W" is blind-stamped at centre of front and back boards of the binding. The Jean/Janna Wemyss inscribed on the free endpapers is either Jean Gray (d. 1640), the wife of John Wemyss, 1st Earl of Wemyss (1586-1649), or her granddaughter, Lady Jean Wemyss (d. 1715), eldest daughter of David Wemyss, second earl of Wemyss. Lady Jean Wemyss' eldest son was Archibald Douglas, who became 1st Earl of Forfar in 1661, which could explain the "Forfar" inscription on the verso of the title page.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2899
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorBible. N.T. Ephesians
TitleThe epistle of Paul to the Ephesians.
ImprintEdinburgh: James Gall
Date of Publicationc. 1837
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Library, thanks to the donation of a collection of the Royal Blind Asylum and School in Edinburgh in 1989, has a good collection of early printing done for the blind in Scotland. One of the key figures in this field was the Edinburgh printer and publisher James Gall (c. 1784-1874). While visiting Paris in 1825, Gall saw examples of embossed type books for the blind and decided to design a script which could be used by blind and sighted people alike. He introduced his Gall Type in 1827; its triangular forms were regarded as being more easily discernible by touch than existing rounded types. Capital letters were excluded, meaning that there were only 26 characters to be learnt. The Gospel by St. John for the blind (Edinburgh, 1834) was the first major work to be printed in Gall's type. In 1835 he founded the School for Blind Children at Craigmillar Park, which adopted his tactile alphabet. This particular book, of which only one other copy, in the British Library, is recorded, is a fine example of printing from Gall's press on Niddry Street. It is in its original binding and the label reveals that the book was printed "on the largest type" and cost one shilling and sixpence.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2822
Acquired on20/05/11
AuthorBillings, Robert William
TitleBaronial and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Scotland
ImprintEdinburgh & London: William Blackwood & Sons
Date of Publicationn.d.
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unusual version of the first edition of Billings' magnum opus, a wide-ranging and thoughtful alphabetical discussion of notable early churches, castles and towers in Scotland, with engravings of the author's own detailed drawings. The engravers include some notable figures including John Sad(d)ler; see Rodney K. Engen, Dictionary of Victorian Engravers, Print Publishers and their Works, Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey, 1979. The printing seems to have been completed in 1852 (the author's'introduction is dated 29 February 1852), although the 240 plates are dated 1847-1848. The National Library already has sets of the first standard edition (shelfmark NE.18.a.34, now rather worn and in need of rebinding; Hist.S.80.B) and of the 1908 version edited by A. W. Wiston-Glynn (shelfmark X.8.b). Like the standard edition, this set is in four volumes, but it is printed in large folio. There do not appear to be any text or plates different to the standard edition, but the plates are positioned differently and are in superior condition due to being printed on fine India paper. A curious feature is that throughout the volumes, one can find the occasional standard-size page inlaid in the folio, rather than printed on the larger paper. The large paper is foxed in places. A manuscript note on the inside of the front cover of the first volume states 'Blackwoods Copy La Folio India Paper Proofs Bt from Brunton 1971'. There does not appear to be other evidence for this, and Blackwood is not mentioned in the list of subscribers to the available versions described as 'Folio proofs and etchings' and 'India proofs'. Bound in blue cloth, with gold lettering. See DNB for Billings.
ShelfmarkFB.el.127
Acquired on09/11/00
AuthorBinning, Hugh, 1627-1653
TitleMr. Hugo Binnnings Predikatien, over dese texten; I Johannis 1 en I Johannis 2
ImprintAmsterdam : Joh. Boekholt
Date of Publication1690
LanguageDutch
NotesRare first (?) Dutch edition of Scottish Presbyterian author Binning's "Fellowship with God, or 28 Sermons on the 1st epistle of John chapters 1 & 2", first published in Edinburgh in 1671. Although Binning never visited Holland during his short life, his works clearly had a deep impact on Protestant theologians in the country, judging by the the number of editions of his works that appeared in Dutch during the 17th and 18th centuries. Not found in HPB or OCLC
ShelfmarkRB.s.2326
Acquired on26/05/04
AuthorBlackwood, Adam, ed.
TitleDe Iezabelis Anglae parricido [sic] varii generis poemata Latina et Gallica.
Imprint[Paris : s.n.]
Date of Publication1587-88
LanguageLatin, French, Italian
NotesThis is a very rare collection of poems in Latin, French and Italian verse lamenting the execution of Mary Queen of Scots in 1587 and attacking Queen Elizabeth and Anne Boleyn. It was probably edited, and partly written, by Mary's Scottish biographer Adam Blackwood. The poems are signed only by initials and were evidently assembled and issued in a number of different forms and arrangements, and were surreptitiously published in the years 1587 to 1588. The first six verses were evidently the first produced, and were also issued separately in quarto but in a different setting, again without title-page (only two copies of this earlier, smaller edition are known: in the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbuettel and in the BL). Some five poems appear only here, among the second sequence of poems, which was presumably issued some time in 1588. Four of the poems in this collection appear in the second (1588) edition of Adam Blackwood's most famous work "Martyre de la Royne d' Ecosse". The third edition of "Martyre de la Royne d' Ecosse", a substantially larger collection of poems, shares 24 poems with the present volume. "De Iezabelis Anglae parricido" is a mixture of elegaic poems for the executed Scottish queen and savage attacks on Elizabeth and her mother Anne Boleyn (the latter is referred to as a 'barbarr putain' [barbarous whore]); anagrams of Mary Stuart and Elizabeth Tudor draw appropriate moral praise or censure, and the French audience is whipped up by the poem 'Exhortation au peuple de France sur le trespas de la Royne d' Ecosse'. The editor of the collection Blackwood (1539-1613) was born in Dunfermline and studied in Paris, where his education was in part funded by Mary. He was appointed by her as counsellor to the parliament of Poitiers (part of her marriage settlement to the dauphin Francois), and was said to have visited Mary during in her captivity in England. Blackwood's pro-Mary propaganda had a major influence on subsequent French and Scottish national histories of the 17th century.
ShelfmarkRB.m.693
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on11/11/09
AuthorBlackwood, Adam.
TitleDe principis Augustissimi Francisci Ducis Guisiani obitu. Paris, 1563 BOUND WITH Blackwood, Adam. In Novae Religionis Asseclas Carmen Invenctium Ad virum illustrissimum & 9 Others
ImprintParis
Date of Publication1563
LanguageLatin
NotesIt is unusual to acquire eleven mid-16th Century poems printed in Paris most of which have survived in one or two copies only. Bound together in late 17th-century sheepskin, this collection of separately printed short poetical pieces covers a range of subjects including the deaths of Henri II, the Duke of Guise and Nicholas Boileau. The principal interest to the National Library is the inclusion of two neo-Latin poems by Adam Blackwood (1539-1613). Educated at Paris University, Blackwood acquired considerable prowess in the composition of Latin poetry and enjoyed the patronage of Robert Reid, Bishop of Orkney (his great-uncle) and, most famously, Mary Queen of Scots. He is best remembered for his Apologia pro Regibus of 1581 which confronted George Buchanan's justification for Regicide, in certain circumstances, and his Martyre de la Reyne d'Ecosse of 1587 which described the harsh treatment accorded Mary Stewart during her long imprisonment in England. Blackwood was a frequent visitor to Mary during her imprisonment and his name will always be linked to her. The first of the poems in this volume is on the death of Mary's maternal Uncle, Francois, Duke of Guise at the hands of a Hugenot assassin in 1563 and the second criticises the Protestant religion and ends with a series of short verses, including four epigrams, to Mary, James Beaton, Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, Walter Reid, Abbot of Kinloss, John Reid, John Sinclair, Dean of Restalrig and his own brother Henry Blackwood. Provenance: 1. Contemp ink signature on title of no. 1 'P. Jamisier'; Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland (1674-1722); by descent to Dukes of Marlborough, with Blenheim Palace shelfmarks in ink 'D.8.112' and pencil '91 F.13' thence through the sale rooms Sunderland Library Sale, Sotheby's 1881-1883, lot 10,046. 2. Theological Institute of Connnecticut, with oval blindstamp at the beginning and end. 3. Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, with bookplates of The Woodruff Collection and Pitts Theology Library.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2086
Acquired on24/10/00
AuthorBlair, Hugh, 1718-1800.
TitleHugo Blair's Vorlesungen uber Rhetorik und Shone Wissenshaften.
ImprintLeignitz und Leipzig: Bey David Siegert
Date of Publication1785 - 1798
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is a handsome four-volume copy of the scarce first German translation, by K. G. Schreiter, of Hugh Blairís Lectures on Rhetoric. Blairís popular Lectures held and important place in the Scottish Enlightenment canon and were read in the University of Edinburgh for over twenty years. They were originally designed for the initiation of youth in the study of belles lettres and composition.
ShelfmarkAB.2.205.018
Acquired on11/04/05
AuthorBlair, James Law
Title[Photographs taken by James Law Blair in and around Bandawe when employed by the African Lakes Company circa 1900.]
Date of Publication1900?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe volume contains 132 black and white photographs. Bandawe settlement was funded from Glasgow on a commercial/evangelical basis. It was then called Nyasaland but is now Malawi. The African Lakes Corporation was a British company originally set-up in 1877 by Scottish businessmen to co-operate with missions in what is now Malawi. Despite its original connections with the Free Church of Scotland, it operated its businesses in Africa on a commercial rather than a philanthropic basis, and it had political ambitions in the 1880s to control part of Central Africa. Its businesses in the colonial era included water transport on the lakes and rivers of Central Africa, wholesale and retail trading including the operation of general stores, labour recruitment and landowning.
ShelfmarkPhot.med.125
Acquired on09/05/14
AuthorBlaxland, Gregory.
TitleJournal of a tour of discovery across the Blue Mountains, New South Wales in the year 1813.
ImprintAngus & Robertson: Sydney
Date of Publication1893.
LanguageEnglish
NotesA line for line reproduction of the rare original edition of 1823 which recounts the first European crossing of the Blue Mountains in 1813 and the discovery of the pastures to the west of the ranges.
ShelfmarkGB/A.3616
Acquired on06/09/01
AuthorBoswell, James
TitleBicentenary edition of Pitman's extra illustrated Boswell's Johnson
ImprintIsaac Pitman & Sons
Date of Publication1909
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis edition of Boswell's Johnson was published in twenty weekly instalments beginning on Saturday September 18, 1909 and finishing on Saturday January 29th, 1910. The text is supplemented by the inclusion of over 560 illustrations offering information on people, places, documents and events associated with the narrative. The National Library's copy of this edition is notable for two reasons. Firstly, all twenty of the individually published parts are accounted for. Secondly, all of the front and back paper wrappers are present and in excellent condition.
ShelfmarkH8.202.0878
Acquired on15/04/02
AuthorBourne, Samuel (1834-1912) and other photographers
TitleAlbum of Photographs of India, Burma, and the Andaman Islands
Date of Publication1863-1899
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn important group of early photographs assembled between 1850 and 1867 by James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, and his son Victor Alexander Bruce, the 9th Earl, providing a visual record of the distinguished careers of the two earls as diplomats, military strategists, and politicians in India and the Far East. The four Elgin albums form a valuable source for the study of colonial and imperialist expansion, global commercial travel, and, not least, the rapid growth of commercial photography. The purchase was made possible by generous contributions from the Heritage Lottery Fund (National Heritage Memorial Fund) and the National Art Collections Fund.
ShelfmarkPhot.la.13
Acquired on08/02/00
AuthorBoutcher, William.
TitleA treatise on forest-trees.
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed by R. Fleming, and sold by the author,
Date of Publication1775
LanguageEnglish
NotesWilliam Boutcher was a Scottish nurseryman, who had premises at Comely Bank, Edinburgh (his father, William Boutcher, senior, had also been a nurseryman and leading garden designer). "A treatise on forest trees" was his first printed work, dedicated to the Duke of Buccleuch, and was financed by subscription. Boutcher notes in his preface, concerning the subscribers, "the quality, if not the number of those, does me honour, as I can boast of many of the greatest and most respectable names in the kingdom". These names included most of the Scottish land-owning aristocracy. A number of copies for the subscribers were bound by the leading Scottish bookbinder of his day, James Scott of Edinburgh. The Library already four copies, all with different designs, of Scott bindings for this book; this is another example. The boards have a roll-pattern used by Scott from 1775 onwards (Loudon Ro16 (1775)) and the botanical ornaments on the spine recall a tool used by Scott used in other bindings (Loudon Bo.46a). This copy has an early 19th-century heraldic bookplate of Sir James Montgomery Bart. of Stanhope (1721-1803), lord chief baron of the Scottish exchequer who became a baronet in 1801, two years before his death. Montgomery took a keen interest in the science of agriculture and subscribed for two copies of the book.
ShelfmarkBdg.m.172
Reference SourcesJ.H. Loudon, "James and William Scott, bookbinders" (NY, 1980)
Acquired on03/06/11
AuthorBoylan, Grace Duffie
TitleIf Tam o'Shanter'd had a wheel
ImprintNew York: E. R. Herrick
Date of Publication1898
NotesBoylan (1862-1935) was a writer for the Chicago Journal, as well as a poet and novelist. This collection of writings includes poems on religion and social justice as well as short stories set in many lands. The short heroic poem 'The Cuban Amazon' celebrates Inez Cari, the black woman who led a Cuban revolt against Spain. The title of the volume comes from the first poem, which whimsically re-writes Robert Burns's famous poem, imagining instead a young man on a bicycle pursuing a witch-like lady also on two wheels. The scene is depicted on the front cover, with a cyclist in tartan and witches and bats in the background. This acquisition suggests the influence of Burns on radical American literature.
ShelfmarkAB.2.206.003
Acquired on06/06/05
Important Acquisitions - page no. 1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     27     28     29     30     31     32     33     34     35     36     37     38     39     40     41     42     43     44     45     46     47     48     49     50     51