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 735 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 735:

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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
AuthorBoyle, Robert
TitleOf the reconcileableness of specifick medicines to the corpuscular philosophy
ImprintLondon : Printed for Sam. Smith
Date of Publication1685
LanguageEnglish
NotesRobert Boyle (1627-1691) was one of the leading scientific figures of the 17th-century. He was prolific author, publishing over 40 works in his lifetime. Boyle had wide-ranging interests in theology, natural history and medicine and carried out an extensive programme of experiments in various fields. This particular work is one of his later publications on medical science, which includes a dscourse on "The advantages of the use of simple medicines".
ShelfmarkRB.s.2652
Reference SourcesESTC; DNB
Acquired on28/02/07
AuthorBoyle, Robert
TitleMedicinal experiments; or, A collection of choice remedies, for the most part simple, and easily prepared (vols. 1-3)
ImprintLondon : Printed for Sam. Smith (and J. Taylor)
Date of Publication1692-94
LanguageEnglish
NotesA collection of posthumous publications of the natural philosopher Robert Boyle (1627-91), who was a prolific author in his own lifetime but also left behind a huge amount of unpublished material. In 1688 he had a collection of medical recipes privately printed; "Medicinal experiments" was the first properly published edition in 1692, with sequels appearing thereafter. Vol. 3 in this particular book may be a piracy as it contains much of the material in vols. 1 and 2. Boyle was not impressed with some of the elaborate concoctions produced by medical practitioners of his day and the recipes in "Medicinal experiments" put the emphasis on simple practical remedies for a wide variety of ailments.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2651(1-3)
Reference SourcesESTC ; DNB
Acquired on28/02/07
AuthorBrewster, David., Somerville, Mary et al.
TitleCollection of offprints presented to or collected by James Veitch.
ImprintVarious
Date of Publication1812-1831
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a remarkable collection of nine papers written by six scientists (five of whom were Scots) during the early 19th century. What makes this collection so interesting is that all of these papers were presented to James Veitch (1771-1838), the self-educated polymath who was acquainted with these and other prominent contemporary scientists. He was also known to major public figures such as Sir Walter Scott and Francis Jeffrey, editor of the Edinburgh Review. Veitch came from Inchbonny, near Jedburgh where he made his living as a ploughwright, but he also found the time to dabble in mathematics, mechanics and astronomy. He set up a scientific workshop on the Jedburgh turnpike where he gave lessons to local educated men in these subjects. By the late 1820s he had stopped making ploughs and devoted his time to making telescopes and clocks. His customers for telescopes included Scott, the Earl of Hopetoun, the Earl of Minto, Mary Somerville and Professor Schumacher of the Altona Observatory in Germany. He was also working as the Inspector of Weights and Measures for Roxburghshire. Veitch is best known today as the man who inspired the young David Brewster (1781-1868), the inventor of the stereoscope and the kaleidoscope, to take an interest in scientific matters. With Veitch's help, Brewster had made his first telescope by the age of ten. Appropriately enough, four of the nine papers in this volume are by Brewster. There is also the first scientific paper by Jedburgh-born Mary Somerville (1780-1872). She was a leading scientific author and the first woman to have a work published in the Royal Society of London's Philosophical Transactions. The other papers are by Basil Hall, the son of the eminent geologist Sir James Hall, John Robison from Edinburgh and Alexander Rogers, who possibly came from Leith. There is also a paper by the Englishman William Hyde Wollaston, inventor of the camera lucida.
ShelfmarkRB.m.633(1-9)
Reference SourcesGordon, Margaret Maria. The home life of Sir David Brewster. Edinburgh, 1881. Clarke, T.N. et al. Brass & glass: scientific instrument making workshops in Scotland. Edinburgh, 1989.
Acquired on25/04/06
AuthorBriscoe, John
TitleFollowing proposals for, and accounts of, a National Land-Bank having been printed at London.
ImprintEdinburgh: John Mosman
Date of Publication1695
LanguageEnglish
NotesOne of the core missions of the Rare Books Division is to collect the printed output of Scotland. Of particular value are books produced in the period of Harry Aldis's bibliography of books printed in Scotland up to 1700. Although this is an Edinburgh reprint of a London title it takes one step closer to having a copy of the complete printed output of Scotland before 1700. This is a proposal for the establishment by subscription of a National Land Bank, whose assets would include the land of its subscribers. John Briscoe, the proposer of the Bank, claims that he could double the value of Freeholders estates if they subscribe to his Land Bank. To do this, he would 'turn their estates into a living stock'. Briscoe's proposals were also aimed at addressing the high interest rates that were crippling commerce in this period.
ShelfmarkRB.m.516
Reference SourcesRichard Saville, Bank of Scotland: a history (1997) (in GRR) Anon, Royal Bank of Scotland: a history (1997) (in GRR)
Acquired on02/07/01
AuthorBrulefer, Etienne
TitleReportata clarissima in quattuor sancti Bonaventure ... Sententiarum libros Scoti subtilis secundi
ImprintBasel : Jakob Wolff von Pforzheim
Date of Publication1501
LanguageLatin
NotesThree early Duns Scotus-related volumes (others at RB.s.2065, RB.s.2067), bought at the most recent sale of books from the Donaueschingen Court Library in Germany. All three volumes are in contemporary blind-stamped pigskin bindings and in fine condition. All of them bear the ink stamp of the Fuerstliche Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen on the verso of the title page, but also show earlier marks of ownership. Note: Not in Adams. A complete copy of RB.s.2067(1), with Wolff's device on the title page hand-coloured. Bound in contemporary pigskin over wooden boards, with the remains of two clasps. Both boards are decorated with blind double fillets arranged in a panel design, with the large central panel filled with lozenge-shaped compartments. The top compartment on the upper board has been stamped (probably at a later date) with the initials LCV of the Franciscan Convent at Villingen (south-west Germany). The spine has five raised bands and a paper label in the top compartment. A second, short work has been removed from the volume, leaving the lower board detached from the text block. Otherwise this, too, is a clean copy with the text in superb condition.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2066
Acquired on14/06/00
AuthorBrulefer, Etienne
TitleVenerabilis magistri fratris Stephani Brulefer ... Formalitatum textus unacum ipsius commento perlucido
ImprintBasel : Jakob Wolff von Pforzheim
Date of Publication1501
LanguageLatin
NotesThree early Duns Scotus-related volumes (others at RB.s.2065, RB.s.2066), bought at the most recent sale of books from the Donaueschingen Court Library in Germany. All three volumes are in contemporary blind-stamped pigskin bindings and in fine condition. All of them bear the ink stamp of the Fuerstliche Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen on the verso of the title page, but also show earlier marks of ownership. Bound with (in front): Brulefer, Etienne. Reportata clarissima in quattuor sancti Bonaventure ... Sententiarum libros Scoti subtilis secundi. Basel : Jakob Wolff von Pforzheim, 1501 (imperfect) Note: Following several incunable editions, this is a rare early 16th-century edition of Brulefer's Formalitates in doctrinam Scoti, printed by the Basel printer Jakob Wolff, who began his business in ca. 1489. He printed the same work again in 1507, an edition that seems to be slightly more common. (The present edition not in Adams). His large and attractive printer's device -- an angel holding the Basel coat of arms and the printer's mark -- appears on the title pages of both works in the volume. The copy is bound in contemporary blind-stamped pigskin over wooden boards with a still functioning central clasp. The binding has been assigend to an anonymous binder in Ulm who has been credited with a number of other bindings. Amongst the tools used on the binding, there is a rather unusual one of a sitting owl. The spine in four compartments, lettered in ink in the second one. The first compartment shows traces of a label. The paper is clean and fresh, and the volume generally in excellent condition.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2067(2)
Acquired on14/06/00
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