Important acquisitions

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Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 864 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 346 to 360 of 864:

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AuthorBlind Hary
TitleThe acts and deeds of the most famous and valiant champion Sir William Wallace, Knight of Ellerslie.
ImprintEdinburgh : [s.n.]
Date of Publication1648 [1758]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis copy of an 18th-century printed edition of Blind Har(r)y's famous poem of William Wallace contains an apparently unique survival of a variant title page for an edition actually published in 1758. The 1758 edition, some copies of which were apparently issued without a title page, does not give any indication of the bookseller or printer. The most likely explanation of this, as is indicated in a manuscript note in one of the Library copies of the 1758 edition, is that sheets were actually printed in Edinburgh by Robert Freebairn, the former King's Printer, over 40 years previously in 1714 or 1715. Freebairn chose to join the failed Jacobite uprising in Scotland in 1715, acting as the printer for the 'Old Pretender' in Perth. One consequence of this decision was that the sheets for his printing of Blind Harry's poem were impounded in a warehouse until 1758 when they were finally bound up and sold, either without title page or with an imprint bearing the date 1758 (there are also two copies recorded with an imprint date of 1757). This particular copy is a further variant, with the imprint date printed as 'MDCXLVIII' (1648). There was indeed a 1648 printing of the Blind Harry's poem in Edinburgh by Gideon Lithgow, but in a different format. The only explanation for this date is an error on the printer's part. A previous owner has tried to erase the offending 'X' from the imprint date, perhaps intending to write in a 'C' in its place, but seems to have given up quite quickly with the result that the false date is still clearly visible.
ShelfmarkAB.2.216.11
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on27/05/16
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
AuthorBoursalt, Edme, (1638-1701)
TitleMarie Stuard, Reine d'Ecosse, Tragedie.
ImprintParis: Jean Guignard
Date of Publication1691
LanguageFrench
NotesThe first edition of this remarkable addition to the canon of French Mary studies: a hot-blooded re-imagining of the life and execution of the Queen of Scots. Thought to be the earliest surviving work to contain the wholly fictional meeting between Elizabeth I and Mary. Boursault's tragedy is able to count its place in a certain lineage of French Mary plays, beginning with Montchrestien (1601) and Regnault (1634) and extending well into the 19th century. Like its predecessors, Marie Stuard amply reflects the age in which it was written: the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1683 (the year in which Boursault's play was first performed) officially ended the toleration of Huguenots, somewhat explaining his extreme vilification of Elizabeth and his tendency to idealize Mary. Nevertheless, Paulson et al. find it to be of significant theatrical and historical value. The plot of Montchrestien's play seems relatively simple and Reganult's shows scarcely much more complexity. Boursault, utilizing a novelesque approach and profiting from the advancements in theatrical technique, presents a complex series of intrigues... Norfolk's love affair with Mary, Morray's hatred of his sister and love of Elizabeth, Newcastle's betrayal of Norfolk and the abandonment and betrayal of Elizabeth add life and interest to the play. We feel that for this reason alone, it would be interesting and rewarding for Marie Stuard to be performed by a modern repertory group, which would revive Boursault's work from an unjust oblivion. Boursault is also guilty, however, of severe historical anachronisms, the least among them the inclusion of characters killed long before Mary's execution (Norfolk and Morray). Far more glaring, however, is the entirely made-up personal meeting between Elizabeth and Mary  an episode which enjoyed an important and enduring legacy, as Paulson et al. point out.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2908
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes. M.G. Paulson, The Queens' encounter: the Mary Stuart anachronism in dramas by Diamante, Boursault, Schiller, and Donizetti, New York: Lang, 1987
Acquired on16/01/15
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
AuthorBrehm, Alfred Edmund
TitleBrehms Tierleben. Allgemeine Kunde des Tierreichs
ImprintLeipzig / Wien: Bibliographisches Institut
Date of Publication1890-1893
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the third and entirely revised edition of Alfred Brehm's famous Tierleben or 'The life of animals' of 1890-1893. One of its most attractive features is the fact that it is beautifully illustrated - there are in fact 1800 illustrations, 9 maps and 180 coloured lithographs. Alfred Edmund Brehm (1829-1884) first followed in the footsteps of his famous ornithologist father Christian Ludwig Brehm, but soon expanded his field of interest to include all classes and species of animals. After a five year exploration of Africa, Brehm studied natural sciences in Jena from 1853 to 1855. He published the first edition of his Illustrirtes Thierleben in 6 volumes between 1864 and 1869. In 1999 Brehm's Tierleben was made available on 4 CDs. It is still the standard reference work on the life of animals in German. It deals with mammals (vol. 1-3), birds (vol. 4-6), reptiles and amphibians (vol. 7), fish (vol. 8), insects (vol. 9) and articulates (vol. 10). Although this third edition was published six years after Brehm's death and incorporated new scientific evidence, the editor E. Pechuel-Loesche saw it as his duty to retain Brehm's original structure and overall conception because it had been so successful in the frst place. The NLS currently has no copies of the original German text, only a Russian translation (1896-1903) and Brehm's zoological atlas, which contains a collection of the illustrations from the Tierleben. The only other copy of the 10 volume set (wanting the index volume) is available at Edinburgh University Library, with other holdings largely concentrated in the British Library and the Wellcome Library.
ShelfmarkAB.4.203.04
Reference SourcesLeibniz-Rechenzentrum der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften: Lexica und Wissensportale Geschichte, Verlage, Texte.
Acquired on03/03/03
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
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
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
AuthorBuchanan, George
TitleBaptistes, sive calumnia tragoedia
ImprintEdinburgi: Apud Henricum Charteris
Date of Publication1578
LanguageLatin
NotesOne of four items acquired from the sale of the library of the eminent historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, Lord Dacre (1914-2003), which included a substantial number of early modern Scottish items. This volume is an important acquisition for three reasons: it represents a rare opportunity to add to the Library's collection of pre-1600 Scottish imprints; it is an addition to our holdings of the writer and political figure George Buchanan; and it is a fascinating document of early modern book ownership. This edition of Buchanan's Latin biblical drama about John the Baptist has an Edinburgh imprint, but apart from the title page it is identical to one produced in the same year by the London printer Thomas Vautrollier - Durkan lists both as item 62 in his Buchanan bibliography. The name on the Edinburgh imprint is that of Henry Charteris, who was a bookseller as well as a printer, so he may well have imported copies of the London edition for the Scottish market. Relatively few copies of books with Charteris' imprint survive, and there are many gaps in the Library's holdings of them from this decade, so even in its imperfect state (lacking 14 out of 64 pages) this item is a valuable addition to the Library's holdings of early Scottish books (ESTC S116192; Aldis 147). Baptistes is the second of four works by Buchanan bound together in one volume, with many contemporary notes and inscriptions . The works were produced over a period of 20 years and come from a variety of European cities, while the owners were English or Scottish. However, it is difficult to ascertain the chronological order of these early owners, and at what point the items were placed together. The other three items are: Euripidis poetae tragici Alcestis... (Argentorati: Josias Rihelius, 1567), Buchanan's translation into Latin of Eurpides' play; Georgi Buchanani Scoti Franciscanus et fratres... (Geneva: Petrus Sanctandreanus, 1584), a collection of his secular poetry; Sphaera (Herbornae: Christophori Coruini, 1587), an unfinished cosmological poem. These items may simply have been bound together because of their similiar size. The binding is early modern, but more recent repairs have been carried out. The inscriptions include the names Wilkie (on the title page of Alcestis and Baptistes); James Fox (a marginal note in Alcestis); Gilbert Eliot (Alcestis and Baptistes); Georgius Scotus (Baptistes); Robert Elliott (Franciscanus). There are other inscriptions which are faint and almost indecipherable, but which might yield further information. These owners have written their names, marginal notes, Latin verse, and scribblings perhaps to test their pens throughout the volume. Bought with: A bill for the better ordering of the militia forces in that part of Great-Britain called Scotland (c.1760). Possibly a draft of a bill not enacted, this item is not in ESTC. Bound with Alexander Carlyle, The question relating to a Scots militia considered. (Edinburgh: Gavin Hamilton and John Balfour, 1760) ESTC T121729. Also with Trevor-Roper's book label. John Major: Historia Majoris Britanniae, tam Angliae quam Scotiae ... editio nova. (Edinburgh: Apud Robertum Fribarnium, 1740). A subscription edition by the Edinburgh publisher Robert Freebairn, including his receipt for the subscription of James Sinclair (d.1762) of Rosslyn. The book contains Sinclair's armorial bookplate and his crest is on the binding. Sinclair, from a notable Scottish family, was an important figure in the British army of the period, besides being an M.P. (Also bought with George Conn: De duplici statu religionis apud Scotos, which is a separate Report item)
ShelfmarkRB.s.2336(2)
Reference SourcesJohn Durkan: Bibliography of George Buchanan; DNB
Acquired on24/06/04
AuthorBuchanan, George
TitleEuripidis poetae tragici Alcestis ... Tum ... Jepthes, Tragoedia
ImprintArgentorati Excudebat Josias Rihelius
Date of Publication1567
LanguageLatin
NotesThis item is a significant addition to the Library's holdings of Buchanan's writings. It seems to be the only copy of this edition in Scotland, although we and other libraries have various separate editions of Jephthes and Alcestis. Buchanan was a leading figure in the divine poetry movement, and this rare publication of his own biblical tragedy Jephthes side by side with his translation of a classical drama indicates the complex relationship between sacred and secular literature for Buchanan and his wider Protestant humanist circle. The editor, Joannes Sturm, talks in his preface of Buchanan's talent and his own pleasure in reading him, and hopes that his publication will spread Buchanan's fame through France and Germany. The sacred and secular theme is continued in the other two items bound with this work - the neo-classical comedy Acolastus, and the 'sacred comedy' Joseph, by the Renaissance scholars Cornelius Gnapheus and Cornelius Crocus. The three items may first have been put together by the 'M. Boereau' whose signature appears on the Buchanan and Crocus works, on which the name 'Geo. King' also appears. But in their current state they were bound together for the 18th-century English scholar-collector Michael Wodhull, whose arms are on the binding. Wodhull translated Euripides into English himself, and he may have used Buchanan's work for reference, two hundred years after it was first published.
ShelfmarkRB.2305(1)
Reference SourcesDurkan: Bibliography of George Buchanan 1994 no.61
Acquired on06/03/03
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