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 745 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 346 to 360 of 745:

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AuthorDeschamps, Emile & Wailly, Gustave de.
TitleIvanhoe : opera en trois actes, imite de l' anglais.
ImprintParis : Vente
Date of Publication1826
LanguageFrench
Notes"Ivanhoe" is probably Sir Walter Scott's most successful and enduring novel. Several musical adaptions of the work were produced in the 19th-century, the first being the opera performed in Paris in 1826. This is the first edition of the libretto by Emile Deschamps and Gabriel-Gustave de Wailly for a pasticcio created, with Rossini's permission, by Antonio Pacini as a means of introducing Rossini's music to Paris. Rossini had already written "La donna del lago" in 1819, the first Italian opera to be based on one of Scott's works, which would inspire other composers to create works based on Scott's novels. Scott was himself in Paris to see the opera, remarking: "It was superbly got up, the Norman soldiers wearing pointed helmets and what resembled much hauberks of mail, which looked very well. The number of the attendants, and the skill with which they were moved and grouped on the stage, were well worthy of notice. It was an opera, and of course the story greatly mangled [Rowena and Richard the Lionheart do not appear, for example, and Ivanhoe marries Rebecca], and the dialogue in a great part nonsense. Yet it was strange to hear anything like the words which I (then in an agony of pain with spasms in my stomach) dictated to William Laidlaw at Abbotsford, now recited in a foreign tongue, and for the amusement of a strange people" (Journal, 31 October 1826). This particular copy of the Ivanhoe libretto has the library stamp of the Chateau de la Roche-Guyon in northern France on the title page and is attractively bound in red calf with lyre-shaped gilt cornerpieces.
ShelfmarkAB.2.212.06
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on27/01/12
AuthorScott, Walter
TitleIvanhoe: romanja.
ImprintPesten [Budapest] : Otto Wigand
Date of Publication1829
LanguageHungarian
NotesThe Library has in recent years acquired a number of early translations of the works of Sir Walter Scott printed in eastern Europe. This a rare Hungarian translation of Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe", only two other copies are recorded in the UK. It was the only Scott novel translated into Hungarian in the first half of the 19th century. It was translated by the poet and patriot Andras Thaisz (1789-1840, described by Sir John Bowring is his "The poetry of the Magyars" (London, 1830) as 'the translator of the Scottish Romances'.
ShelfmarkAB.1.212.28-30
Acquired on18/05/12
AuthorHume, David.
TitleIzsledovanie celoveceskago razumenia (An Inquiry concerning human understanding).
ImprintSt. Petersburg: M. V. Pirozhkov
Date of Publication1902
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is the rare first Russian translation of Hume's "Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding", which was first published in English in 1748. In the late eighteenth century, Hume was known in Russia chiefly as a writer on law, politics and history, rather than as a philosopher. In the 19th century, however, attitudes began to change once Russian thinkers gained access to French translations of his works, French being the language of the Russian nobility whose members were the main readership of his works at the time. Almost all leading Russian thinkers of the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century showed an interest in Hume, particularly in his empiricism and his interpretation of causation. Consequently Russian translations of Hume's main philosophical works were published in the 1890s and the first decade of the 20th century. Moreover, during the social and intellectual ferment of pre-Revolutionary Russia Hume's work on the philosophy of religion was particularly in demand. Lenin may have consulted this translation when writing his own main philosophical work "Materialism and empiriocriticism", published in 1909. He discusses Hume's work in some detail, dismissing his ideas as outdated. In the post-Revolution Soviet Union, free thinking was not encouraged and Hume's philosophy, whilst regarded as being progressive for its time, did not fit in with Soviet revision of philosophical heritage. New publications and translations of Hume did not appear until the 1960s in the Krushchev era of greater cultural freedom.
ShelfmarkRB.m.705
Reference SourcesArtemieva, T. and Mikeshin, M. "Hume in Russia" in Jones, P. (ed.), The Reception of David Hume in Europe, London & N.Y., 2005.
Acquired on23/12/11
AuthorSmith, Adam.
TitleIzsliedovaniia o bogatstvie narodov.
ImprintMoscow: Izd. K.T. Soldatenkova,
Date of Publication1895
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is an important addition to the National Library's collection of translations of Adam Smith's landmark work 'An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations', published in 1776. The first Russian edition appeared in the early 19th century. However this volume of selections is the only Russian edition of Smith works held by the Library. This edition was translated by K.T. Soldatenkov who earlier in his career had connections with Russian revolutionaries in London. The book formerly was part of the collection of the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2654
Acquired on02/04/07
Author[Anon]
TitleJacobi des Andern aus Franckreich, in Gendancken nach Engeland.
ImprintCoelln [Cologne]: Bey Peter Hammern,
Date of Publication1696
LanguageGerman
NotesThe Library has one of the major collections of printed material relating to Jacobites and Jacobitism, including foreign-language works concerning the exiled Stuart court. This is an uncommon first (and only?) German-language printing of an anonymous work on James VII and II, which had first been printed in French in 1696 under the title "Histoire secrette [sic] du voyage de Jaques II a Calais pour passer en Angleterre". The book deals with the last attempt to restore James to the British throne after his exile in 1688. Early in 1696 Louis XIV of France lent ships and men to James for an invasion of England. To coincide with the arrival of the French, a rising was secretly organized by the Jacobites in England. However, as neither side would take the initiative, the murder of William III, planned by a group of Jacobites in London, was seen as a way out of the deadlock. The plot was betrayed on the eve of the murder attempt and most of the conspirators were apprehended. The assassination plot aroused enormous contemporary interest throughout Europe as evidenced by this book. By supporting the assassination attempt, James came out of the whole affair in an unflattering light. In England there was a backlash of loyalty to William and the Jacobite cause there was badly undermined. The place of publication for this book is uncertain as it appears under the 'Peter Hammer' imprint. Books in French with a 'Pierre Marteau' (French for Peter Hammer) imprint had started appearing in the 1660s. Allegedly located in the German city of Cologne the publishing house never actually existed. The fictitious imprint was used by booksellers and printers in the Netherlands, France and Germany who wanted to publish politically controversial books to avoid open identification and censorship. German-language 'Peter Hammer' books started appearing in the late 1680s. German intellectuals, who were opposed to the despotic character of the French monarchy and who supported the likes of William III in his wars against Louis XIV, used the imprint to print books such as this one, which was critical of the French monarch and of those, like the exiled King James, who were under his influence.
ShelfmarkAB.1.210.041
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Marteau
Acquired on14/05/10
AuthorAnderson, Grace Scott & John
TitleJapan from India: letters & notes of the journey of two travellers, chiefly by one of them.
Imprint[Calcutta?: privately printed]
Date of Publication[1884]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded, privately-printed account of a journey to Japan in 1884, made by the eminent Scottish zoologist, Dr John Anderson (1833-1900) and his wife, Grace (1834-1917). Anderson was at the time based in Calcutta, where he had lived for 20 years and was working as Superintendent of the Indian Museum and professor of comparative anatomy at the medical school. He had devoted his career to studying the zoology and ethnology of the Far East, having already gone on three arduous, and at times dangerous, scientific expeditions to China and Burma during his time in India. The trip to Japan was a more leisurely affair. The anonymous account printed here is a mixture of a travel journal, written by Grace Anderson, who addresses her chapters to a relative or friend called Isabella, with two additional, more scholarly, chapters written by Anderson (referred to in the text as "J.A."). The Andersons' journey started from Calcutta on March 15 with the first destination being the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where they met the governor (and fellow Scot), Col. Thomas Cadell. During their stay they visited the penal colony at Port Blair. After a stay in Rangoon, Burma, they moved on to Penang in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Canton (Guangzhou), Grace making frequent comparisons with the landscape she saw in the course of her travels and that of her native Scotland. In May they arrived in Japan, which was the Anderson's main destination. The majority of the book is accordingly devoted to their travels in the Japanese islands with descriptions of the scenery, wildlife, local customs, religion and food. The final chapter in the book is written by John Anderson and concerns their visit to the island of Yezo (Hokkaido) from August to October. He cites a number of other contemporary authors who had written on Japan, including Isabella Birds "Unbeaten tracks in Japan" (first published in 1880). Clearly inspired by Bird's travels among the indigenous Ainu people, much of this chapter is taken up with a description of the Ainu. Anderson adopts a relatively neutral tone throughout his account, but, as already described by Isabella Bird, Anderson shows that the Ainu were suffering under the direct Japanese control of the island imposed after 1869. He describes a people living in squalor, unable to practise some of their local customs, and blighted by their addiction to alcohol. Anderson was able to get a letter of introduction from an English Anglican missionary, the Rev. John Batchelor, to meet an Ainu chief Peuri who figured prominently in Birds "Unbeaten tracks". Peuri would appear to have been the 'Benri' described by Bird as a "superb but dissipated-looking savage". Not long after his return to Calcutta, in 1886, Anderson resigned from his posts in Calcutta and returned to Britain, where he settled in London. He devoted the rest of his life to studying the fauna of North Africa, although for the rest of his life he was in poor health. He and his wife are buried in the Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh. In his obituary in the "Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal" (1902) it is stated that he travelled with his wife to Japan after his retirement from his jobs in Calcutta, the existence of this account shows that in fact he made the journey before his retirement.
ShelfmarkAB.2.214.28
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on06/06/14
AuthorBarclay, John
TitleJohann Barclayens Argenis Deutsch gemacht durch Martin Opitzen.
ImprintBreslau: David Mueller
Date of Publication1626
LanguageGerman
NotesThe Scotsman John Barclay published his political novel "Argenis" in Latin in 1621, one month prior to his death. This long romance, which introduces the leading personages of international importance, has been called the prototype of a courtly roman a clef. Martin Opitz made his, the first German translation, from a French version of "Argenis" between 1626 and 1631. This two volume edition is bound in contemporary vellum over wooden boards. It has 24 engraved plates with scenic illustrations, as well as a portrait of Barclay in volume 2. Martin Opitz (1597-1639) was the foremost German Baroque poet. He was considered the authority on the best metrical pattern in all genres. Johann Christoph Gottsched called him the father of German poetry. In Vienna in 1623, Opitz was awarded the position of an imperial poet on account of an extempore poem. He received a knighthood from the Austrian Emperor in 1627. The first volume is Opitz's translation of Barclay's text, whereas the second volume contains the translation of a second instalment by A.M. de Mouchemberg.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2310
Acquired on23/07/03
AuthorClyne, Geraldine
TitleJolly Jump-Ups: Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses
Imprint[Springfield, USA] : McLoughlin Bros
Date of Publication1946
LanguageEnglish
NotesRobert Louis Stevenson comes to life in pop-up form in this delightful and highly coloured children's book. Stevenson's classic text, A Child's Garden of Verses, had proved very popular in North America and appeared in many attractive illustrated editions. This is a rather different adaptation which shows how Stevenson's influence had reached quite different genres of children's books. This copy is in nice condition, particularly for a pop-up, a form which often attracts the investigation of curious fingers to the detriment of the book. The 'Jolly Jump-Ups' was a well-established series of pop-ups, mostly nursery rhymes and learning books: as the bookseller remarks, it is 'somewhat unusual to have real literature as the basis for a pop-up'. Stevenson and children's books are two popular themes in the Library's collections which have been highlighted in recent exhibitions, and this pop-up brings both themes together.
ShelfmarkRB.m.462
Acquired on07/10/02
AuthorBell, James Stanislaus.
TitleJournal d' une residence en Circassie pendant les annees 1837, 1838, et 1839.
ImprintParis: Arthus Bertrand.
Date of Publication1841
LanguageFrench
NotesJames Stanislaus Bell (1796-1858) was a Dundee-born trader who in the 1830s started trading in Circassia, a region of the North Caucasus on the north-eastern shore of the Black Sea. Circassia had long been a key strategic location for the ongoing power struggle between the Russian, Ottoman, British and French empires. Russia wanted to expand its territory along the Black Sea coastline, while Britain and France sought to reduce Russia's ability to take advantage of the declining Ottoman presence in the area in order to protect their own trading interests in the Middle and Far East. From the 1760s onwards the Russians and local tribes living in Circassia engaged in a series of battles and wars over the territory, which were only ended in 1864 when Circassian leaders finally swore loyalty to the Russian Czar. Bell was following in the footsteps of another Scot, the diplomat David Urquhart, who in 1834 was the first Briton to champion the Circassians' cause against the Russians. Bell chartered a vessel, the "Vixen", to trade with directly with the local people and landed on the Caucasian coast in late 1836. He declared his cargo as salt, but the Russian authorities were convinced that he in fact was smuggling weapons and confiscated his ship. The Russians' suspicions may have been well-founded, given Bell's links with Urquhart and the British government's anti-Russian stance. Bell made his second trip to Circassia in 1837, accompanied by "The Times" journalist J.A. Longworth, ostensibly to negotiate reparations for the capture of his ship as the British government had publicly declined to get involved in his dispute with the Russians. He may also however have been reporting in secret to the British government on the political and military situation. He ended up staying in the region until 1839. During these years he took time to study the language, customs and traditions of the Circassians, even accompanying them on raids behind the Russian lines. Both Bell and Longworth wrote books based on their time in Circassia. Bell's work was originally published in English in 1840 as 'Journal of a residence in Circassia' and is regarded as the most comprehensive first-hand account of the Russo-Circassian wars in the latter part of the 1830s. This French translation by Louis Vivien appeared in the following year, as did a German translation. Vivien supplied an historical and geographical introduction for the French edition, which contains the same plates as used in the English edition. Bell later worked as a government agent in Central America, where his daughter married the Prussian adventurer and author Gustavus von Tempsky.
ShelfmarkAB.3.209.17
Acquired on03/04/09
AuthorClapperton, Hugh
TitleJournal of a second expedition into the interior of Africa
ImprintPhiladelphia: Carey, Lea & Carey
Date of Publication1829
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first American edition of the Scottish explorer's posthumously published account of his second African expedition. Clapperton had participated in an earlier expedition with Dixon Denham and Walter Oudney into Central and Western Africa to find the source and map the course of the Niger River. Denham had published an account of that expedition in 1826 in which he had claimed all the glory. In the meantime Clapperton had returned to Africa and on this second trek he was the expedition leader. In this attempt, which was again unsuccessful, he accomplished an immense amount of travel, and here are his travels to Bussa (where he learned the details of Mungo Park's death), Kanto, Katunga, and finally Sokoto, where he died of malaria and dysentery. It was his servant Richard Lander who finally accomplished the expedition's goals on a separate expedition, as detailed in Lander's additions to the basic narrative. The Journal's appendix contains such diverse information as short word lists of the Yoruba and Fellatah languages, meteorological tables, and a list of Clapperton's Arabic manuscripts. The engraved plan shows the course of the Kowara or Quarra River.
ShelfmarkAB.3.208.09
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on26/02/08
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
AuthorDarwin, Charles.
TitleJournal of researches into the natural history and geologyof the countries visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle.
ImprintLondon: John Murray
Date of Publication1852
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a reissue of the second edition (1845) of Darwin's account of the voyage of the Beagle. It was first published by Henry Colburn in 1839 in two forms - separately and as volume III of Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's ships Adventure and Beagle. According to R.B. Freeman in The works of Charles Darwin this 'book is undoubtedly the most often read and stands second only to On the origin of the species as the most often printed'. It is also an important travel book in its own right. Only two editions were published and Darwin sold the copyright to John Murray for £150. Between the first and second editions the text was extensively revised, the maps omitted and the number of woodcuts increased. The National Library holds volume III of the Narrative and the 1845 editions, but only has the reissue on microfiche. What makes this particular copy remarkable is its provenance. Darwin presented it to William Bernhardt Tegetmeier sometime between 1855, when their long correspondence begun and 1860 when the final definitive text of the Journal appeared. Tegetmeier (1816-1912), was a genuine Victorian polymath and 'character'. He practised as a mesmeric healer, lectured on domestic economy, was a keen bee-keeper and an advocate of cock-fighting. He wrote a number of works on poultry breeding, pheasants and in particular, pigeons. In 1855 Tegetmeier came to the attention of Charles Darwin, who was studying pigeons and other domestic birds as part of the research which led to the Origin of Species (1859) and Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication (1868). He took Darwin to pigeon shows, and answered numerous queries in correspondence. The relationship between Darwin and Tegetmeier is also an important one which our current holdings, in both the printed collections and the John Murray Archive, do not appear to have anything to illustrate.
ShelfmarkJMA.1
Reference SourcesFreeman, R.B. The works of Charles Darwin. (Folkestone, 1977) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Acquired on08/01/07
AuthorBurnes, Alexander
TitleKabul. Schilderung einer Reise nach dieser Stadt und des Aufenthalts daselbst.
ImprintLeipzig: T.D. Weigel
Date of Publication1843
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is a German translation of Alexander Burnes's 'Cabool: being a personal narrative of a journey to, and residence in that city in the years 1836-38', published posthumously in 1842. Burnes was born in Montrose in 1805 and educated at Montrose Academy. He had extraordinary linguistic abilities, learning Hindustani and Persian within one year in Bombay. At the end of 1836 Burnes was dispatched by the British government on a mission to Kabul, where he stayed until 1838. During these two years he collected the material for his book. In 1839 he returned as an officer with the British Army and acted as second political officer in Kabul. Towards the end of 1841 the political situation deteriorated but Burnes was unprepared for the ferocity of the Afghan revenge. On 2 November 1841 an infuriated crowd besieged his house in Kabul and murdered him. This event marked the beginning of Britain's disastrous retreat from Afghanistan.
ShelfmarkABS.2.206.001
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on15/09/05
AuthorBell, Thomas [pseud. of John Roberton]
TitleKalogynomia or the laws of female beauty: Being the elementary principles of that science.
ImprintLondon: J.J. Stockdale,
Date of Publication1821
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Scottish physician John Roberton (1776-1840) was a radical and controversial figure in the medical profession. The true extent of his medical qualifications remains in doubt. He started off as a general practitioner in Edinburgh who specialised in sexually transmitted diseases. In 1809 his first major work, advocating the founding of a medical police force, "A treatise on the medical police, and on diet, regimen, &c." was published in Edinburgh. In the same year he was expelled from the Royal Medical Society for disgraceful conduct and moved to London in 1810, where he published his most famous and controversial work on reproductive system "On diseases of the generative system" the following year. Owing to his reputation and the somewhat sensational nature of the work along with its explicit illustrations, Roberton had some difficulty in finding a publisher for the work, eventually turning to John Joseph Stockdale, who himself had something of a reputation for publishing risqué material. Having ostracised himself from the Edinburgh medical fraternity and fallen foul of most of polite society, Roberton's published work was aimed at the general public who were not put off by poor reviews. He teamed up again with Stockdale to publish this work, "Kalogynomia" in 1821, using his pseudonym Thomas Bell. This work is aimed squarely at a male readership of the middle and upper classes, (this particular copy is from the library of George, Second Marquess of Milford Haven (1892-1938), containing his armorial bookplate); it is ostensibly a guide to the beauty of the female sex, but in reality it is a sex manual. As with his earlier work "On diseases of the generative system", Roberton covers sexual health and generation, with chapters discussing beauty and love, before turning to a more detailed discussion of sexual intercourse, and 'the laws regulating that intercourse'. He concludes his work with a 'Catalogue Raisonné of the defects in female beauty'. A number of plates depict both the male and female sexual organs, and indeed a note of caution is included in the plate description: "Plates 10, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 should not be carelessly exposed either to Ladies or to Young Persons ... As the work is a scientific one, and calculated both by its mode of construction and by its price for the higher and more reflecting class of readers, and as the Plates above are enumerated are also entirely scientific and anatomical, the publisher might have dispensed with this precaution; but he is anxious that these readers should have it in their power to obviate the possibility of careless exposure of such anatomical plates: they are therefore detached from the work, and may be locked up separately" (p. i). It seems, rare, therefore, to find these plates present as here, bound in throughout the text. Roberton's decision to use a pseudonym and his warning about the graphic nature of some of the illustrations used in the book, clearly reflect the pressures that he and Stockdale felt in light of the public reaction to their previous collaboration. The work provides a fascinating insight into early nineteenth century sexual thought, revealing the sensitivity over the publication of works dealing with such matters, and the fine line in the debate of what was considered to be medical or sexual, anatomical or pornographical.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2799
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on08/10/10
AuthorScott, Walter
TitleKenel'uort. Roman Val'tera Skota obrabotan dlia iunoshestva [Kenilworth. A novel by Walter Scott adapted for youth].
ImprintSankpeterburg, Moskva : M.O. Vol'fa
Date of Publication1873
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is a Russian adaption of Sir Walter Scott's novel "Kenilworth" for younger readers. The cover states the book was published within the series 'Sochineniia Val'ter-Skota' ('Works of Walter-Scott' [sic]), but no other works within this series have been located apart a translation of "Waverley" (Veverlei, 1876), at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. Translations of Scott into Russian began to appear in the 1820s; he reached probably the widest audience of any foreign author in Russia in the 19th century, and his influence could be seen not only in the development of the Russian historical novel, but also in the vogue for wearing tartan, 'Walter Scott' cloaks, and dressing up as characters from his novels. It is not clear whether this translation has been done direct from the English or from a French translation (French being the language of conversation and correspondence by the Russian nobility which had in turn encouraged widespread access to French literature in Russia). However, the tinted lithograph frontispiece is taken from an illustration by the French book illustrator Denis Auguste Marie Raffet, who illustrated Auguste Defauconpret's French translations of Scott's works.
ShelfmarkAB.1.211.056
Acquired on08/07/11
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