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 753 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 361 to 375 of 753:

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AuthorRobertson, Hannah
TitleThe Young Ladies [sic] School of Arts. Containing, a great variety of practical receipts. ...
ImprintEdinburgh: printed for Robert Jameson
Date of Publication1777
LanguageEnglish
NotesHannah Robertson's practical handbook of 'the nice arts for young ladies' advocates that instead of concentrating on needlework, girls engage in a range of handicrafts like shellwork and painting, and provides recipes for everything from invisible ink to gin. She aims the book equally at impoverished young ladies, who may be able to make a living through their handiwork, and at cookmaids who need to know how to clean a spit with sand and water. This book was first printed in Edinburgh in 1766 by Walter Ruddiman, and sold by the author herself at Perth, as well as by other booksellers. Second and third editions followed, also by Ruddiman for Robertson, the second with an additional engraved title page. This rare edition (this copy is the only one recorded in Scotland) proclaims itself as a 'new edition, corrected', but is really a corrected edition of the second edition of 1767, with the engraved title page altered to include the new date. Both title pages now state that this edition was printed for the Edinburgh bookseller Robert Jameson; it may well have been printed by the Ruddiman firm. This copy contains three plates, and an early owner has used the blank space for their own pencil artwork. The front pastedown bears the inscription 'Cathrine Stewart hir Book Doune July 23 1813', testifying like NLS copies of other editions, which also carry inscriptions by female owners, to the use of Robertson's work by contemporary Scottish 'young ladies'.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2655
Reference SourcesESTC; bookseller's catalogue; other NLS copies.
Acquired on11/04/07
AuthorCharles Buick & Sons
TitleSanitary Appliances
Imprint[Edinburgh: W & A.K. Johnston, Ltd]
Date of Publication1907
LanguageEnglish
NotesTrade catalogues often contain fascinating insights into aspects of social and industrial history which would otherwise be hard to recover. This catalogue of 'sanitary appliances' from the firm of Charles Buick and Sons of Alloa documents the range of 'fireclay baths, lavatories, sinks, wash tubs, urinals, closets, hospital appliances, channels and every other description of enamelled goods' the firm manufactured and made available to 'architects, sanitary engineers, plumbers and builders' in 1907, with details of the designs, materials and costs involved. Many of the items illustrated in this catalogue, such as the 'range of 4 independent school closets' and hospital 'slop sinks' would have remained in use throughout the twentieth century. The occasional handwritten notes on this catalogue suggest that it was used by a French speaker.
ShelfmarkHB6.207.4.75
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue
Acquired on11/04/07
AuthorOgilvy, James, 7th Earl of Findlater and Seafield, and Stieglitz, Christian Ludwig
TitleZeichnungen aus der schoenen Baukunst
ImprintLeipzig: Georg Voss
Date of Publication1805
LanguageGerman
NotesA splendidly illustrated book of engraved architectural plans and elevations of existing and proposed buildings. The work was first published in Leipzig and Paris in nine parts between 1798 and 1800 under the title "Plans et desseins tires de la belle architecture". This is the second, 'improved', German collected edition, published by Voss of Leipzig. It contains an introductory essay by the German scholar and architectural historian Christian Stieglitz, who has been wrongly assumed to be responsible for the whole work. In fact the collection of engravings was compiled by James Ogilvy, 7th Earl of Findlater and Seafield (1750-1811). The plates of existing buildings, including a number of British buildings (amongst them James MacPherson's former home Belleville House, Inverness-shire) were presumably taken from prints and drawings in Findlater's own collection. The plates for proposed designs appear to be Ogilvy's own work. The importance of this work lies in the significant role it played in introducing neo-classical architecture in the style of Robert and James Adam to Germany. The NLS copy is in a contemporary German calf binding, specially bound for Georg Karl von Fechenbach (1749-1808), the last Prince-Bishop of Würzburg. It was formerly in the Fechenbach family library, part of which was auctioned off in 2005. Ogilvy himself was a rather tragic figure. He left Scotland, and his ancestral home Cullen House in Banffshire, for good in 1791, after a series of personal and social misfortunes. He settled eventually in Dresden where he pursued his interests in architecture and built his own palace on the banks on the river Elbe.
ShelfmarkRB.l.235
Reference SourcesA.A. Tait, "Lord Findlater, Architect", Burlington Magazine, vol. 128 (1986), pp. 738-741)
Acquired on05/04/07
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
AuthorJohn James Audubon
TitleOrnithological biography vol. 1
ImprintPhiladelphia: Carey and Hart
Date of Publication1832
LanguageEnglish
NotesIn 1830 John James Audubon began working in Edinburgh with the Scottish ornithologist William Macgillivray on a five-volume work "Ornithological Biography". The work was designed to accompany the double elephant folio plates of "Birds of America", which were being engraved in London at the time. Volume one was first published in Edinburgh in 1831, and in order to safeguard his copyright in the USA, Audubon also arranged for an edition to be printed and published in his adopted homeland in the same year by Dobson and Porter. This 1832 Philadelphia edition appears to be a reprint of the Dobson and Porter version, identical apart from the title page; it presumably had a larger print-run. An American edition of volume 2 was published in Boston in 1835, but no further volumes of "Ornithological Biography" were printed in America during Audubon's lifetime.
ShelfmarkAB.4.207.05
Reference SourcesWilliam Braislin, "An American edition of Audubon's 'Ornithological biography'" The Auk, v. 35 (1918)pp. 360-362.
Acquired on30/03/07
AuthorAndrew Sharp & Sons
TitleCatalogue of Iron & Brass Bedsteads, Child's Cots, Bed Chairs, &c.
ImprintGlasgow: John F. Gourlie, Lith.
Date of Publicationc. 1900
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a sumptuous trade catalogue with 53 lithographed plates, most of them partly printed in colour. Brass and wrought iron are much in evidence; no flat-pack self-assembly kits here. Judging by the size and solidity of the beds illustrated here, some are probably still around today. The Campbellfield Bedstead Works were built for Andrew Sharp in 1876, and were in Campbellfield Street in central Glasgow. This copy comes with three price lists dated 1901, one with manuscript corrections.
ShelfmarkAB.10.207.07
Acquired on28/03/07
AuthorChambers, William and Robert
TitleIntroduction to the science of astronomy. Second edition, embossed by permission; for the use of the Blind.
ImprintGlasgow, printed, in the Asylum at the Institution Press, by John Alston, Honorary Treasurer to the Asylum; and sold by John Smith and Son, Glasgow; Smith Elder and Co., London; John Johnstone Edinburgh, and William Maccomb Belfast:
Date of Publication1843
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an apparently unrecorded edition of this work printed with embossed letters for the blind. The Library has a copy of the 1841 edition (shelfmark RB.s.502); a comparison of the two shows that the 1843 edition has two extra leaves because the type was reset to make it clearer. The text deals with the climate and geography of Earth as well as the solar system. There are six plates, also embossed, with diagrams and charts. The binding is rather curious. The original embossed wrapper can still be seen through the later leather binding, which has 'Science of Astronomy' rather crudely stamped in gold on the front cover. The endpapers are startling, shiny pink paper with gold stars. John Alston (1778-1846) set up his press for raised Roman type in 1836. This copy is inscribed by him as a presentation copy to Thomas Carfrae (1802?-1854). This is a nice addition to the Library's holdings of material printed for the visually impaired, including the Royal Blind School special collection, which contains several other works produced by Alston.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2660
Acquired on28/03/07
AuthorByron, George Gordon, Lord
TitlePiec Poematów Lorda Birona przelozyl Franciszek Dzierzyrkraj Morawski [Five poems of Lord Byron translated by Morawski].
ImprintNakladem autora [Printed for the author]. Leszno. Drukiem Ernesta Günthera.
Date of Publication1853
LanguagePolish
NotesThese are translations of Byron's poems by the soldier and poet Franciszek Morawski (1783-1861), with the translator's notes. Translated here are Byron's Manfred, Mazeppa, The Siege of Corinth, Parisina, and The Prisoner of Chilon. Morawski was a patriot and was Minister for War during the 1830-1 uprising against Russian rule; when the revolt failed, he went into semi-retirement and composed verses and translations of Byron and Racine. There are other early Polish translations, such as those by Adam Mickiewicz and Anton i Odyniec, but this is the first edition of this particular translation. This is a good copy in a contemporary Polish binding. The Library's interest in developing its Byron collections was given new impetus by the arrival of the John Murray Archive in 2006, with its unrivalled Byron correspondence. Our collections of books in Polish have also taken on new prominence recently, with the arrival of many Polish people to work in Scotland. This is, apparently, the only example of a Polish translation of the works of Byron in our collections. Hopefully we will be able to acquire more.
ShelfmarkAB.2.207.07
Acquired on26/03/07
AuthorWright, Robert W.
TitleOn foot from Edinburgh to Inverness. On foot through the Lake district. On foot from Oxford to Exeter. On foot John o' Groats to Lands End. [4 items]
ImprintCheadlehulme, Cheshire
Date of Publication1928-1933
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese four privately printed volumes of topographical verse by Robert W. Wright were issued as Christmas presents to friends. It appears that in 1927 Mr. Wright (who was from Cheshire) visited Hawick in the course of one of his pedestrian adventures and made the acquaintance of a Mrs. Storic and her family. His accounts of his walks from Edinburgh to Inverness and from Oxford to Exeter are incorporated into his most substantial work which covers John o'Groats to Lands End. The 'pilgrimage' as he describes it was accomplished over a period of seven years, with 'no advantage being taken of the ferries across the estuaries of rivers, the avoidance of which has added considerably to the mileage'. Wright and his companions walked along the roads, which were apparently still not very busy with motorised transport. The tone of the verse is generally light-hearted. Wright comments on the scenery, the architecture and the weather and is generally positive about his experiences. Occasionally he is critical as when he chides the city authorities of Edinburgh about 'the mountains of rubbish and shale of all kinds & disfigure the prospect' to the south of the city. The border town of Longtown, Cumberland, impresses him the least describing it as a 'small and slovenly bungalow town, which stands in the order of merit low down'. In August 1932 Wright and a few of his friends walked through the Lake District and a further volume was presented to friends the following year. Unlike the other volumes, this volume is illustrated with sketches and photographs which show a trio of bowler-hatted elderly gentlemen attired more for a day in the office than for a long walk through the countryside.
ShelfmarkFB.s.945(1-4)
Acquired on12/03/07
AuthorSommerville, John
TitleCatalogue of Scottish rocks, Collected and Sold by John Sommerville, 18 West Register Street, Edinburgh.
ImprintEdinburgh: R. Wallace & Co.
Date of Publication[1837?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesA very rare brochure listing 100 specimens of Scottish rocks which were for sale in cabinets. The samples came in three sizes, the largest at three inches costing £5. In the advertisement on the verso of the title page, the author states that the collection has been available for eight years, constantly undergoing improvements. The advertisement goes on to say that the collection represents nearly all the deposits to be found in Scotland, and that it will be of particular use to geologists in England as it 'stops at the point where the English strata begin to be more illustrative' than Scottish strata. The blank leaves bound into the volume suggest that it was intended for use as a field book. It is bound with the 1837 edition of John Phillip's 'Treatise on Geology'.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2650(2)
Acquired on12/03/07
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
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
TitleThe complete cellar-book or butler's assistant in keeping a regular account of his liquors.
ImprintEdinburgh : Printed for Thomas Veitch
Date of Publication[1842]
LanguageEnglish
NotesOne of the many duties of butlers working in large households was to keep an account of the beverages in the cellar. This is an example of a cellar book which helped butlers to maintain an adequate stock for their masters. The preface provides instruction on how to use the book. The first line contains the number of bottles of each drink at the beginning of the week, the next line the number of bottles of each drink added. Then there are separate lines for each day of the week showing what was drunk on each day. At the end of the week the butler would simply subtract the number of bottles used from the total at the beginning of the week and with the new figures proceed to the page for the following week. Unfortunately we do not know who owned the establishment in question here. This cellar book records what was drunk from August 1842 to September 1843. Port, sherry and hock were the most popular drinks. Whisky, rum and liqueurs were rarely drunk while the columns for porter, ales and 'cyder' were not added to throughout the year. There were two weeks during the year when a lot of stock was consumed  Christmas and the week of 5 March 1843. During the latter week, 2 bottles of port were drunk, 6 of sherry, 1 of madeira, 2 of claret(1819), 7 of hock, 5 of St. Julien, 2 of sherry, 1 of claret (1815) and 1 of claret (1825).
ShelfmarkAP.4.207.10
Acquired on20/02/07
AuthorSpenser, Edmund.
TitlePoetical Works.
ImprintLondon: [by S. and R. Bentley for] William Pickering, Nattali and Combe, and Talboys and Wheeler in Oxford
Date of Publication1825
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis edition of the works of the great English poet Spenser was not, for some reason, acquired by the Advocates Library through the copyright privilege, but the main reason for purchasing these five volumes now is the binding. The books were from the library of one James Hamilton, whose red ink stamp appears on the title pages. Mr. Hamilton had a number of his books bound in the unusual material of chenille - using a different colour or pattern for each set. This set is bound in red chenille with yellow dots. Inside the rear board of the first volume is the printed label of R. Grant & Son, an Edinburgh firm listed in the Scottish Book Trade Index under this name from 1840 onwards. The Library has another binding identified as the work of the same firm (William Aytoun, Lays of the Scottish cavaliers, 1863, Bdg.m.115). It is possible that both bindings date from the 1860s. It is difficult to know why Mr. Hamilton chose to have his books bound in this way; the effect of a whole library bound in brightly coloured chenille would be quite overpowering. It is not a durable material and these books would not withstand heavy handling. Other curious features of this binding are the fact that the boards are so much larger than the text block, the elaborately gauffered gilt edges, the brass and velvet catches and clasps, and the brass frames nailed on the front covers with a vellum slip to write the title or volume number. This is a curiosity of Scottish binding creativity.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.921
Acquired on16/02/07
AuthorDavid Cox, 1783-1859
TitleA Series of Progressive Lessons Intended to Elucidate the Art of Painting in Water Colours: with Introductory Illustrations on Perspective and Drawing with Pencil.
ImprintLondon : Ackermann and Co.
Date of Publication1841
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe 1841 edition is the only one listed in R.V. Tooley's English books with Coloured Plates 1790 to 1860. Cox made important changes to later editions such as this, notably by improvements in the quality of the plates. The volume contains 18 plates of which 10 are coloured, one uncoloured aquatint, 4 lithographs and 3 line engravings. Small blocks of colour samples appear throughout the text and one of the coloured plates features a scene set near Balquhidder. David Cox's standing as an artist was reinforced by the publication of a number of successful manuals, beginning with Ackermann's New Drawing Book in Light and Shadow in 1809. Although not credited to Cox, its range of subjects and depicted locations strongly suggests that he supplied the images. This was followed in 1811 by the first edition of A Series of Progressive Lessons Intended to Elucidate the Art of Painting in Water Colours. The book became one of the most influential of all drawing books and had the unforeseen consequence of training a whole generation of amateurs to imitate Cox's style. Cox's work was praised by Thackeray in Sketches after English Landscape Painters (1850) and Ruskin wrote in 1857 that "there is not any other landscape which comes near these works of David Cox in simplicity or seriousness". Although Cox's standing in the art world reached its apex in the late 19th century, recent reappraisals of Victorian art have seen Cox rightly restored to his position as one of the finest of all British landscape painters. There are only two other extant copies of the 1841 edition at Cambridge University and Yale.
ShelfmarkRB.m.646
Reference SourcesTooley 161
Acquired on15/02/07
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