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.

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Important Acquisitions 361 to 375 of 753:

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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
TitleKoran
ImprintGlasgow, David Bryce
Date of Publicationca. 1900
LanguageArabic
NotesThis is a miniature copy of The Koran, in Arabic, published by David Bryce of Glasgow around the turn of the 19th century. The book measures 19 x 27 mm. and is accompanied by a metal locket with an inset magnifying glass to help facilitate reading the tiny script. The edges of the book are gilt and it is bound in red morocco with a gilt pattern very reminiscent of that which was used on Bryce's miniature version of the Bible published in 1896. According to Louis W. Bondy's 'Miniature Books: their History from the Beginnings to the Present Day', many copies of Bryce's Koran were issued to during World War I to Muslim soldiers fighting with allied troops.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2279
Reference SourcesBondy, Louis W. Miniature books, their history from the beginnings to the present day (London: Sheppard Press, 1981) pp. 111-112.
Acquired on23/04/02
AuthorBarclay, John.
TitleL' Argenide di Giovanni Barclaio.
ImprintVenetia [Venice]: Pietro Maria Bertano,
Date of Publication1636
LanguageItalian
NotesThe Library has recently acquired a number of early editions of the Franco-Scottish author John Barclay to increase its holdings of one of the most widely-read and influential literary figures of 17th-century Europe. This Italian translation of Barclay's political romance "Argenis" was made by Carl' Antonio Cocastello and edited by Christoforo Tomasini. First published in Turin in 1630, it followed another Italian translation made by Francesco Pona that was originally published in Venice in 1629. "Argenis" was Barclay's last work, completed only days before his death, and his greatest one. Composed in Rome as Barclay was working at the papal court at the time, but printed in Paris in 1621, Barclay's novel, describing the story of Princess Argenis and her suitors, offered an allegorical presentation of European history in transition from the 16th to the 17th centuries.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2803
Reference SourcesShaaber B144
Acquired on29/05/10
TitleL.R.B. [Lloyd Royal Belge]
ImprintGlasgow]: Maclure & Macdonald
Date of Publication[1919-1920]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis appears to be a specially prepared album recording a Glasgow shipyard in 1919/1920 at the time of it's take-over and during the political upheavals of Red Clydeside. Clearly the photographs were taken at the time the company became incorporated into Lloyd Royal Belge in 1919, one photograph of the Managers Office helpfully has Henry Gylsen seated with a fellow director under a calendar which reads May 14 Friday [1920]. The bulk of the album contains a good series of photographs showing the entire shipyard during a working day. Beginning with a photographic reproduction of a drawn bird's eye view of the works, it also includes views of the entrance, the office areas, electric crane, smithy and hydraulic riveting station. Three plates show the S.S. Londonier on the stock, being launched and and being pulled by a tug boat and two plates of one of the owners, Senator Brys attending to King Albert on a visit to a steamer. The boat was sold off in 1939 and later became a a war ship under the Japanese flag only to be sunk in 1943 in the East China Sea. Lloyd Royal Belge began life in 1895 as the Compagnie Maritime Belge du Congo to operate passenger and cargo services to the Belgian Congo. Until 1930 routes were confined to the Belgium-Congo service but being taken over that year the company name changed to Compagnie Maritime Belge (Lloyd Royal) and new services were started to North and South America and the Far East.
ShelfmarkPhot.med.107
Acquired on04/08/08
AuthorBible
TitleLa Bible qui est toute la saincte escriture du Vieil & du Nouveau Testament
ImprintLa Rochelle: Imprimerie de H. Haultin par Corneille Hertman
Date of Publication1616
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is a rare, finely printed and illustrated French Protestant bible from La Rochelle with an interesting early Scottish provenance. The bible, printed in small Roman type, imitates the great Estienne folio Bibles of the previous century. All Protestant printing of this period in France is rare as it was expressly forbidden by the edict of Nantes except in those provincial towns where Protestantism was allowed. After the siege of La Rochelle in 1627-28 during the Protestant revolt Protestant bibles were preserved in France clandestinely. This bible is bound in a contemporary red morocco which may be in a French binding style but the somewhat cruder material and execution may point to it being Scottish. The marks of provenance indicate that it belonged to the Wemyss family in Scotland and in particular to one or two women in the family. There are three inscriptions in two 17th-century hands: "Jean Wemyss" on front free end-paper, "Janna Wemyss" in the same hand on the following leaf, "Forfar" on verso of title page in different hand. "L I W" is blind-stamped at centre of front and back boards of the binding. The Jean/Janna Wemyss inscribed on the free endpapers is either Jean Gray (d. 1640), the wife of John Wemyss, 1st Earl of Wemyss (1586-1649), or her granddaughter, Lady Jean Wemyss (d. 1715), eldest daughter of David Wemyss, second earl of Wemyss. Lady Jean Wemyss' eldest son was Archibald Douglas, who became 1st Earl of Forfar in 1661, which could explain the "Forfar" inscription on the verso of the title page.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2899
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorClaude, Jean
TitleLa Defense De La Reformation Contre Le Live Intitulé Prejugez Legitimes Contre Les Calvinistes
ImprintRouen: Jean Lucas, demeurant à Rouen rue aux Juifs, proche lHotel de Ville
Date of Publication1673
LanguageFrench
NotesThe author, Jean Claude, was a French Protestant Minister who wrote fiercely against the persecution of Protestants in France. This work is aimed at Pierre Nicoles attack on the Calvinists. The item is particularly interesting because of its provenance. On the inside front board is the book-plate of the Earl of Kintore with the motto Quae Amissa Salva.On the verso of the inside flyleaf is the ownership inscription Veritas Vincit, Kintore 1703, written in a clear bold hand in black ink. The bookplate is that of a descendant of Sir John Keith, who was the first to hold the Earldom of Kintore. A hero of the civil wars, he held Dunnottar Castle against Cromwell in 1650 and had a principal hand in preserving the regalia of Scotland from falling into the hands of Cromwell. During Cromwells usurpation the regalia had been carried to Dunnottar Castle as a place of safety. During the siege of the castle 1651-52 Sir John Keith had the regalia safely conveyed away and deposited underground in the Church at Kinneff. Pretending that the Scottish Regalia were in his possession, he sailed to France. He was apprehended and examined on his return but declared that he had carried the regalia off. In consideration of his services saving the regalia he was he was appointed hereditary Knight Marischal of Scotland upon the Restoration in 1660. In 1677 he was raised to the dignity of the peerage by the title of Earl of Kintore, Lord Keith of Inverurie and Keith Hall. He was further admiited to a member of the Privy Council in 1689. Sir John Keith died in 1714, having supported the Treaty of Union in the Parliament of Scotland seven years earlier. He, and his descendants, were leading figures in Scotland throughout the eighteenth century and are reckoned to be the chiefs of the Keith Clan today.
ShelfmarkRB.m.617
Reference SourcesDNB, Debretts peerage, The Scots peerage, The peerage of Scotland.
Acquired on01/04/05
AuthorAndreini, Giovanni Battista.
TitleLa Florinda, Tragedia
ImprintMilan: Girolamo Bordone
Date of Publication1606
LanguageItalian
NotesRare first edition of this illustrated tragedy, the first work for the stage and the only tragedy by Giovanni Battista Andreini (1579-1654), regarded as the most important Italian dramatist of the 17th century. Andreini is considered especially important as a link between the Commedia dell' arte tradition, with its mixing of dialects and improvisational tendencies, and the emerging genre of opera. The tragedy is set in a Scottish forest (pictured on an illustrated plate), with the plot centering on a domestic tragedy cocnerning Ircano king of Scotland and his wife Florinda, countess of "Angusa" (Angus?). Tha play ends typically with a succession of suicides.
ShelfmarkRB.m.678
Acquired on07/07/08
AuthorDavis, D.
TitleLadies and gentlemen, the contents of this bill are worthy your attention. Comfortable walking. D. Davis, (to be consulted at Mrs. Young's, No.5, College-street, Edinburgh,) the well known extractor of hard and soft corns, bunnions [sic] on the great toes, root and branch, without the least pain or drawing blood ....
Imprint[Edinburgh] : Schaw, printer, Lawnmarket,
Date of Publicationc. 1810
LanguageEnglish
NotesPrinted ephemera from the hand-press era of printing are particularly scarce, so this Edinburgh-printed handbill from the early 19th century is a welcome addition to the Library's collections. It advertises the medical services of one D. Davis, "well-known extractor of hard and soft corns, bunnions on the great toes". For potential clients in Edinburgh he provides information on his success in rectifying all manner of foot complaints, rendering the patients "able to walk immediately, although they may have been afflicted many years & he has arrived from Hull, with great testimonials from several highly honourable ladies and gentleman, from the year 1796 to the present period, and is highly recommended in the town of Sunderland; also in the city of Lincoln, Louth, Boston, Gainsbro', Doncaster, Swansey, Carmarthen&"
ShelfmarkAP.3.211.20
Acquired on03/06/11
AuthorGibb, J. Taylor.
TitleLand of Burns: Mauchline town and district.
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication[1911]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare Mauchline-ware book signed by the author J. Taylor Gibb. The binding is 'made of wood from the old United Presbyterian Church, Mauchline' which was built in 1793 and demolished in 1884. Mauchline was one of a number of Ayrshire towns where during the nineteenth century, snuff boxes, tea-caddies, napkin rings and cigar cases were made of wood - sycamore or oak. Because of the dominant position of W. and A. Smith in Mauchline in the trade, these wooden objects were referred to as Mauchline ware. The beautifully-crafted sold in vast quantities not only in Britain but throughout Europe and the British Empire until the 1930s. Robert Burns's association with the town - he lived there with Jean Armour and composed some of his most famous poems locally - meant that many objects were decorated with portraits of the poet. From the 1860s photographs were applied as a decoration to many items of Mauchline ware. It is possible that this binding was made at the Caledonian Box Works founded in Lanark in 1866 by Alexander Brown a keen photographer and an acquaintance of George Washington Wilson.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.878
Reference SourcesBaker, John. Mauchline ware and associated Scottish souvenir ware. (Shire Album 140) 1985. HP2.85.3149
Acquired on08/05/02
AuthorAnderson, William
TitleLandscape Lyrics
Imprint[London]
Date of Publication1838
LanguageEnglish
NotesWilliam Anderson (1805-1866) was born at Edinburgh. His maternal grandfather was the author of the 'Natural History of the Mineral Kingdom' and his brother John was the historian of the house of Hamilton. Apart from newspaper contributions, his first publication was 'Poetical Sketches' in 1833. By 1838 he was living in London where he moved in literary circles. Later he returned to Scotland, continuing to publish and working for Scottish newspapers. The DNB characterizes Anderson's poetry as 'generally sweet and tuneful' but 'not characterized by much merit of a literary kind'. These 'Landscape Lyrics' are typical mid-19th century verse in their style and subject. This copy, however, is of particular interest, being the author's proof copy of the first edition, without title page or plates. As the bookseller's catalogue says, 'These pleasantly messy proofs were evidently corrected currente calamo as they came off the press'. As such, they are a good example of writing and publishing practices of the period, and complement the Library's holdings of publisher's archives in this regard. A copy of the publication in its final state is at AB.8.83.5, which would make an interesting comparison.
ShelfmarkAPS.4.204.47
Reference SourcesDNB; Bookseller's catalogue.
Acquired on26/01/04
AuthorDe Monvel, Roger Boutet.
TitleLe Bon Anglais.
ImprintParis: Devambez
Date of Publicationc.1918
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is one of three works for children with text by Roger Boutet de Monvel and 'pochoir' (stencilled) illustrations by Guy Arnoux published during the later years of First World War. The other titles were 'Nos Freres d'Amerique' and 'Le Carnet d'un Permissionaire'. They were seemingly designed to create a positive impression of their allies among French children and show soldiers in a variety of peace-time settings. Included are two illustrations of Scots - one depicting the Black Watch, the second 'Le Bon Ecossais', which shows a kilted soldier surrounded by flag-waving children. Arnoux (1886-1951) illustrated some 80 books during his lifetime. He studied with the designer Paul Poiret and was a frequent contributer to the fashion magazine 'Gazette du Bon Ton'. In 1921 he was appointed official artist of the French Navy.
ShelfmarkFB.s.889
Acquired on25/09/06
AuthorJohn Gibson Lockhart
TitleLe Ministre Ecossais, ou le Veuvage d' Adam Blair
ImprintParis: Charles Gosselin
Date of Publication1822
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is an unrecorded French translation of Lockhart's controversial work "Some Passages in the Life of Mr. Adam Blair, Minister of the Gospel at Cross-Meikle". The first English edition was published in Edinburgh in the same year. The identity of the translator is unknown; he/she is referred to on the title page as the translator of "Edouard en Ecosse". This work is presumably the translation of David Carey's "Lochiel; or, the Field of Culloden" by 'baron Vel', which also appeared in 1822. "Le Ministre ecossais", published by Gosselin who also published translations of Walter Scott, was clearly aimed at enthusiastic French readers of Scott and all things Scottish. "Some Passages in the Life ..." was Lockhart's second novel and is generally regarded as his best. It was based on a true story that Lockhart heard from his father about a widowed minister who had an affair with a married woman. Lockhart was criticised for his immorality in recounting the tale; some of the disapproval may also have stemmed from the lack of a happy ending in the novel - the real 'Adam Blair' minister was deposed in 1746, but went on to marry his mistress and was eventually accepted back into the church. This three-volume set is from the library of a French noblewoman Diane-Adelaide Damas d' Antigny, madame de Simiane (1761-1835), former mistress of the marquis de Lafayette, which was housed in the Chateau de Cirey in Champagne.
ShelfmarkAB.1.213.153-154
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on31/05/13
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