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 406 to 420 of 753:

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AuthorScott, Walter.
TitleMatil'da Rokbi, poema v shesti knigakh. [Rokeby]
ImprintMoscow: V tipografii Avgusta Semena
Date of Publication1823
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is the rare first edition in Russian of Scott's English Civil War poem, "Rokeby". No copy has been traced in western European libraries. The two-volume translation, by an unidentified translator, is in prose. The first English edition of "Rokeby" appeared in 1813; it did not enjoy quite the spectacular success of the "Lady of the Lake" but was still a big seller. Like Scott's other works it was soon translated for readers on the Continent; a French translation was published in 1820 and a German translation in 1822, then this Russian translation of 1823. Scott was probably the most popular foreign author in Russia in the 19th century, the first Russian translation of his works, some extracts from "Ivanhoe", appeared as early as 1820. His influence can be seen not only in the development of the Russian historical novel, but also in the vogue for wearing tartan and dressing up as characters from his novels. Of the three great influences on the celebrated Russian author Alexander Pushkin from European literature, Byron, Shakespeare and Scott, the influence of Scott is most marked in Pushkin's prose, particularly the historical fictions. The verso of the title in volume 1 states that the book was on sale at the bookshop of Vasily Loginov; his ticket is also pasted here to the front pastedown. This copy appears to be in its original binding.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2826-2827
Reference Sources"The Caledonian Phalanx: Scots in Russia", National Library of Scotland, 1987
Acquired on07/10/11
AuthorBarclay, John
TitleMaximo potentissimo que monarchae, Iacobo primo ... carmen gratulatorium
ImprintLutetiae Parisiorum [Paris]
Date of Publication1603
LanguageLatin
NotesA very rare copy (there have hitherto been only two recorded copies of this work, neither of them in Scotland) of an early work by John Barclay (1582-1621), one of the foremost neo-Latin authors of his day. Although Barclay himself was born and brought up in France, his father was Scottish and he himself was proud of his Scottish ancestry. His first published work appeared in 1601 and two years later he composed this poem congratulating James VI on his accession to the throne of England and on the Union of the Crowns. The timing of the poem was propitious. In 1606 the Barclay family moved to England and Barclay was successful in gaining royal favour and financial support for his literary works, as well as carrying out diplomatic missions for James on the Continent. Barclay remained at James's court until 1615, when he moved to the papal court in Rome. The widespread popularity of Barclay's works throughout Europe is a testament to the continuing importance of Latin as a language of literature and culture in the early 17th century. The acquisition of this particular work is a worthy addition to the Library's extensive holdings of editions of Barclay's works.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2599
Reference SourcesDNB Shaaber "Checklist of Check-list of works of British authors printed abroad, in languages other than English, to 1641" (New York, 1975)
Acquired on27/04/05
AuthorMcKinlay, John
TitleMcKinlay's Journal of Exploration in the Interior of Australia (Burke Relief Expedition)
ImprintMelbourne: F. F. Bailliere
Date of Publication1862
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn McKinlay (1819-1872) was born at Sandbank, on Holy Loch, Argyll, Scotland. He was educated at Dalinlongart School and immigrated with his brother Alexander in 1836 to New South Wales, where his uncle was a landholder at Goulburn. After 1840 he moved to the Victorian side of the Murray/Darling area, from where he explored the country in New South Wales and South Australia towards Lake Frome and earned a reputation as an expert bushman. In 1861, McKinlay was the South Australian government's choice to lead an expedition to ascertain the fate of Robert O'Hara Burke and William Wills, who had failed to return from their expedition to cross Australia south to north. This is the first edition of McKinlay's diary written during his expedition to locate Burke and his men. This he did not do, finding only the remains of William Gray, the first victim of the expedition. Under the impression that he had found the graves of all the leaders of the expedition, he carried out the second part of his instruction and explored the country between Eyre's Creek and Central Mount Stuart. All his party survived although they had been reduced to dire straits, having had to eat most of the camels and horses. Ultimately, it was McKinlay's great ingenuity and perseverance which saw his men through to safety.
ShelfmarkAB.3.209.23
Reference SourcesOxford DNB
Acquired on22/05/09
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
AuthorMonro, Donald
TitleMedicine d'armee
ImprintA Paris: Chez P.F. Didot le jeune
Date of Publication1769
LanguageFrench
NotesDonald Monro (1727-1802) was the second son of Alexander Monro, the first professor of anatomy and surgery at Edinburgh University. He was educated under the care of his father and graduated M.D. in 1753. In December 1760 during the Seven Year war (1756-1763) he was commissioned as army physician to the British military hospital in Germany. He published "An account of the diseases which were most frequent in the British military hospitals in Germany" together with an essay on the means of preserving the health of soldiers, and conducting military hospitals, in 1764. A classic of preventive and social medicine, this is undoubtely his most important work, providing valuable descriptions of campaign diseases. This is a copy of the first French edition, revised and expanded by Achille le Beque de Presle.
ShelfmarkABS.2.204.019
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on20/05/04
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleMeditation vpon the Lords Prayer
ImprintLondon: b. Bonham Norton & Iohn Bill
Date of Publication1619
LanguageEnglish
NotesAttractive copy of the first edition, STC 14384. King James's straightforward exposition of the Lord's Prayer is dedicated to the Duke of Buckingham, as one who has no time to spend on complex and lengthy prayer. Details: octavo, pp. [16], 146, sig. A-K8, L1. With notably pedantic explanatory annotations in contemporary hand with pointing fingers and underlining. Title page slightly stained; lacks sig. L2 (colophon). For more information, see on the companion volume RB.s.2081(2), Two Meditations of the Kings Maiestie (A Paterne for a Kings inauguration), which is in the same binding and has notes in the same hand; both were apparently in the Royal Library.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2081(1)
Acquired on04/10/00
AuthorPaton, J. Noel, 1821-1901
TitleMembers of the Peace Society: City of Edinburgh Branch
ImprintEdinburgh: A Ritchie
Date of Publication1861
LanguageEnglish
NotesPrint lithographed in sanguine, depicting a group of the 1st City of Edinburgh Artillery Volunteers on duty at Edinburgh castle. The tone of the print is decidedly humorous; rather than being alert at their posts one volunteer smokes a cigar whilst admiring with two others the view across the city to Calton Hill, another is reading The Times, and a stereotypical Highlander is spinning a yarn to two his companions as a little girl listens with rapt attention. The print reveals that Paton himself had formerly served as a captain in the artillery volunteers at a time when voluntary service in the armed forces was in vogue, hence the patriotic motto on the cannon in the foreground and the caption at the top of the print. Whether the characters in the print are based on former comrades is open to question. Coincidentally the year of this print, 1861, saw the establishment of that famous Edinburgh ritual, the firing of the one o' clock gun. Paton was born in Dunfermline but trained at the Royal Academy in London and became a popular artist, very much in the accepted Victorian style, for his rendering of scenes from literature and history and also for his fairy paintings.
ShelfmarkS.Sh.S.1.204.11
Reference SourcesScheck "Directory of Lithographic Printers" p. 97
Acquired on27/05/04
TitleMemento mori
ImprintEdinburgh: Alexander Alison
Date of Publication[1738]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an interesting piece of printed ephemera from mid-18th century Edinburgh. In Britain printed funeral invitations - called burial letters - are known from at least the late seventeenth century. Many, like this, exhort the reader to 'Memento mori' - remember that you must die. Usually printers would produce ready-printed non-specific invitations on which the name of the deceased and the time and place of the funeral would be entered by hand. Mr. Simson must have reasonably well-off to have been able to afford to have his invitations fully printed . These invitations were usually hand-delivered by servants or people specially employed for the task. In large burghs delivering such letters became a recognized occupation. Woodcut invitations such as this tended to use stock narrative or allegorical compositions. The images - the grim reaper, the skull and crossbones, the cortege - relate not only to the death of the person in question but also as reminder of one's own mortality. Little is known of David Simson apart from the fact that he was employed in the legal profession. The Library holds another example of such woodcut imagery (without letterpress but in manuscript) at APS.el.150.
ShelfmarkAPS.2.205.005
Reference SourcesLlewellyn, Nigel, The art of death. (London, V&A, 1991) GME.1/20 Hatches, matches and despatches: catalogue of exhibition held at General Register House 1996-97. GRP.1999.2.4 Gordon, Anne. Death is for the living. (Edinburgh, 1984) H4.84.2025
Acquired on06/09/04
AuthorRev. Alexander Andrew
TitleMemoir of Dr. John Rankine.
ImprintGlasgow: Maurice Ogle & Company.
Date of Publication1866
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn Rankine was a Scottish homeopathic doctor and early settler in Australia. Rankine arrived in South Australia on the ship Fairfield on May 4, 1839 after sailing 159 days from Liverpool. Among the ship's 105 passengers were ten members of his family and a substantial number of other families who had followed him. Rankine was responsible for the name of the town Strathalbyn in South Australia and in 1841 Andrew Rankine, son of William Rankine, became the very first child born in that town. By the end of the 1840s the Rankines had acquired large landholdings and built impressive homes on them. Dr John Rankine became a JP in 1849 and later a member of the South Australian Parliament. The book contains much detail concerning Rankine's life: emigrating to Australia; his time there; return to UK; travels in Europe; travels in Scotland; becoming involved in homeopathy; renting Kinnaird House, Larbert, and many people visiting for cures; practising work; London; settling again in Glasgow; religious involvement with the Free Church; unpublished extracts from a lecture given to the Glasgow Homeopathic Institute in the winter of 1860 ... etc. The only other extant copy of this title is held in the National Library of Medicine in Washington.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2721
Acquired on18/09/08
AuthorDefoe, Daniel
TitleMemoirs of Majr. Alexander Ramkins, a Highland officer
ImprintDublin: Printed for Will. Smith
Date of Publication1741
NotesThis is a copy of the rare Dublin edition of the narrative purportedly written by a Scottish Jacobite languishing in a French prison. These memoirs have in fact been widely attributed to none other than Daniel Defoe, partly on stylistic grounds and partly on the coincidence between the hero's 'twenty eight years service' and the 'eight and twenty years' spent by Robinson Crusoe on his desert island. There is also the fact that the fictitious Ramkins at the end of the pamphlet declares his 'intire and unlimited obedience to the present constitution'. This fictitious character was born in the north of Scotland in 1672 and was educated at Aberdeen University. He participated in most of the major Jacobite battles --Killiecrankie, the Boyne, Limerick, Aughrim before retiring to France. It is a rattling good tale --though it is not clear why it was resurrected in Ireland 20 years after it was first printed. The first edition was printed in London in 1719 and it was re-issued a year later with a new title page beginning 'The life and surprizing adventures adventures ...' - exactly as the title of Crusoe's tale began. An edition was also printed in Cork in 1741 (copy at Hall.187.j) but only one other copy of this Dublin edition is known (held at the Royal Irish Academy).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2300
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on28/11/02
AuthorGraeme, Hugh
TitleMemorial anent the moss culture
ImprintEdinburgh: Hamilton, Balfour and Neil
Date of Publication1776
LanguageEnglish
NotesHugh Graeme's programme for the improvement of Scottish agriculture was based on methods to make mossy soils more productive. Appended at the end of the work is a testimonial from a number of his contemporaries stating that "Mr. Graeme can be of the most singular use & to his country, in managing farms or schools for teaching agriculture in the Highlands." Little is known of the author, Hugh Graeme. Apparently he was from Argomrey (or Argomery) in Stirlingshire, a part of Flanders Moss. The method he used to make his fields productive is not specified, though it seems he did encounter suspicion, if not downright opposition, from his neighbours. Graeme is extremely critical of his peers for their lack of support for his enterprise. They are apparently willing to promote herring fisheries and linen manufacturing, yet "they would hardly venture a shilling upon a tolerable good land security & where the subject can't so easily perish." Graeme was sufficiently discouraged by his contemporaries' reaction to abandon his experiment. Graeme's improvements were just one example of the improvements and experiments that took place in Scottish agriculture during the eighteenth century. Many improvements were imported from England, but wealthy landowners in Scotland were also proactive, establishing in 1723 the Honourable Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture in Scotland. Only one other copy of this pamphlet is held in public institutions. The National Library also holds "A letter to a gentleman in Edinburgh concerning Mr. Graeme of Argomery's improvements of moss", also published in Edinburgh, in 1756.
ShelfmarkABS.2.205.009(1)
Reference SourcesT. Bedford Franklin, A history of Scottish farming. London, 1952.
Acquired on10/06/05
AuthorJack, Gilbert.
TitleMetaphysicae seu Primae philosophicae institutiones [bound with] Institutiones physicae.
ImprintSchleusingen: Reiffenberg
Date of Publication1638
LanguageLatin
NotesThis bound volume contains two scarce early editions of works by the Scottish philosopher and physician Gilbert Jack (Jacchaeus) (1578-1628). Jack was born in Aberdeen and studied at the city's Marischal College; he went on to study on the Continent, first, from 1598, at the Lutheran University of Helmstadt and from 1601 at Herborn, where he was appointed professor extraordinarius. In 1603 he moved to the university at Leiden in the Netherlands, where he remained for the rest of his life, studying and teaching philosophy and physics. He became a friend of leading Dutch intellectuals such as Caspar Barlaeus, Hugo Grotius, and G. J. Vossius. Jack was an Aristotelian philosopher and these two textbooks were based on his interpretation of Aristotle's doctrines. "Primae philosophicae institutiones" drew on his philosophy lectures at Leiden and was first published in 1616. This particular edition was printed in the Thuringian town of Schleusingen for a publisher in the nearby university town of Jena. "Institutiones physicae" was first published in 1615, this is the third edition published in Amsterdam in 1644 by Elzevir.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2830(1-2)
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on02/12/11
AuthorClarendon, Edward Hyde, Earl of
TitleMiscellaneous works of the right honourable Edward Earl of Clarendon
Date of Publication1751
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a superb copy of the second edition of Clarendon's miscellaneous works from the library of Sir James Colquhoun of Luss (1741-1805). Although the book was printed in 1751, it was probably bound some decades later. The binding of tree calf is particularly striking and is in pristine condition with yellow stained edges and blind-tooled turn-in edges. Among booksellers the name Colquhoun has now become a byword for books beautifully bound, in 'mint' condition. The bookplate of the second baronet of Luss, Sir James Colquhoun is on the upper pastedown, with a library shelfmark in ink. He was the sheriff-depute of Dumbartonshire and was one of the principal clerks of session. Little is known of his book collecting activities, though he was a friend and correspondent of Horace Walpole and a connoisseur and collector of paintings, engravings, ancient coins and china. The book was part of the library at Rossdhu until 1984, when it was sold as part of a lot (65 -with Clarendon's History of the rebellion and Civil Wars, 1732) at Christie's and Edmiston's sale. It is a significant addition to the library's collection of now some twenty volumes from this Scottish country house library. Although the book is described as the 'second edition' on the title page, it is in fact the first edition of this work reissued from the original sheets of 1727 (which were also reissued in 1747), then titled A collection of several tracts. This edition is not in itself rare (31 libraries listed on ESTC), but there are no other copies of this edition recorded in Scotland. Edward Hyde, the first Earl of Clarendon (1609-1674) served as an adviser to Charles I and was until 1667 Charles II's chief minister. He is best remembered today for his monumental History of the rebellion (1702-1704), in which he consistently expressed his opposition to any compromise with the Scottish factions.
ShelfmarkBdg.l.44
Reference SourcesChristie's & Edmiston, Glasgow, sale catalogue 22 March 1984: Important books from the library of Sir Ivar Colquhoun of Luss ... removed from Rossdhu. AZA.60d Rossdhu: an illustrated guide to the home of the chiefs of the Clan Colquhoun since 12th century. HP3.92.8
Acquired on09/04/02
TitleMontrose illustrated in five views with plan of the town and several vignettes, to which are added a few explanatory remarks.
ImprintMontrose
Date of Publication1840
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a pristine set of exemplars of early lithographic printing in Scotland, of which only one other copy is recorded in Britain. According to David Schenck, this volume appears to have been a prototype for a series of views drawn by James Gordon Jun. and published by J. & D. Nichol of Montrose under the general title 'City & towns of Scotland illustrated'. Views of Aberdeen, Perth, Glasgow and Dumfries were subsequently published. Lithography did not begin in Scotland until 1820, over two decades after its discovery in Germany. However Edinburgh and Glasgow soon developed into significant centres of lithographic printing in a British context. The lithographer responsible for this work is William Nichol, who was based in Hanover Street, Edinburgh, probably related to the Montrose publishers of this work. He wrote the entry for 'Lithography' in the seventh edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, published in 1841.
ShelfmarkRB.el.4
Acquired on06/12/00
AuthorByron, George Gordon Byron, Baron.
TitleMorgante maggiore.
ImprintParis: Galignani
Date of Publication1825
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first separate edition of Byron's translation of the first canto of the "Morgante", a poem by Italian Renaissance poet Luigi Pulci (1432-1484). Pulci's epic tale concerns the unlikely friendship between the heroic Orlando and the pagan giant, Morgante, who converts to Christianity and becomes his loyal follower. The two have many adventures before both meeting untimely ends. Byron wrote his translation when staying in Ravenna in Italy in late 1819/early 1820. Byron had moved there from Venice as a result of his affair with Countess Teresa Guiccioli, renting the upper floor of Palazzo Guiccioli with the assent of Teresa's husband. During his time in Ravenna he worked at a remarkable rate, producing this work as well as two new cantos of "Don Juan" and completing "The Prophecy of Dante". "Morgante Maggiore" was first published in the fourth number of the short-lived literary periodical "The Liberal", edited by Byron and Leigh Hunt. This edition bears the imprint of A. and W. Galignani of Paris who specialised in publishing English-language books for the Continent. It includes 12 pages of advertisements for new publications "at one-third of the London prices".
ShelfmarkAP.1.212.14
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on29/07/11
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