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 735 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 735:

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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
AuthorSella, Vittorio
Title[Mountain photographs : 23 gelatin-silver prints]
Date of Publication[ca. 1880-1905]
NotesPhotographic views of the Alps and the Himalaya, taken by Vittorio Sella during the last decades of the 19th and the first decade of the 20th centuries. Sella (1859-1943) was regarded by contemporaries as the finest mountain photographer of his day and his reputation has scarcely diminished since. As well as being a photographer he was an accomplished climber - he made the first winter traverses of both Mt. Blanc and the Matterhorn and he accompanied the Duke of the Abruzzi on several of the latter's pioneering climbing expeditions. He climbed in Africa, Alaska and the Caucasus as well as in the Alps and the Himalaya.
ShelfmarkPhot.la.3
Acquired on31/10/01
AuthorBinning, Hugh, 1627-1653
TitleMr. Hugo Binnnings Predikatien, over dese texten; I Johannis 1 en I Johannis 2
ImprintAmsterdam : Joh. Boekholt
Date of Publication1690
LanguageDutch
NotesRare first (?) Dutch edition of Scottish Presbyterian author Binning's "Fellowship with God, or 28 Sermons on the 1st epistle of John chapters 1 & 2", first published in Edinburgh in 1671. Although Binning never visited Holland during his short life, his works clearly had a deep impact on Protestant theologians in the country, judging by the the number of editions of his works that appeared in Dutch during the 17th and 18th centuries. Not found in HPB or OCLC
ShelfmarkRB.s.2326
Acquired on26/05/04
AuthorWalker, Mary, Lady
TitleMunster village, a novel.
ImprintLondon: Robson & Co.,
Date of Publication1778
LanguageEnglish
Notes"Munster Village" is the best known work of one of Scotland's earliest female novelists. This is a copy of the very rare first edition; only one other copy is recorded in the UK. The author, Lady Mary Walker (1736-1822), was born in Fife, the youngest child of the fifth Earl of Leven. She married an Edinburgh-based physician, Dr James Walker, in 1762, but the marriage seems to have broken down after a few years; in later life she said she was forced to turn to writing to clothe, feed and educate her children. Between 1775 and 1782 she wrote four works in English, three of which were published. "Munster Village" was her best-received novel. In it, the idealistic young heroine, Lady Frances, the daughter of Lord Munster, refuses offers of marriage until she has founded a utopian village. Her village contains libraries, a botanical garden and an academy for scholars, with places reserved for young women as well as men. The didactic and mildly feminist tone of the novel - Mary Walker was a firm believer in a woman's right to an education and in intellectual equality in marriage - was in keeping with her other surviving works. In the 1780s Mary Walker moved to France with a new partner, George Hamilton, a landowner with an estate in Jamaica. It is not clear whether she actually married him, but she did have two children by him. While living in France Mary arranged for a French translation of "Munster Village" to be made, and she also published a novel in French, "La famille du duc de Popoli". Walker's works now seem very dated to the modern reader, but she does appear to have influenced two rather more successful female novelists of this era. Jane Austen borrowed from "Munster Village" the names of 'Eliza', 'Bennett', and 'Bingley' for "Pride and Prejudice". Similarly, Ann Radcliffe seems to have borrowed the name of the 'Marquis de Villeroi' for "The Mysteries of Udolpho" (1794) as well as certain character types, plot devices, and thematic concerns.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2780-2781
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on07/05/10
TitleMy Bible. Embellished with engravings
ImprintEdinburgh: John Elder
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare edition of a chapbook where the leaves are printed on one side only, although the pagination is continuous. It contains four-line verses, all ending with the line "My Bible" and paraphrasing different passages from the Bible. It was published between 1837 and 1844 by John Elder, who is also known for printing a slip ballad called "Alice Grey". The chapbook contains 8 wood-engraved illustrations which are hand-coloured in green and yellow. It is in its original printed wrappers with wood engravings to both covers.
ShelfmarkAPS.2.203.032
Reference SourcesSBTI
Acquired on23/06/03
AuthorCardinal John Henry Newman
TitleMy campaign in Ireland
ImprintAberdeen: A. King & Co.
Date of Publication1896
LanguageEnglish
NotesPosthumously published six years after Cardinal Newman's death in 1890, "My campaign in Ireland" brings together in print form some of the key papers produced by Newman and colleagues in the 1850s in their efforts to establish the first Catholic university in Ireland (which would later become University College Dublin). Newman had become involved in the campaign for a university in 1851 as the Catholic Church sought to provide an alternative to the new non-denominational Queen's Colleges in Ireland established by the British government. Over the next few years he made several trips across to Ireland, having to overcome resistance to the project among some Irish bishops and nationalists. The university was eventually founded in 1854 with Newman becoming its first rector. He eventually resigned the post in 1858, finding his dual roles of provost of the Birmingham Oratory and rector of the university to be too demanding. The book was put together by Newman's secretary, friend and literary executor, Father William Paine Neville (1824-1905), possibly as part of an attempt to defend Newman's reputation, which had come under attack in the years following his death. Although the title page mentions that this is only Part 1, no further parts were published. The book also includes a separately paginated work at end "Note on Cardinal Newman's preaching and influence at Oxford". It was printed by Arthur King & Co., printers to Aberdeen University, but was only intended for private circulation. This particular copy was formerly part of the library of St.Augustine's Abbey in Ramsgate, Kent.
ShelfmarkAB.2.212.03
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on09/12/11
AuthorThomas Somerville
TitleMy own life and times 1741-1814.
ImprintEdinburgh: Edmonston & Douglas
Date of Publication1861
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an extra-illustrated copy of the memoir of Thomas Somerville, minister of Jedburgh and uncle of the famous scientic writer Mary Somerville. This copy bears the bookplate of William John Lee, presumably the son of the editor of Thomas Somerville's text, William Lee, a professor of Glasgow University. There are almost 200 prints and 19th-century photographs added to the volume. Of particular interest is the carte-de-visite photograph of Mary Somerville, bound in after p. 390 and a photograph of a marble bust of her. Thomas Somerville had first been Mary's uncle by marriage and subsequently her father-in-law, he gave her early encouragement and tuition.
ShelfmarkAB.2.208.20
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on20/05/08
AuthorCastera, Desiree de
TitleNarcisse, ou le Chateau d'Arabit
ImprintParis: Dentu, Imprimeur-Libraire, Palais du Tribunal, galeries de bois, no.240
Date of Publication1804
LanguageFrench
NotesThis rare and obscure French gothic novel with a Scottish setting begins with 'miss Narcisse', who has reached the age of eighteen without knowing anything of her origins. In the course of the novel, she uncovers the story of her own birth and the strange and romantic histories of other characters, recounted in a series of retrospective narratives and discoveries of packets of letters, until the happy ending which ties up all the strands. As a depiction of Scotland in European fiction before Scott's novels, it offers some interesting points. The history of how a noble family lost power and influence on the downfall of the Stuarts is linked not to Jacobite rebellions but to the execution of Charles I. While there is no explicit discussion of the religious affiliations of the characters, 'miss Narcisse' begins the novel being educated in a convent in the Highlands, and elsewhere a hermit, Pere Antoine, inhabits a grotto. Volume 3 contains an imitation of Ossianic bardic raptures, supposedly produced by one of the characters while in Wales, in homage to his Scottish love, with an authorial note explaining the connection to 'M. Mackferson' [sic]. Some care has been taken by de Castera with regard to the geographical setting, which seems to derive ultimately from the descriptions found in Blaeu's Atlas of 1654. While 'Chateau d'Arabit' seems fictional, it is located in 'Chanrie' (or Chanonry, now Fortrose) and may be based on Ormond Castle, and the other main fictional location, 'Rosenthall' manor, may derive from nearby Rosemarkie. Many of the Scottish placenames are accompanied by authorial notes explaining their location such as 'Innerlothe, otherwise Fort William, capital of Lochaber' (vol. 2, p.154). It would not be impossible to plot Narcisse's journeys on a map of Scotland - and one wonders if this is, in fact, what the author did. Finally, each volume comes with a frontispiece in which characters and buildings and landscapes are presented without any of what would soon become the defining markers of Scottishness such as tartan and baronial castles.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2760
Acquired on14/10/09
TitleNarrative of the loss of the Abeona, which was destroyed by fire, on the 25th of November, 1820 ... Compiled by some of the survivors.
ImprintSecond edition. Glasgow.
Date of Publication1821
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis narrative follows in a long tradition of providing an 'eye witness' account of a disaster and publishing it in pamphlet form. In this case, it provides a vivid description of the horrendous consequences of a sailor drawing rum from a barrel using a candle to light his way and resulting in a conflagration that devoured the Abeona and killed 112 passengers, most of them settlers who had embarked at Greenock with the intention of establishing a settlement at Algoa Bay near the Cape of Good Hope. There seem to have been two substantially different versions published in 1821: the present version Narrative of the loss of the Abeona, which was destroyed by fire, on the 25th November, 1820 ... when one hundred and twelve individuals perished. Compiled by some of the survivors. Second edition. Glasgow: Printed by James Starke, for Chalmers and Collins, 1821 (APS.2.200.002) and A brief narrative of the loss of the Abeona. Written chiefly by one of the survivors, A Sabbath school teacher on Board. Glasgow: Printed by Young & Gaillie for Archibald Lang, Bookseller, 1821 (APS.1.78.132). The first edition is shorter than the second and is written by a single author 'a sabbath school teacher' while the second and longer version seems to be the work of the original author and other survivors. It is substantially different and takes a more secular approach whilst the first is laced with that author's ecclesiastical leanings and imagery. Both are fascinating accounts, and complementary, the second edition providing a completely revised, extended and fuller text.
ShelfmarkAPS.2.200.002
Acquired on06/01/00
AuthorList, Friedrich
TitleNational system of poltical economy
ImprintPhiladelphia: J. B. Lippincott
Date of Publication1856
LanguageEnglish
NotesFriedrich List (1789-1846) is recognized today as one of the most influential trade theorists. He is also one of the most severe critics of the classical school of economics. He denounced Adam Smith and his disciples and held that free trade was an ideal that could only be achieved in the distant future. Unlike Smith, who argued that a nation's wealth lay in its capacity for commercial interchange, List held that a nation's wealth lay in the development of its own economic and productive resources. This is a copy of the very scarce first edition in English, and the first English translation of List's magnum opus, originally published in German in 1841.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2668
Acquired on02/07/07
AuthorRoe, Thomas
TitleNegotiations of Sir Thomas Roe, in his embassy to the Ottoman Porte, from the year 1621 to 1628 inclusive
ImprintPrinted by Samuel Richardson at the expence of the Society for the Encouragement of Learning
Date of Publication1740
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the diplomatic correspondence of Thomas Roe (1581?-1644) during the time that he was ambassador to the Ottoman Porte between the years 1621 and 1628. Roe was one of the most distinguished and successful diplomats of his day as well as being an accomplished scholar and a patron of learning. He was knighted in 1605 and was made an MP for Tamworth in 1614 and later for Cirencester in 1621. His permanent reputation was mainly secured by the success that attended his embassy in 1615 - 1618 to the court at Agra of the Great Mogul, JahangIr, the principal object of the mission being to obtain protection for an English factory at Surat. Upon becoming ambassador to the Porte in 1621 he distinguished himself with further successes. He obtained an extension of the privileges of the English merchants, concluded a treaty with Algiers in 1624, by which he secured the liberation of several hundred English captives, and gained the support, by an English subsidy, of the Transylvanian Prince Bethien Gabor for the European Protestant alliance and the cause of the Palatinate. The volume is bound in plain leather covers with an elaborately decorated spine featuring gilt floral patterns and gilt depictions of small garden animals such as bees, flies, spiders, snails and worms. Although the preface indicates that this is the first volume of the letters and negotiations of Sir Thomas Roe, no more volumes were actually published. An armorial bookplate on the verso of the t.p. indicates that it belonged to the Right Honourable Charles Viscount Bruce of Ampthill who was the son and heir of Thomas Earl of Ailesbury (1655? - 1741).
ShelfmarkRB.l.116
Reference SourcesESTC T33247
Acquired on08/05/02
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