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.
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Important Acquisitions 451 to 465 of 735:
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|Title||Vergleichung des Zustandes und der Kraefte des Menschen, mit dem Zustande und den Kraeften der Thiere. |
|Imprint||Frankfurt und Leipzig: J. Dodsley, |
|Date of Publication||1768|
|Notes||This is the first German translation of "A comparative view of the state and faculties of man with those of the animal world". The author, John Gregory (1724-1773) was a Scottish physician and writer, best known for his "A Father's Legacy to his Daughters" - a didactic work on the education of girls. "A comparative view" was first published in 1765 and grew out of papers presented to meetings of the 'Wise Club' in Aberdeen, the Aberdeen Philosophical Society, which Gregory had co-founded with his colleague Thomas Reid in 1758. The identity of the translator, mentioned on the title page as "A.M.J.B.St.", is not known.|
|Title||Antitortor Bellarmianus Ioannes Gordonius Scotus pseudodecanus et capellanus Calvinisticus.|
|Imprint||Ingolstadt: Adam Sartorius|
|Date of Publication||1611|
|Notes||In the early 1600s King James VI/I found himself embroiled in a feud with the Italian cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), which led to a 'battle of the books', to which this publication belongs. While still in Scotland James had made secret overtures to the king of France and the pope, hinting at better treatment for Catholics and even conversion, in the hope that they would support his claim to the English throne. In 1600 he sent an envoy to Rome with letters for the pope and various cardinals, including Bellarmine, a Jesuit and one of the most important figures in the Catholic Church of the period. Bellarmine subsequently presented James, probably via the French ambassador to Scotland, with an elaborately-bound four-volume set of his defence of the Catholic faith "De controversiis Christianae fidei Bellarmine" (vol. 1 of this set is now in NLS: Bdg.m.89). Bellarmine's hopes for James were to be disappointed. After the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, the English parliament the following year passed an act which could require any citizen to take an oath of allegiance, entailing a denial of the pope's authority over the king. In 1607, when an English archpriest George Blackwell eventually took the oath and wrote a letter to the English Catholic clergy exhorting them to do likewise, the Cardinal wrote a letter to Blackwell deploring his subscription to a heretical oath. James in turn attacked Bellarmine in 1608 in a Latin treatise "Triplici nodo, triplex cuneus", which the scholarly cardinal answered, making fun of the defects of the royal Latin prose. James replied with a second attack in more careful style, "Apologia pro iuramento fidelitatis", in which he posed as the defender of primitive and true Christianity. Bellarmine responded again setting off a war of words between the two men's supporters, including the Scottish dean of Salisbury, John Gordon (1544-1619). Anxious to curry favour with James, Gordon published in 1610 a polemical poem "Antitortobellarminus, siue Refutatio calumniarum, mendaciorum, et imposturarum laico-Cardinalis Bellarmini". The initial word Antitorto... was derived from the name of the Cardinal's chaplain, Matteo Torti, under whose name the Cardinal had earlier written pseudonymously. This book is a response to Gordon by the German Jesuit writer, Jacob Gretser (1562-1625), who alters Gordon's punning title to suit his own ends. Gretser responds in kind to Gordon's Latin abusive verse with some abuse of his own. A book stamp and inscription on the title page shows that this particular copy was formerly held in the Jesuit college of San Hermenegildo in Seville, Spain. It was later part of the collection of the bibliographer and scholar Cosmo Alexander Gordon (1886-1965).|
|Title||Essay on the origin and principles of Gothic architecture|
|Imprint||From the transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh|
|Date of Publication||1797|
|Notes||Sir James Hall (1761-1832) gave this paper to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 6 April 1797. A geologist and chemist, who was actually President of the Royal Society, Hall argued that the characteristic shapes of Gothic architecture had their roots in the forms of nature. The plates which illustrate this volume show Hall's attempts to demonstrate the evolution of design from simple construction based on the natural forms of wood to the elaboration of Gothic stone arches. Hall went as far as to experiment with building a miniature Gothic church out of pieces of wood, which took root and grew. Such interdisciplinary work, of relevance to the arts and the sciences, is now seen as highly important.
This is an uncommon book (the expanded version of 1813 seems to be more common). Our copy is particularly fine, being a presentation copy inscribed to the Bishop of Durham, and bearing the bishop's bookplate. Bound in tree calf, with the spine gilt with various architectural tools.|
|Reference Sources||ESTC T101922|
|Author||Hall, James, Sir|
|Title||Essay on the origin, history and principles of Gothic architecture|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Printed by Andrew Balfour|
|Date of Publication||1813|
|Notes||This is an unrecorded copy of Hall's privately published influential work on Gothic architecture. An edition (with 150 p. as opposed to 74 p. in this edition) was also published in London by John Murray in the same year. The etched frontispiece is signed 'W. & D. Lizars Edinr.' and shows a miniature Gothic cathedral built by Hall in wattle-work.
The first exposition of his theory - that the origins of Gothic architecture can be traced to simple wattle buildings - was published as a 27 p. paper with 6 plates read before the Royal Society of Edinburgh (of which he was also President) in 1797.
Hall was born in Dunglass, East Lothian in 1761. He studied as geologist for many years on the continent and submitted papers to the Royal Society of Edinburgh on the subject. Between 1807 and 1812 he was an MP for a borough in Cornwall.|
|Title||A treatise of midwifery. 2nd edition.|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Charles Elliot|
|Date of Publication||1785|
|Notes||Alexander Hamilton (1739-1802) from Fordoun, Kincardineshire, spent his working life in Edinburgh, becoming deacon of the College of Surgeons and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. In 1772 he was elected physician to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, becoming a renowned practitioner of midwifery and a lecturer on the subject. He was eventually appointed professor of midwifery in the University of Edinburgh, but his progressive views on the study of medicine occasionally brought him into conflict with the more conservative members of the Edinburgh medical establishment. His son James followed in his footsteps as professor of midwifery at Edinburgh University. Hamilton wrote a number of treatises on the theory and practice of midwifery, and on the treatment of the diseases of women and infants. This is an unrecorded variant second edition of his second work on midwifery, which is bibliographically complete but which lacks the brief preface usually found in extant copies of this edition. Of particular interest is the final section which lists various medicines, drinks and foods which can be prepared for "lying-in women".|
|Author||Hamilton, Clayton Meeker|
|Title||On the trail of Stevenson|
|Imprint||Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Co.|
|Date of Publication||1915|
|Notes||This is the uncensored first issue, first edition of Clayton Meeker Hamilton's 1915 biography of Robert Louis Stevenson. Hamilton (1881-1946) was an American drama critic who had edited the 1910 Longman's English Classics edition of Treasure Island. His biography in its original form is particularly important as it is the first attempt to depict Stevenson 'warts and all'. In contrast to the sanitised image of Stevenson (d. 1894) presented by his official biographer Graham Balfour in 1901, Hamilton was able to draw on detailed information provided by the author's former friends and acquaintances to provide a new perspective on his life and colourful character. Writing a biography of one of Scotland's most famous authors deemed suitable for public consumption was, however, no easy task. Balfour's official biography was only written after Stevenson's friend and mentor, Sir Sidney Colvin, had to give up the project following some acrimonious rows with Stevenson's stepson, Lloyd Osbourne, and the author's formidable widow, Fanny. Presumably only after the death of Fanny Stevenson in February 1914 did Hamilton think it was safe to publish his book - excerpts of "On the trail of Stevenson" appeared in 'The Bookman' journal in late 1914 and early 1915 - as it was, by the standards of the age, relatively open in discussing sensitive matters. For instance, he alludes to Stevenson's use of prostitutes in his youth, and claims that he consummated his relationship with Fanny shortly after they met - when she was still married to another man ("their union was immediate and complete"). Such openness offended Fanny's daughter (and Stevenson's stepdaughter) Isobel Field, and led him withdraw the book shortly after publication in October 1915. Hamilton's reasons for doing so appear in a copy of the suppressed issue now held in the Beinecke Library of Yale University, which has inscription by him on the front fly leaf, dated 1936. Hamilton states that the issue was suppressed "in deference to various objections adduced by the step-daughter of Robert Louis Stevenson, - Mrs. Salisbury Field [Isobel] & her personal reactions seemed more important to me than a disinterested insistence on the facts of history." Hamilton goes on to reveal that many of Stevenson's friends disapproved of his action, including Sir Sidney Colvin and Henry James, but, while believing that he had written nothing that was untrue and scandalous, he was convinced he had done the right thing. A new issue of the book appeared later in the same year, with a number of passages accordingly rewritten to remove anything controversial about Stevenson's relationship with his wife and with the opposite sex in general. This particular copy contains some press clippings, a note written by Hamilton's widow to a former owner of the book referring to her husband's death, and, of especial interest, a letter from the publishers, Doubleday Page & Co., dated October 27, 1915, to the New York publishing and bookselling firm Charles Scribner's Sons. The letter is requesting a recall of the first issue of the book and, predictably, it gives a different view of its suppression. The letter refers to "serious errors" in the book which Doubleday Page & Co. wish to correct. In addition to requesting the return of all unsold copies, they also ask if owners of the book can be traced and asked to return their "imperfect" copies, which will be replaced with copies of the corrected edition. Inevitably a few copies, such as this one, must have slipped through the net.|
|Reference Sources||"A Stevenson library: catalogue of a collection of writings by and about Robert Louis Stevenson formed by Edwin J. Beinecke" (New Haven, 1951-64) No. 1304|
|Title||Thorn tree clique, a new analysis of Mathieson's poem The Goff|
|Imprint||Kilmacolm: Partick PressStandard edition 60/28Deluxe edition 36/50|
|Date of Publication||2001|
|Notes||David Hamilton operates one of the few private presses surviving in Scotland. He uses a Vandercook proofing press and does all of the research, writing, and most of the presswork himself. All in limited editions and printed to a high standard, the books are about or relating to golf. Since 1985 the press has published nine books. The present volume is a fine example of the careful attention to detail that has become a mark of the press. The work contains a well written introduction to Mathieson's The Goff 1743, the first complete book about golf, followed by a reprinting of the text with supporting footnotes. Mathieson's text is also illustrated with a suite of elegant wood engravings by Kathleen Lindsley of the Isle of Skye. The book is printed on Zerkall paper and bound in quarter leather. A high quality facsimile of the original 1743 edition of The Goff is secured in a pocket attached to the lower board.
The standard edition was supplied by David Hamilton for Copyright; the deluxe edition, with a specially commissioned binding showing inlay themes from the book (the Links, the Tree, the long-nosed-club, and a feather ball) was purchased.|
|Date of Publication||1728|
|Notes||This is a fine thesis binding in black morocco, with gold tooling on boards, spine, board edges and turn-ins. Fine green and gilt Dutch endpapers, with the attractive label of Kerr & Richardson, book makers of Glasgow, on the front pastedown. Curiously, Kerr & Richardson do not appear in SBTI. The actual text is ESTC T188177, the only other known copy of which is in the Advocates' Library. The textblock in this new copy is untrimmed and in superior condition. The binding complements that of Bdg.s.13, which may well have come from the same workshop: the structure of the design is similar, but different tools are used. The new copy is particularly distinguished by the stars in the panels on the spine, and the 'chain' design of the diagonals. The floral roll which makes up the central rectangle and which is repeated on the turn-ins is mostly crisp and clear, although there are a couple of slips on the front board where it can be seen how the craftsman ran on slightly too far.|
|Author||Hardiviller, Charles-Achille d'|
|Title||Souvenirs des highlands voyage a la suite de Henri V en 1832|
|Date of Publication||1835|
|Notes||Chambord, Henri Dieudonné d'Artois, Count (comte) de, Duke (duc) De Bordeaux was the last heir of the elder branch of the Bourbons and, as Henry V, pretender to the French throne from 1830. He was a lover of Scotland and travelled through the country in 1832. Charles-Achille d'Hardiviller accompanied the young 'king' into exile. He was his drawing master and was reponsible for the images which were lithographed by Villain. The thirty plates depict various scenes in Scotland, including Fort Augustus, Inverlochy, Lochleven and Edinburgh. There is a particularly striking one of Henri V in full highland dress at the Rest and Be Thankfull.
This copy is as issued in three parts with the original green paper covers. There are two slips accompanying the three issues. One declares that the frontispiece of Henri V will come with the second part, which will be July 1835, and mentions postal rates for the provinces. The second one, in mss, announces that the Examination Committee have withheld the litho of Francesse Louise because it does not reach an acceptable quality.|
|Title||Bildliche Darstellungen in Arabeskenform zu Ossians Gedichten|
|Imprint||Berlin: G. Reimer|
|Date of Publication||1835|
|Notes||This is a rare copy, in its original wrappers, of a portfolio of six lithographs, and a leaf of descriptive text, by the German artist Carl Harnisch (1800-1882). The lithographs are illustrations are inspired by the poems of Ossian, which had already appeared in German translation in the 1770s and continued to be popular in the early 19th century. The artist has done them in the arabesque form, which uses a decorative motif comprising surface decorations based on rhythmic linear patterns of scrolling and interlacing foliage and tendrils. The European version of arabesque art was inspired by early Islamic art and became widely used from the 15th and 16th centuries onwards. In his introduction Harnisch states that, "the following leaves, a series of drawings in the arabesque form, arose out of reading Ossian. The intention of their creator, as can been seen from the chosen form of representation, has been to portray an overall view of the ancient Nordic bard's individual sensibilities and poetry, rather than each drawing represent a particular passage in the poet's work." Harnisch had already published in 1832 a series of arabesque lithographs of illustrations inspired by Goethe's Faust. Harnisch later emigrated to the USA where he continued to work as an artist and lithographer.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes|
|Title||Fragstuck des christlichen Glaubens an die neuwe sectische Predigkanden.|
|Imprint||Freyburg in Uchtlandt: Abraham Gemperlin,|
|Date of Publication||1585|
|Notes||This is the first German translation of the treatise "Certaine demandes concerning the Christian religion" by the Scottish Jesuit John Hay (1547-1607). Hay moved from Scotland to Rome in 1566 and spent most of the rest of his life on the Continent, returning to Scotland in 1579, where, in the light of fears about the Jesuits and their teaching, his presence attracted much controversy. He based himself in Aberdeenshire, where the Counter-Reformation movement was already well established, before returning to France. "Certaine demandes" was first published in Paris in 1580 and consisted of 166 questions on points of religious controversy; it was highly influential on the Continent and a key text for supporters of the Counter-Reformation. The lack of a response to the work in Hay's homeland helped to strengthen Catholicism in North-Eastern Scotland. A French translation appeared in 1583, followed by this German translation two years later by the Swiss Catholic theologian Sebastian Werro (1555-1614). This particular copy has the added significance of being a presentation copy from Werro to the Swiss nobleman Ludwig von Afry. The contemporary binding contains a stamped inscription in Latin on the front board recording the presentation of the book by Werro. The text of Werro's dedication of the book to Afry is also repeated in MS on the front pastedown, in Werro's hand. There are also a number of MS corrections to the text which are possibly done by Werro.|
|Reference Sources||Shaaber H110; VD16 H843; Allison & Rogers, Counter Reformation, I, 648.|
|Author||Headrick, Rev. James|
|Title||Essay on the various modes of bringing waste lands into a state fit for cultivation and improving their natural productions.|
|Imprint||Dublin: Printed by H. Fitzpatrick|
|Date of Publication||1801|
|Notes||This is a survey of various techniques of land improvements and reclamation, with details of experiments carried out by the author in Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, Dumfries, Galloway and other parts of Scotland. James Headrick later became a clergyman, and published a study of the geology and agriculture of the island of Arran. Headrick states that the majority of his findings were from his own observations and experiments rather than from secondary sources.
Headrick's work has been bound with the 3rd edition of William Curtis's Practical observations on the British grasses, especially such as are best adapted to the laying down or improving of meadows and pastures. Curtis's treatise began as a four-page folio contribution to the sixth fascicle of his Flora Londiniensis, which was printed in 1787. An expanded second edition was published as a pamphlet in 1790. The verso of the final leaf ends with an advertisement for 'the packet of seeds, recommended in this pamphlet, [which] may be had where the pamphlet is published, and at the Botanic Nursery, Bromton, price ten shillings and sixpence.'|
|Title||Battle of Culloden|
|Imprint||London: Laurie & Whittle|
|Date of Publication||1797|
|Notes||This original image for this was drawn by 'A. Heckel', probably the German artist Augustin Heckel, 1690-1770 and engraved by 'L.S.'. It depicts the battle of Culloden with William, Duke of Cumberland in the foreground. The fact that it was published over 50 years after the battle demonstrates how evocative the Jacobite rebellion was for many people many years afterwards. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery holds the original engraving which was 'printed for and sold by Tho. Bowles, May 1, 1747'.
There is no copy of this print in the Blaikie Collection at the SNPG.
The use of prints in the political process had been established for many years in Britain, in effect since the Civil War. Although a huge number of the prints produced were aimed at the large constituency of Jacobite sympathizers at home and especially abroad, the victors at Culloden also wished to get their message across in graphic form. This image is a case where the polemical function of the image is further enhance by the inclusion of text in the print itself. The rebels' 'rashness met with its deserved chastisement … from Munro's intrepid regiments'. The rebels are also described as 'disturbers of the publick repose'.|
|Reference Sources||Sharp, Richard. The engraved record of the Jacobite movement. Scolar Press, 1996. HP4.97.202|
|Author||Heddle, Matthew Forster|
|Title||The county geognosy and mineralogy of Scotland.|
|Imprint||Truro: Lake & Lake|
|Date of Publication||1891?|
|Notes||MF Heddle was born in Orkney in 1828 and educated at Edinburgh, becoming a student of the University and later practising medicine in the city. His real love, however, was geology and in particular mineralogy; even when he was later appointed professor of chemistry at St Andrews - a post he held for over 20 years - his main passion remained collecting rock samples in the north of Scotland and the Hebrides and publishing papers on his discoveries for various scientific societies.
Heddle was a powerfully built man, who in the course of collecting minerals probably climbed most of the Scottish mountains, and was a Member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club. His physical toughness and stamina were necessary for his fieldwork in inhospitable places, carrying 28 lb hammers, dynamite and wedges to obtain his rock samples.
Heddle's most famous work, "The Mineralogy of Scotland ", was published posthumously in 1901, four years after his death. "The County Geognosy" appears to be a forerunner of Heddle's magnum opus, which was at the time regarded as the most comprehensive mineralogical survey of a single country. It is a composite volume consisting of various article contributions by Heddle to the "Mineralogical magazine" in the 1870s and 1880s and additional material gathered from other sources, including material dating from the 1890s. The sheets were bound to form the book which was then presumably privately distributed. The Geognosy chapters on Sutherland (the last ones under the general title) appeared in six sections in the Mineralogical Magazine in the years 1881 (2), 1883 (1), 1883 (2) and 1884(1). In 1883 the Mineralogical Society transferred their business from the printers Lake & Lake of Truro to Messrs Williams and Strahan of London. Heddle, as an ex-President, took possession of spare sheets printed by Lake and Lake. He may have used these along with work done by the new printer, and other offprints, to make up copies of the book and sent them out to acquaintances and academic colleagues. The main text ends at p. 520 and includes a number of geological maps and attractive coloured plates which endeavour to recreate the microscopic structure of rocks. It is likely that other copies, including the one held by GUL, have different 'extras' according to whom Heddle was presenting the book. Included in this copy is an "Addendum" a humorous poem presumably about Heddle written by A.G. - his fellow scientist Sir Archibald Geikie, a photograph of Heddle, appropriately holding a rock sample, taken during his time at St Andrews, and a copy of a newspaper obituary tipped in to the back of the book.
The provenance of the book is also worthy of note. The MS inscription on the front flyleaf is "Edwin Traill". This is very likely Heddle's nephew, i.e. a son of Heddle's sister Henrietta, who was born in Orkney in 1854. The NLS copy also has an obituary poem "M. Foster [sic] Heddle" ('Foster' has been corrected in MS) pasted on to recto of one of the plates. This poem was written by T.P. Johnston (Rev. Thomas Peter Johnston of Carnbee), father-in-law of one of Heddle's daughters, and subsequently published in 1912 in a volume of Johnston's occasional poems. |
|Title||Poems on various subjects, (English and Scotch).|
|Imprint||Berwick-upon-Tweed: Berwick-upon-Tweed : Printed for the author, by W. Lochhead|
|Date of Publication||1823|
|Notes||Alexander Hewit (1778-1850), "the Berwickshire ploughman" published three editions of his poems in Berwick-upon-Tweed, in 1798, 1807, and this edition of 1823. He was born and grew up in the village of Lintlaw a few miles north of Berwick. After service in the army during the Napoleonic Wars he returned to his native Berwickshire where he worked on local farms for the rest of his life. The poems are divided into parts: religious poems in English and secular ones in Scots. The Scots poems deal mainly with rural life. There is also a poem addressed to Sir Walter Scott, in which he contrasts Scott's brilliance as an author with the humble output of a "rustic bard" such as himself. As might be expected in a book dedicated to his patron, a local landowner, Hewit has a conservative, 'kailyard' outlook on politics; his 'Elegy to Thomas Paine' is in fact a sarcastic attack on the English author. Only two other copies of this edition are recorded in the UK, and this particular copy has an unusual provenance. It has a sturdy, plain, 20th-century leather binding. The binder's ticket reveals that it was done by the Yee Lee Company, bookbinders based in Hong Kong. The question of how the book came to be rebound in Hong Kong is answered by an ownership inscription in the book, namely Alec M. (Alexander Mackenzie) Hardie who worked as a lecturer in the English literature department of Hong Kong University in the 1950s. Hardie had been a contemporary of the 2nd World War poet Keith Douglas, both having been at Oxford in the late 1930s, where they were students of the poet and academic Edmund Blunden. They worked together on the 1940 publication "Augury: An Oxford Miscellany of Verse and Prose". Hardie's inscription records that he purchased the book, "a rarity", in 1943 for around two shillings. When Blunden was appointed as a professor at Hong Kong University in 1953, Hardie also moved out there to work and presumably took this book with him and had it rebound.|
|Reference Sources||W.S. Crockett, "Minstrelsy of the Merse", Paisley, 1893.|