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 775 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 466 to 480 of 775:

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AuthorPhillips, Philip
Title[40 photographs of the Forth Rail Bridge ]
Date of Publication[1887]
NotesThe Forth Railway Bridge, begun in 1883 and completed in 1890, was the world's first major steel bridge. It is still in use today, and has become an icon of Scotland and of Victorian engineering. Photographs of the bridge are ubiquitous, found on postcards, in books and magazines. The photographs here, however, capture the development of the bridge at weekly or fortnightly intervals in 1886-1887, and appear to be extremely rare. These 40 silver gelatin prints, each measuring approximately 17 x 23 inches, are by the photographer Philip Phillips, son of Joseph Phillips, who was one of the contractors. Several prints bear his monogram 'PP'. They are of a very high quality, showing an extraordinary degree of detail down to individual rivets. The bridge is captured from a variety of angles; there are close-ups of particular sections as well as landscape shots. The first photograph has been doctored to show an accurate impression of the bridge when finished. Number 8, taken on 12 December 1886, has the amusing addition of a pencil sketch of a steam train on the track. It seems extraordinary that these photographs have not been recorded or used elsewhere. Only one, no. 21, seems to have been used in another book by Phillips, 'The Forth Bridge in its various stages of construction', [1889], where it appears as no. XVII. In his book 'The Forth Railway Bridge', Edinburgh: 1890, Phillips describes in an appendix a series of 'special' plates published separately. He goes on to give a detailed description of the 40 plates, which provides vital information about this set. Intriguingly, Phillips notes that there are 'about sixty more' such photographs: perhaps these may yet turn up on the market.
Reference Sourceshttp://www.forthbridges.org.uk/railbridgemain.htm
Acquired on04/05/05
AuthorBarclay, John
TitleMaximo potentissimo que monarchae, Iacobo primo ... carmen gratulatorium
ImprintLutetiae Parisiorum [Paris]
Date of Publication1603
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.
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
AuthorAdamson, Patrick
TitleSerenissimi ac nobilissimi Scotiae, Angliae, Hyberniae principis
Date of Publication1566
NotesIn 1566 Patrick Adamson (1537-1592), a Scottish minister who was later to become Bishop of St. Andrews, was working in France as a tutor to the son of a Scottish nobleman. Although Adamson was away from the tumult of Scotland - where a power struggle between Mary Queen of Scots and the Scottish nobles, including James Hamilton, second Earl of Arran, was being played out under the watchful eye of the English government - as a client of Lord Hamilton he still found himself caught up in the events. The birth of Mary's son James in June of that year was a key event, as Mary still pursued a claim to succession of the English throne, occupied by the unmarried and childless Elizabeth. Adamson published this Latin poem in Paris to celebrate the birth of James, describing him as prince of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland. The title would turn out to be an accurate one but the timing was very inopportune as relations between the Scottish and English courts were far from cordial due to the succession issue and Mary's Catholic faith. The poem enraged the English Government, who demanded that Adamson be punished. He was subsequently imprisoned in Paris for six months. After his release Adamson toured the continent before returning to Scotland to re-enter the ministry. He would be at the heart of the religious controversies that raged in Scotland in the latter half of the 16th-century. After his death Adamson's contemporaries regarded him as gifted man of letters who was probably happier and more suited to the world of scholarship than church politics. This poem marked Adamson's entry into the world of political controversy, and in view of the storm it caused it is very rare. there are only four recorded copies, none of them in Scotland.
Reference SourcesShaaber, DNB
Acquired on27/04/05
Author[David Morison (1792-1855)]
TitleCatalogue of the Gray Library at Kinfauns Castle
Imprint[Perth?: D. Morison]
Date of Publication1827
Notes An unrecorded copy of the catalogue of the library of Baron Gray in Kinfauns Castle, Perthshire. This copy is unique in that it is entirely lithographed; 12 copies of the catalogue were produced the following year (1828) which had lithographed border designs on it but letterpress text. David Morison, the compiler and printer of the catalogue, belonged to the famous Perth family of printers and he had worked as a librarian as well as printer, which meant he was the ideal person to produce a catalogue of Baron Gray's collection. He also appears to have been one of the first people in Scotland to master the art of lithography, which had been introduced to Scotland some 10 years before and was being widely used in book illustrations and jobbing printing. Although the contents of Baron Gray's library were largely unremarkable, Morison's catalogue is remarkable for its elaborate lithographed borders printed in red. A comparison of the two versions of the catalogue suggests that this 1827 version was an experiment or trial run by Morison, possibly done for Baron Gray. It is not as complete as the 1828 version and there are a number of differences in the border designs. Morison must have decided against producing further copies with lithographed text in favour of letter-press. From the dedication page it would appear that the catalogue was actually printed in Perth, where Morison would have had the printing stones for the lithography, rather than in Kinfauns Castle itself - although there is evidence of Baron Gray having had a printing press in Kinfauns Castle. This copy was formerly in the collection of the famous New York-based bookseller and collector, Bernard Breslauer (1918-2004).
Reference SourcesAntony Lister "David Morison & the catalogue of Lord Gray of Kinfauns" Antiquarian Book Monthly Review (ABMR)vol. XIII (1986), pp. 416-421. D. Shenck, Directory of the lithographic printers of Scotland, 1820-1870, Edinburgh, 1999.
Acquired on15/04/05
AuthorFrazer, William Miller, 1864-1961
TitlePerth: the Fair City
ImprintGlasgow: McCorquodale & Co. Ltd
Date of Publicationc.1930
NotesThis vivid lithographed poster dates from what is regarded as the golden age of the railway poster in Britain: the interwar period. It was a time when there was huge competition between the four major railway companies: the Great Western (GWR), the Southern, the London Midland and Scottish (LMS) and the London and North Eastern (LNER). Some of the most talented artists and designers including Frank Brangwyn, William Russell Flint, John Hassall, Paul Henry and Edward McKnight Kauffer produced artwork for posters. Most posters depicted a romanticized view of the British countryside and indeed weather. They also tried to give the impression that travelling by train was one of life's great pleasures whereas the reality was somewhat different. The artist of this poster, William Miller Frazer, was one of the Scottish impressionists. It is not known if he produced other works used in railway posters. Unusually, the name of the railway company which produced the poster is not included although it was probably one of the companies, LNER or LMS, which served Scotland. Frazer was born in Scone in 1864, a few miles from the subject of the poster. He was a brilliant art student winning the Keith Prize in 1887 for the best students work exhibited in the RSA galleries. After spending some time in Paris in the 1890s he settled near his original home in Perthshire. He established himself as a reputed landscape painter and was elected to the Royal Scottish Academy in 1924. He exhibited numerous works at the RSA from 1884 until his death.
Reference SourcesWilliam Miller Frazer RSA 1864-1961: paintings and sketches of the Scottish landscape and beyond. Perth, 1978Cole, Beverley and Durack, Richard. Railway posters 1923-1947. London, 1992
Acquired on11/04/05
AuthorSmith, Adam
TitleInvestigacion de la Naturaleza y Causas de la Riqueza de las Naciones
ImprintValladolid, ?En la Oficina de la Vuida Hijos de Santander'
Date of Publication1794
NotesAdam Smith is one of those Scottish authors who we aim to collect comprehensively, and we acquire works by or relating to Smith whenever possible. This four volume set is the first substantially complete Spanish translation of 'The wealth of nations, printed in 1794'. It is a good set, all but the first volume bound in contemporary tree sheep. The text was translated by Josef Alfonso Ortiz from the fifth edition of 1789. Ortiz deserves credit for getting the book approved by the Spanish Inquisition, who had already banned the French translation: he only had to make a few textual changes to comply with the censors. NLS already has a copy of the ?much corrected and improved? second edition, printed in 1805-6, in the Astorga Collection (G.25.h.26). According to Tribe?s bibliography, some material printed in 1794 was omitted in 1805 (the appendix in vol. II). In 1999 we acquired 'Compendio de la obra Inglesa intitulada Riqueza de las naciones'(1792), which is a partial translation of a French summary of the work (RB.s.2050). However, it is most desirable that we should add to these works the true first Spanish edition, as a landmark in Scottish economic influence in European history. Over the last few years, Rare Books have purchased extensively in the field of the Scottish Enlightenment in translation, acquiring early editions of David Hume, William Robertson, Lord Monboddo and Hugh Blair, in a variety of languages (Italian, Dutch, German, French). We have acquired little material in Spanish or printed in Spain, which is regrettable, as we have an outstanding collection of early Spanish books in the Astorga Collection, and the purchase of modern materials in Spanish has again become a key area in our collection development. This translation bears witness to the exchange of ideas between Scotland and Spain at an early date, and its purchase allows us to fill a gap in our Smith holdings. This is not an exceptionally rare book, with 14 copies listed in OCLC, 3 in COPAC. However, there do not appear to be any other copies in public ownership in Scotland.
Reference SourcesR. S. Smith, 'The first Spanish edition of The wealth of nations', in Cheng-chung Lai, ed., 'Adam Smith across Nations', 2000, pp. 342-6. Tribe, Keith (ed.), 'A critical bibliography of Adam Smith', Pickering & Chatto, 2002
Acquired on11/04/05
AuthorNeild, James
TitleAn Account of the Rise, Progress and Present State of The Society for the Discharge and Relief of Persons Imprisoned for Small Debts Throughout England and Wales.
ImprintLondon: Printed by John Nichols and Son.
Date of Publication1808
NotesThis is a signed presentation copy of the third edition of James Neild's account of the state of debtor's prisons in the early nineteenth century. The book was presented to Reginald Pole Carew (1753-1835), an MP in Devon. Neild wrote his report when he found the horrors of the debtors prison were very much the same as they had been when exposed by John Howard in the latter part of the eighteenth century. This present edition was increased in size to reflect not only new data gathered by Neild, but also to add new information on the state of Scottish prisons. The information includes names, salaries, fees and garnish due to the gaolers, with similar information on the chaplain and surgeon attached to each prison followed by the number debtors and the allowance, if any, allocated to each. The book describes the anarchy at many prisons with no attempt at any sanitation or provisions for keeping the inmates alive. Neild observes that Scottish prisons were often the worst of all. James Neild (1744-1814) was a jeweler by trade who became interested in prisons in the 1760's. He was a founding member of the Society for the Discharge of Persons throughout England and Wales, Imprisoned for Debt and later became their treasurer.
Acquired on11/04/05
AuthorBlair, Hugh, 1718-1800.
TitleHugo Blair's Vorlesungen uber Rhetorik und Shone Wissenshaften.
ImprintLeignitz und Leipzig: Bey David Siegert
Date of Publication1785 - 1798
NotesThis is a handsome four-volume copy of the scarce first German translation, by K. G. Schreiter, of Hugh Blair?s Lectures on Rhetoric. Blair?s popular Lectures held and important place in the Scottish Enlightenment canon and were read in the University of Edinburgh for over twenty years. They were originally designed for the initiation of youth in the study of belles lettres and composition.
Acquired on11/04/05
TitleThe case of the Bishop of Ross, resident of the Queen of Scots, who was seized and committed to the Tower by Queen Elizabeth, for traiterous practices, and endevouring to raise a rebellion against her.
ImprintLondon: Printed for Edward Symon...sold by J. Roberts...
Date of Publication1717
NotesA rare work attempting to construct a case against Count Karl Gyllenborg?s treasonable communications with Jacobites, by drawing on the case of John Leslie, Bishop of Ross?s support for Mary Queen of Scots' right of succession to the throne of England. The text revolves around the retelling of the events of 1584 with emphasis on pinpointing a legal parallel between the two cases of treason. Gyllenborg was imprisoned until the threatened rebellion blew over, more as a guaranteed safe custody or protection than as a punishment.
Acquired on11/04/05
AuthorSmall, James, 1740-1793
TitleA treatise on ploughs and wheel-carriages.
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed for the author and sold by W. Creech and C. Elliot?,
Date of Publication1784
NotesThis book, according to the inscription on the front pastedown, was presented by the Duke of Buccleuch ? Henry Scott (1746-1812) to ?Mr. Ducket at Petersham, April 1786, with a plow made by James Small in Scotland 1786?. The 3rd Duke of Buccleuch was one of number of Small?s patrons. Others were Henry Home (Lord Kames), Sir John Sinclair, the man behind the first Statistical Accounts in the 1790s and the Berwickshire landowner, James Renton. It is not known who Mr. Ducket was ? possibly a landowner in Petersham, Surrey. The book is also inscribed on the title page ?Dalkeith House 1784? - one of the homes of the Duke of Buccleuch. The duke, as well as being one of the greatest landowners in Scotland, was also an army officer and acted as advisor to the politicians Henry Dundas and William Pitt the Younger.This work was the first to set out the scientific principles of plough design in print and was the standard text on the subject until the 1830s. The author, James Small, born in Ladykirk in Berwickshire, learned about ploughs and wagons both in Berwickshire and in Yorkshire. When he returned to Scotland, he settled on a farm at Blackadder Mount, Berwickshire where he began to experiment with ploughs. In the early 1780s Small moved to Rosebank, Ford, in Midlothian just a few miles from Dalkeith House. As well as designing ploughs he also had his own workshop and smithy, making ploughs, wagons and carts. Small?s main innovation was in his use of cast iron and generally speaking his plough was much lighter that the ?old Scotch? ploughs.
Reference SourcesB, ESTC T150379
Acquired on04/04/05
TitleThe wanderer or surprizing escape
ImprintDublin: J. Kinnier
Date of Publication1747
NotesThis is an unrecorded edition of this work on the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Another Dublin edition was printed by William Brien and Richard James also in 1747. Editions were also published in London (two by Jacob Robinson in 1747) and Glasgow (1752). It demonstrates the interest there was throughout Britain and Ireland in the rebellion and its aftermath and the continuing war of words between the different sides after decisive result at Culloden.This work is essentially a criticism of the Young Pretender?s actions as described in Ralph Griffith?s ?Ascanius, or the Young Adventurer? (London, 1746). In Griffith?s work, the Pretender is compared to the son of Priam wandering after the fall of Troy. It is interesting to note that the frontispiece of the Pretender is based very closely on that which appeared in Griffith?s work. Here the anonymous author gives a factual and much less dewy-eyed account of what had happened.The printer Joshua Kinnier was also a papermaker and publisher who was in business in Dublin from about 1743 until at least 1767. He died in 1777. Although there is an extensive entry under his name in the ?Dictionary of members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800?, this work is not mentioned.
Reference SourcesM. Pollard. Dictionary of members of the Dublin Book Trade 1550-1800
Acquired on04/04/05
AuthorDrummond, William, 1585-1649
ImprintLondon: for Richard Tomlins
Date of Publication1656
NotesThis is a rare copy of one of the two editions of Drummond?s works published in London in 1656, seven years after the poet?s death. Two other copies of this work are held in public institutions in Scotland ? at Edinburgh University Library and at Innerpeffray Library, near Crieff. The only difference between the two editions is the imprint ? this edition was ?Printed for Richard Tomlins, at the Sun and Bible?? whereas the other edition was ?Printed by W.H. and are to be sold at the Company of Stationers?. Both copies have the fine frontispiece portrait by Richard Gaywood (1630-1680).The binding ? calf, blind tooled - probably dates from the 18th century. Drummond spent most of his life on his estate at Hawthornden near Edinburgh. Most of his poems were written in the Petrarchan tradition and he was thus considered to be out of tune with metaphysical poets of his day. He wrote in English rather than Scots. In political terms he supported the Royalists and wrote a pamphlet attacking the Covenanters, but his isolation cut him off from the main events of his lifetime. His death was apparently hastened by news of the execution of Charles I in London.
Reference SourcesWing D2202
Acquired on04/04/05
Title[3 early nineteenth century Edinburgh trade cards]
Date of Publication[c.1811-1842]
NotesThese three trade cards provide us with a fascinating snapshot of the commercial life of the growing capital in the first half of the 19th century.The earliest of the three is probably that advertising the activities of H. Urquhart who was working as a hairdresser, peruque (wig)-maker and perfumer from premises at 31 George Street from 1811-1815. According to the Edinburgh and Leith Post Office Directory he worked at other addresses in George Street and Hanover Street around the same period. The engraving has been inexpertly hand-coloured probably many decades later. The text on the verso of the illustration describes in detail the services offered by Urquhart. We have been unable to discover when George King, velvet and silk dyer, was working. Around 10 dyers are listed in Edinburgh trade directories from 1810 to 1840, but there is no mention of King. The style of dress on the engraving suggest that in dates from the first quarter of the 19th century. The Watergate referred to on the card was a physical structure guarding the entry to the Canongate from the north-east. It acted as a toll barrier rather than a military defence. The engraved card advertising Tait?s New Royal Hotel on Princes Street probably dates from the 1840s. It was engraved by Mould & Tod who had an address on North Bridge in 1842. The scene shows a bustling street with people promenading outside the hotel, which is opposite the Scott Monument (opened in 1846).Trade cards probably date from the late 18th century. The advances in printing technology in the early 19th century led to trade cards becoming far more plentiful. This was accentuated when colour printing was developed from mid-century onwards. The trade card evolved into the business card which is still in use today. There are other examples of Scottish trade cards in the collection at RB.m.571 and RB.m.112.
Reference SourcesEdinburgh and Leith Post Office directories 1810-1850
Acquired on04/04/05
AuthorGreensmith Downes & Son
TitleThe book of Scotch-made underwear
ImprintEdinburgh: Greensmith, Downes & Son
Date of Publication1910
NotesThis trade catalogue provides us with a lot of very useful information about fashion in the early 20th century. It is attractively illustrated with colour plates and black and white drawings and photographs to accompany the price lists and descriptions of the clothes. At the back of the volume there is a pattern book incorporating over 30 pieces of fabric of the type used by Greensmith Downes & Son in their garments. The shop in George Street, Edinburgh was well known for selling quality (and expensive) clothing and was in business until at least the 1970s. As well as underwear the there are also sections in the catalogue on hunting jackets, waistcoats, elbow warmers, socks and rugs. There is also an extensive introductory section describing the manufacturing process, a discussion of the merits of woollen underwear as well as short pieces on The problem of shrinkage and Sweating: how far is the British public responsible. A couple of pages are also devoted to the Scottish Antarctic Expedition of 1902-04 during which the members of the expedition ?all wore complete outfits of ?Australlama? which speciality gave the utmost satisfaction, and was acknowledged by them to be infinitely superior to the foreign makers of underwear hitherto tried?.The Library also has a 1926 Greensmith Downes trade catalogue at shelfmark HP1.87.1881.
Acquired on04/04/05
AuthorBarbour, John, d.1395
TitleThe life and acts of the most victorious conquerour Robert Bruce King of Scotland.
ImprintEdinburgh: Gedeon Lithgow
Date of Publication1648
NotesJohn Barbour, the fourteenth century poet, churchman and scholar wrote this famous poem probably during the 1370s. In 1377 King Robert II awarded Barbour the princely sum of 10 for writing this stirring and patriotic work. Only two intact copies of the poem on Robert the Bruce are known.Barbour was probably born in Aberdeen and spent most of his life there. He was Archdeacon of Aberdeen from 1357 until his death in 1395. He did spend some time outside of Scotland - studying in Oxford and Paris. In 1372 he was appointed Clerk of Audit in the household of Robert II.The work was first printed by Robert Lekprevik in Edinburgh in 1571. This edition was printed by Gedeon (or Gideon) Lithgow who was appointed printer to Edinburgh University in 1648 in succession to J. Lindesay.
Reference SourcesAldis 1307, Wing B712
Acquired on04/04/05
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