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 697 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 466 to 480 of 697:
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|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.|
|Title||Poems on various subjects|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Gordon and Murray|
|Date of Publication||1780|
|Notes||The Library bid successfully for this lot at the auction of part of the library of the late Lord Perth. The lot comprised two books: a fine copy of William Cameron's Poems bound by James Scott of Edinburgh, and a fine copy of the Foulis Press Terence printed in 1742 in a 'Chippendale' binding.
William Cameron of Kirknewton (now in West Lothian) is the anonymous writer of these poems. The Library has another copy also bound by Scott showing the same gilt twist-roll border and ornamented spine, but that copy is very worn. Our new copy is crisp and attractive, with Scott's label affixed to the title-page. It is the same copy that was photographed for J. H. Loudon's book on James and William Scott, which helped to bring their innovative bindings to widespread attention.
The second item is Terence, Comoediae, Glasgow, printed by Robert Urie for Robert Foulis, 1742. This is a most attractive red morocco binding with a gilt-tooled design in the 'Chippendale' style, with flowers and birds around the scrolls of foliage. The textblock, printed by the important Foulis Press, is not on large paper but is uncut.
Both books are important additions to our collection of Scottish bindings, and their provenance makes them particularly pleasing; Lord Perth was a good friend of the Library and a remarkable Scottish collector.|
|Reference Sources||Loudon, p.190-1
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black|
|Date of Publication||1882|
|Notes||This is a fine Scottish publisher's binding in red cloth, with the arms of Sir Walter Scott stamped in gilt on the front board. The black and gold decoration is striking and in good condition. Scott's initials are at the upper right of the front board, and at the foot of the board are various flowers and moths. The overall impression is striking. The Library has a copy of the text at SP.94, in a plain binding of polished calf.|
|Imprint||Alnwick: by W. Davison|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||This is an attractive set of the works of Burns, published with engravings by Thomas Bewick, and bound in brown gilt crushed morocco by the late 19th-century binder Joseph William Zaehnsdorf. The date 1812 is found on the original boards of our existing copy at shelfmark X.171.h. The two volumes were formerly owned by the noted collector of Scottish books John Gribbel.
All this, however, is put into the shade by the fact that the first volume has the title-page inscribed 'Robert Louis Stevenson'. Stevenson is known to have owned various copies of Burns' poems, but this one does not seem to have been previously noted. It has not been traced in the various auctions of Stevenson's books. The signature has his characteristic looped 'L' and the long cross-bar of the 't' in 'Stevenson'.
Stevenson and Burns are two of the best known names in Scottish literature, although Stevenson had reservations about Burns. In his essay 'Some aspects of Robert Burns', published in 1879, Stevenson refers to the personal remarks in Burns' poetry as 'his own pitiful apology for such a marred existence and talents so misused and stunted'. There are, nevertheless, many striking parallels in the lives of the two writers, not least their passionate rebellion against orthodox morality and their early deaths.
It is enormously plesasing that the National Library of Scotland now has a set of Burns with Stevenson provenance.|
|Reference Sources||Egerer 130|
|Author||Spenser, Edmund. |
|Title||Poetical Works. |
|Imprint||London: [by S. and R. Bentley for] William Pickering, Nattali and Combe, and Talboys and Wheeler in Oxford|
|Date of Publication||1825|
|Notes||This edition of the works of the great English poet Spenser was not, for some reason, acquired by the Advocates Library through the copyright privilege, but the main reason for purchasing these five volumes now is the binding. The books were from the library of one James Hamilton, whose red ink stamp appears on the title pages. Mr. Hamilton had a number of his books bound in the unusual material of chenille - using a different colour or pattern for each set. This set is bound in red chenille with yellow dots. Inside the rear board of the first volume is the printed label of R. Grant & Son, an Edinburgh firm listed in the Scottish Book Trade Index under this name from 1840 onwards. The Library has another binding identified as the work of the same firm (William Aytoun, Lays of the Scottish cavaliers, 1863, Bdg.m.115). It is possible that both bindings date from the 1860s.
It is difficult to know why Mr. Hamilton chose to have his books bound in this way; the effect of a whole library bound in brightly coloured chenille would be quite overpowering. It is not a durable material and these books would not withstand heavy handling. Other curious features of this binding are the fact that the boards are so much larger than the text block, the elaborately gauffered gilt edges, the brass and velvet catches and clasps, and the brass frames nailed on the front covers with a vellum slip to write the title or volume number. This is a curiosity of Scottish binding creativity.
|Title||Politisk undersokning om lagar, som hindra och tvinga inforseln af sadana utlandska varor|
|Imprint||Goteborg: S. Norberg|
|Date of Publication||1804|
|Notes||This is a rare copy of the first appearance in Swedish of book IV, chapter 2, of 'An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations'. This chapter in English was titled: 'Of restraints upon the importation from countries of such goods as can be produced at home'. This is the key chapter in which Smith discusses laissez faire. Part of 'The wealth of nations' first appeared in Swedish in 1799-1800 in the literary periodical 'Lasning I blandade amnen'. (ABS.1.81.113)
It is also the second translation of Smith by Erik Erland Bodell who was, like Smith, a customs official. He published a translation of Book V, chapter 2 of the same work in Stockholm in 1800: 'Undersokning om Kongl. Stora sjo och granse-tullar,'. A Swedish translation of a German abridgement of the 'Wealth of nations' was published in Stockholm in 1800 (RB.s.2055). A full Swedish translation of this work was not published until 1911.|
|Reference Sources||Tribe, Keith (ed.) A critical bibliography of Adam Smith (London, 2002)|
|Author||Howe, James (1780-1839)|
|Title||Portraits of Highland Society prize cattle and others of distinguished merit. Part II|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Company, MDCCCXXXII |
|Date of Publication||1832|
|Notes||James Howe, James was born 30 Aug. 1780 at Skirling in Peeblesshire, where his father, William Howe, was minister. After attending the parish school Howe was apprenticed to a house-painter at Edinburgh, but his interest was in picture painting and his particular talent was for animals. Howe eventually obtained a great reputation for his skill in drawing horses and cattle.
Between 1830 and 1831 he was employed in drawing portraits of well-known animals for a series of illustrations of British domestic animals published by the Highland Society of Scotland in order to help stimulate breeding. A series of forty-five engravings of horses and cattle was later published in 1832. Part I -- of which the National Library does not own a copy -- presumably presented portraits of various horse breeds. Part II gives 10 portraits of prize cattle: Ayrshire heifer; Highland heifers; Galloway heifer; Arran ox; Aberdeenshire horned ox; Aberdeenshire Polled cow; Pilton ox; Angus heifer; West Highland ox, Princess (short horned cow).
Howe came once to London to paint the horses of the royal stud, but resided principally at Edinburgh, where he was a frequent exhibitor at the Edinburgh exhibitions, Royal Institution, and Royal Scottish Academy from 1808 to the time of his death. Howe died at Edinburgh, 11 July 1836.|
|Reference Sources||A Dictionary of Sporting Artists 1650-1990 / Mary Ann Wingfield
The Dictionary of British Equestrian Artists / Sally Mitchell|
|Author||Friedrich von Coelln|
|Title||Praktisches handbuch fuer staats- und regierungsbeamte besonders in den preussischen staaten: nach anleitung Adam Smiths untersuchung ueber die Natur des Nationalreichthums.|
|Imprint||Berlin : G. Hann,|
|Date of Publication||1816|
|Notes||C÷lln's substantial commentary on Adam Smith is one of a handful of early nineteenth century works that helped stimulate his study and appreciation in Germany. This scholarship into Smith was one of the prime factors that led to a general increase in German literature on pure and applied economics in these formative years. The same publisher issued the first edition in 1812 under the title Die neue Staatsweisheit; both editions are rare.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes|
|Author||Stevenson, Robert Louis|
|Title||Prayers written at Vailima|
|Imprint||Pacific Palisades, California: The Melville Press|
|Date of Publication||1999|
|Notes||A fine printing of the Stevenson prayers (first published London, 1904) illustrated with original lino cuts by Catherine Kanner from the Melville Press. Letterpress printed by Bonnie Thompson Norman at the Windowpane Press in Seattle. Bembo typeface on Hiromi-Sansui paper and handbound by Allwyn O'Mara. Ltd edition 20/200, signed on colophon by the illusrator. A very delicate, artistic production.|
|Author||Stevenson, Robert Louis|
|Date of Publication||1888|
|Notes||Purchased with a selection of other yellowbacks by two popular Scottish authors. Yellowbacks (less commonly called 'mustard-plaster' novels) was the name given to the form of cheap fiction developed from the late 1840s and competed with the 'penny dreadful' as an accessible source of entertaining reading. The distinctive brightly coloured covers made the books very attractive for a growing reading public encouraged by the spread of education and the expansion of the railways. Routledges in establishing their 'Railway Library' in 1849, were the first of many publishers to target a new reading public with yellowbacks. This series ran to 1,277 titles, ending in 1899. Most works of fiction in this format were stereotyped reprints of earlier cloth editions. By the end of the 19th century, sensational fiction and adventure stories in addition to more 'educational' manuals, handbooks and cheap biographies were being published in this manner.
These yellowback novels of Grant and Stevenson were typical of those published at this time. Edinburgh-born, James Grant (1822-1887), a distant relation of Sir Walter Scott, was a prolific author, writing some 90 books. Many of his 56 novels deal with key characters and events in Scottish history. In 1853 he founded the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights. Grant is best remembered today as an historian - his thoroughly-researched 'Old and new Edinburgh' was published in 1880.|
|Author||James VI & I|
|Title||Proclamation ... March.24 ... 1602 |
|Imprint||London: b. Robert Barker|
|Date of Publication||1602/3|
|Notes||This is a fine uncut copy of the second edition of the proclamation in which the English privy council announced that James VI of Scotland succeeded Queen Elizabeth. James's hereditary right to the English throne is described and explained, and the text stresses that in addition to his legitimacy, James comes with 'all the rarest gifts of mind and bodie'. Details: STC 8298, black letter, 2 sheets, horizontal chain lines. Modern portfolio includes a misleading note identifying this work as STC 8297. Setting 2a, with first line of second sheet having reading 'Kingdomes, all'.|
|Author||Dalrymple, Hew Whitefoord.|
|Title||Proclamation by his excellency Lieutenant General Sir Hugh Dalrymple = Proclamacao de sua excellencia o Tenente General Sir Huch [sic] Dalrymple.|
|Imprint||Lisbon : Na impressae regia|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||This three-page proclamation was drafted by Scottish army officer Sir Hew Whitefoord Dalrymple (1750-1830), at his headquarters in Sintra in Portugal on 18 September 1808. Dalrymple mentions this proclamation on p. 96 in his posthumously published memoir of his conduct in the Peninsular War. As overall commander of the British forces based in Portugal he had, amongst other things, the task of sorting out a new government for the country once the French had been expelled from the country. A French army had invaded Portugal in late 1807 and Dom Joao VI, heir to the Portuguese throne and acting regent, had fled, under British protection, to Brazil. A regency junta had been formed to govern the country in Joao's absence but the French had suspended it, putting its own administration in place. In August 1808 a British expeditionary force had landed in Portugal to drive the French out of the country. Initially commanded by the young, dashing Lt.-Gen. Sir Arthur Wellesley (later to become the Duke of Wellington), the British force had defeated the French decisively at the battle of Vimeiro. Wellesley, however, was unable to pursue his advance against the French as the older, more experienced, Dalrymple arrived in Portugal the day after the battle to assume command. Dalrymple distrusted Wellesley and chose to negotiate an armistice and evacuation of the French by the British navy under the convention of Sintra, much to the dismay of Wellesley and the Portuguese. As well as ensuring that the French would all be safely evacuated, Dalrymple also had to ensure the establishment of new national government. He claims in his memoir that he was at the time "in total ignorance of the intentions of His Majesty's Government as to the sort of Regency that was to be established". After much deliberation Dalrymple decided to restore the 1807 regency junta as far as possible in Lisbon, dismissing the claims to govern of a rival junta which had been established in the city of Oporto and which was led by the bishop of Oporto. He did, however, give the bishop the chance to serve in the reconstituted junta. The text of his proclamation, printed in both English and Portuguese in parallel columns on the page, explains the current situation, assuring the Portuguese of the honour and good faith of the British army. He insists that their presence in the country is only for the "happy means of re-establishing order, and restoring to the Sovereign and the people their just rights". The proclamation also calls upon the leading members of the Portuguese regency junta to repair to Lisbon and to take upon themselves the functions of government; moreover, all inferior jurisdictions and tribunals are required to pay deference and submit to the new government. Dalrymple could later take pride in the fact that his political arrangements in Portugal received official approval from the King. However, his decision to negotiate the convention of Sintra, on terms which seemed highly advantageous to the beaten French, damaged his standing within Portugal and at home. Under Dalrymple's command the British force in Portugal became, after Sintra, "demoralized and faction-ridden" (ODNB). Details of the convention finally reached London on 16 September, causing public outrage; Dalrymple was recalled to Britain to face a government inquiry in November that year, which did exonerate him and all the other British army officers concerned, but Dalrymple was never employed in active service again.|
|Reference Sources||H.W. Dalrymple, Memoir written by ... Sir H. Dalrymple ... of his proceedings as connected with the affairs of Spain, and the commencement of the Peninsula War, London, 1830.
Stephen Wood, 'Dalrymple, Sir Hew Whitefoord, first baronet (1750-1830)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008
|Title||Proclamation welcher Gestalt Carolus Stuard Prince von Schottlandt und Walles Koenig in Schottlandt und Irrlandt den 5. Februarii S.V. 1649, zu Edenburg in Schottlandt solenniter und offentlich aussgeruffen und proclamirt worden.|
|Imprint||Frankfurt : Philipps Fievet|
|Date of Publication||1649|
|Notes||This is one of two recorded German-language translations of the proclamation issued by the Estates of the Scottish Parliament in February 1649, proclaiming Charles II king. Charles's father had been executed in England, without Scottish approval, on 30 January that year and the Scottish Parliament had moved swiftly to recognise him as heir a few days later. The Scots' recognition of Charles II came with a price: they demanded from the new king satisfaction concerning religion, union, and the peace of Scotland, according to the covenants. The existence of two German translations of the proclamation can be seen as evidence of how events in England and Scotland at that time, and in particular the public execution of a reigning monarch, Charles I, were of great interest to people in continental Europe.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Author||Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa|
|Title||Proposals for printing by subscription ... Travels in the interior parts of Africa|
|Imprint||[London: G. Nicol]|
|Date of Publication||1798|
|Notes||This is an unrecorded single sheet, dated June 4th 1798, outlining the conditions for subscribing to the forthcoming publication of Mungo Park's "Travels in the interior districts of Africa". The young Scot (1771-1806) had been appointed by the Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa (African Association) to lead an expedition to 'ascertain the course, and if possible, the rise and termination' of the river Niger. Park set out for Africa in 1795 and returned home two and a half years later, having survived a series of arduous adventures in which he was able to ascertain that the river flowed inland to the east. An abridged account of his expedition was privately printed for African Association members in 1798 while Park returned to his home town of Selkirk and wrote up his notes for his planned book, which was to be published by subscription. This sheet reveals the completed book would "form one handsome volume in quarto" and would be ready "early in the ensuing season". Subscribers would pay an initial guinea for which they were likely to get the book in boards along with the engravings, but may have to pay an extra half guinea for any additional expenses in printing and engraving. They would also have their names printed. Subscriptions were to be received by the London bookseller George Nicol, who was already exhibiting a map of Park's route in his shop (the map engraved by James Rennell showed the Niger flowing eastward, but, incorrectly, also showed it petering out into an inland swamp). Park's "Travels" was published the following year and would prove to be a bestseller, going through three editions in its first year of publication.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Author||Adam, William, (1689-1748)|
|Title||Proposals for printing by subscription, in two large volumes in folio, the plans, elevations, and sections, of the principal regular buildings in Scotland, together with several new designs, done for some of the noblemen and gentlemen of that country. To which will be added, the particular sections of the best rooms built in Scotland. Also, some designs of buildings for the decoration of parks and gardens. By the late William Adam, Esq. architect, and continued by his son John Adam, Esq. ...|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||During the 1720s the Scottish architect William Adam began plans to publish "Vitruvius Scoticus", a work surveying the finest architecture in Scotland. Adam died before his ambitious work came into being. John Adam (1721-1792), William's eldest son, revived the idea of publishing his father's book. In March 1766 this proposal was issued to potential subscribers promoting the intended publication: "this work will consist of 160 copper-plates, near one fourth of which are whole sheets. There will be above 200 folio pages of engravings, done by the best hands, and printed on a French Colombine paper ...". This copy of the proposal includes manuscript inscriptions in the receipt section at the end of the text: "the Marquis of Carnarvon" and "For Mr Adam Ja[me]s Dodsley". The subscription belonged to James Brydges (1731-1789), 3rd Duke of Chandos, who was Marquess of Carnarvon from 1744 to 1771. Although at the time of the proposal's issue sheets of the book (apart from the description or explanation of the plates) are known to have already been printed, the work was not published in 1767 as advertised. It is suggested that issues relating to the copyright holders of the engraved plates prevented Adam from keeping his agreement to transfer sole rights in the book to the London bookseller Andrew Millar (1705-1768) (Harris, p.99-100). It was not until 1811 that "Vitruvius Scoticus" was eventually published under William Adam's grandson, William Adam (1751-1839). This proposal is significant in tracing the history of the publication of this work.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's catalogue; Harris, Eileen, "British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785", Cambridge University Press, 1990; Oxford DNB|