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 749 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 email@example.com
Important Acquisitions 481 to 495 of 749:
Ordered by date acquired |
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|Author||Nicholson, Francis, 1753-1844|
|Title||Views in Scotland drawn from nature|
|Imprint||London: Engelmann, Graf, Coindel & Co.|
|Date of Publication||1828|
|Notes||This is a very rare copy of Francis Nicholson's lithographed views of Scotland. Only one other copy in public ownership has been traced - that at Princeton University, New Jersey.
On the title page it is stated that the views have been 'chiefly selected from scenery described by Sir Walter Scott'. Scott's novels and poems were at the height of their popularity - there are views of Loch Katrine and Goblin Cave which featured in the Lady of the Lake. Most of the scenes are of rugged mountain scenery, brooding castles and wild waterfalls. These appealed to a public who had read of such romantic locations in Scott's works.
Francis Nicholson (1753-1844) was a Yorkshire-born artist who specialised in painting landscapes. When he moved to London he was one of the founders of the Society of Painters in Watercolours in 1804 and was a major contributor to its exhibitions. He contributed 14 engravings to Walker's 'Copper-plate magazine' between 1792 and 1801. He made use of the newly invented lithograph to produce 'Six views of Scarborough' (1822) as well as contributing to 'Havel's Aquatints of Noblemen's and Gentlemen's Seats' and 'The Northern Cambrian Mountains,' both 1820.
This copy which is bound in the original lithographed wrappers is wanting the plate titled 'On the Forth, in Aberfoyle'.|
|Reference Sources||Abbey, J.R. Scenery of Great Britain in aquatint and lithography.|
|Author||Ker, Patrick, fl. 1691|
|Title||Flosculum Poeticum. Poems divine and humane. Panegyrical, satyrical, ironical.|
|Imprint||London, Printed for Benjamin Billingsley at the printing press, near the Royal Exchange,|
|Date of Publication||1684|
|Notes||Ker, Patrick was a Scottish Episcopalian poet who migrated to London during the reign of Charles II. 'Flosculum Poeticum. Poems divine and humane. Panegyrical, satyrical, ironical' is a volume of ultra-loyalist verse.
Although the work is only signed with only the initials 'P.K.', it can safely be attributed to Ker due to the fact that the verso of the leaf A4 features a complex triangular depiction of the Trinity which also appears in another work, 'The Map of Mans Misery' (1690), with the author's name, P. Ker, in full. The 'Flosculum' features a grotesque woodcut of Charles II in the oak on leaf D2, accompanied by verses equally grotesque, and a number of scurrilous rhymes and anagrams on Oliver Cromwell.
The inkstamp of Alexander Gardyne (1801-1885) is on the verso of the title page.|
|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|
|Imprint||Glasgow: by A. Foulis|
|Date of Publication||1788|
|Notes||This is a most unusual binding, with elements that suggest the influence of the style of James Scott of Edinburgh. The chequerboard design has alternating panels of tree and sprinkled calf, and the central panel has a gilt-bordered oval containing a stencilled star-burst within which is a gilt design of musical instruments and player's mask. The binding is probably Scottish, but we do not have anything comparable. The sense of structured design, and the use of the musical instruments within the oval, do suggest James Scott's work.
The book contains aquatint plates by the Scottish artist and engraver David Allan, and also has two additonal plates (after p.14 and before p.93).|
|Reference Sources||Gaskell 688|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Printed by Alexander Kincaid.|
|Date of Publication||1772|
|Notes||This is a handsome copy of an Edinburgh bible in a contemporary binding of straight-grained red leather, with elaborate gilt tooling which suggests the influence of James Scott. The central panel includes architectural motifs such as columns and urns, as well as birds and various items of foliage. This panel is enclosed by different border rolls; the board edges are tooled as well. The spine has a black leather title label and more tooling, including a laurel-crowned head, and a greek-key design which seems to be Scott's (see Loudon - Ro.19).
The binding is in good condition, the colours bright and clear.|
|Reference Sources||J. H. Loudon, 'James Scott and William Scott', 1980|
|Title||Illustrations to the Epitome of the ancient history of Japan, including illustrations to the guide book.|
|Date of Publication||1878|
|Notes||This is, by any standards, a strange book. It was published in 1878 to accompany the author's 'Epitome of the ancient history of Japan', first published in Nagasaki in 1878. Central to the 'Epitome' is McLeod's belief that the Shindai or holy class of Japan are descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel. He also calls attention to the fact that the first known king of Japan was Osee, who came to the throne in 730 B.C. and that the last king of Israel was, the similarly named Hosea who died in 722 B.C.
In the preface McLeod mentions that 'the engravings are the workmanship of the best Japanese artists, but as they have had as yet so little experience of foreign letters, the execution is imperfect'. There are engravings of kings, temples as well as some relating to the author's thesis such as 'supposed order of march of Israelites to Japan'. The work is bound in contemporary, though faded Japanese silk wrappers.
Little is known about the author, whose first name is thought to have been Norman. He has been variously described as a Scots businessman or a Scots missionary wo started his career in the herring industry. His name is not listed in Fasti or any of the biographical dictionaries of other denominations. The second edition of the edition (1878) which is held by the Library (5.1009(27)) is dedicated to Rev. William Mackenzie 'late of Leith Free Church, Scotland', which may give an indication of Mcleod's religious allegiance.
Although this is the second edition, it is not known when the first edition was published. There are six copies of this edition listed on OCLC, all in the United States.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's description|
|Imprint||Hill of Tarvit|
|Date of Publication||1930-1938|
|Notes||This is a rather remarkable donation which brings back to Scotland some printed items with close personal connections to Hugh Sharp and his family. Hugh Sharp (1897-1937) was the Dundee jute manufacturer and bibliophile whose private library was presented to the nation in 1938 by his mother and sister, Elizabeth. The Hugh Sharp collection is now one of our finest special collections, with many first editions of literary classics in fine condition.
One of Hugh Sharp's friends was G. J. Scaramanga of Arundel, Sussex, who kept up the connection with the Sharps after Hugh's untimely death. He kept cards sent from Hugh and the Sharps in a special gilt-tooled folder.
This folder of Christmas cards, which has now been donated to the Library, includes cards from 1930 to 1935, a calendar for 1937 and a later newspaper cutting. Movingly, there is a letter from Elizabeth Sharp dated 27 August 1938, which includes an example of the bookplate specially designed for the Hugh Sharp collection at the National Library after Hugh's death that year.
The Christmas cards include facsimile reproductions from books in Hugh Sharp's collection, and they were finely printed by Pillans and Wilson of Edinburgh in only 50 copies each. Each card is interesting and tasteful, in decorated card covers and with coloured ties.|
|Author||Burnes, Alexander, Sir, 1805-1841|
|Title||Voyages de l' embouchure de l' Indus [etc]|
|Imprint||Paris: Arthus Bertrand|
|Date of Publication||1835|
|Notes||French translation of Alexander 'Bokhara' Burnes's "Travels into Bokhara ..." first published in 1834. Burnes, a native of Montrose and relative of Burns the poet, enjoyed rapid success in his career in the army and civil service of British India. In 1832 he was one of the first Westerners to explore the Punjab, Afghanistan, Bokhara, Turkmenistan, Caspian sea and Persia. His aforementioned account of his travels won him fame and awards and an audience with King William IV, "Travels into Bokhara" was also translated into German and Italian. Burnes returned to India in 1835, was knighted, and eventually ended up in Kabul as deputy to Sir William Macnaghten, Britain's envoy to the court of Shah Shujah. His flamboyant and womanising conduct did little to ease the tensions between the Afghans and the British garrison and in the uprising of 1841 he was dragged from his residence in Kabul and hacked to death by a mob.
This particular edition is entirely separate from a one-volume French translation/digest of Burnes's work "Voyages a Bokhara et sur l' Indus" which was also published in Paris in 1835. It includes in a separate volume 11 illustrated plates, which depict Burnes in native dress and also the giant Buddha statues at Bamiyan in Afghanistan which were blown up by the Taliban in 2001. The plates are based on but are not exact copies of the lithographic prints used in the English 1834 edition; the map does not appear in the English edition. The translator of this edition, Jean-Baptiste-Benoît Eyries (1767-1846), is best known for his edition of German ghost stories, "Fantasmagoriana", which had a great influence on the development of the British Gothic novel.|
|Author||Paton, J. Noel, 1821-1901|
|Title||Members of the Peace Society: City of Edinburgh Branch|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: A Ritchie|
|Date of Publication||1861|
|Notes||Print lithographed in sanguine, depicting a group of the 1st City of Edinburgh Artillery Volunteers on duty at Edinburgh castle. The tone of the print is decidedly humorous; rather than being alert at their posts one volunteer smokes a cigar whilst admiring with two others the view across the city to Calton Hill, another is reading The Times, and a stereotypical Highlander is spinning a yarn to two his companions as a little girl listens with rapt attention. The print reveals that Paton himself had formerly served as a captain in the artillery volunteers at a time when voluntary service in the armed forces was in vogue, hence the patriotic motto on the cannon in the foreground and the caption at the top of the print. Whether the characters in the print are based on former comrades is open to question. Coincidentally the year of this print, 1861, saw the establishment of that famous Edinburgh ritual, the firing of the one o' clock gun.
Paton was born in Dunfermline but trained at the Royal Academy in London and became a popular artist, very much in the accepted Victorian style, for his rendering of scenes from literature and history and also for his fairy paintings.|
|Reference Sources||Scheck "Directory of Lithographic Printers" p. 97|
|Author||Binning, Hugh, 1627-1653|
|Title||Mr. Hugo Binnnings Predikatien, over dese texten; I Johannis 1 en I Johannis 2|
|Imprint||Amsterdam : Joh. Boekholt|
|Date of Publication||1690|
|Notes||Rare 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|
|Author||Wood, Lawson, 1878-1957|
|Title||Wee scrap o' paper is Britain's bond|
|Date of Publication||1914|
|Notes||This striking print by the illustator Lawson Wood portrays a Gordon Highlander standing with a rifle on a street corner in a Flemish town. The purpose of the print is not clear - in this case it has been used to advertise 'ceilidh and dance village hall Saturday'. This is written in ink on a slip of paper attached to the foot of the print. Directly underneath the soldier is the phrase 'A wee "scrap of paper" is Britain's bond', referring to Britain's signature in 1830 to the Treaty of London to guarantee the independence of Belgium. Germany wanted Britain to disregard this agreement, describing it as a mere 'scrap of paper'.
The print is signed and dated 'Lawson Wood '14'. Wood was an artist and illustrator and best known for his caricatures, including those of army officers. But there is no hint of the caricature in this instance. He himself served as an officer in the Kite Balloon Wing of the Royal Flying Corps and was decorated for his action over Vimy Ridge.
The Second Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders were recalled from Egypt when the war broke out and made their way through Holland to Loos and Ypres and eventually took part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The Gordon Highlanders lost a total of 29,000 men during the war.|
|Reference Sources||Dictionary of 19th century British book illustrators / Simon Houfe|
|Author||Quentin Craufurd, 1743-1819|
|Title||Essais sur la Litterature Francaise, ecrits pour l'usage d'une Dame etrangere compatriote de l'auteur|
|Date of Publication||1803|
|Notes||This is an extremely rare edition of only 100 copies to have been distributed among the friends of the author. The first part, taking up the entirety of the first volume and pages 1 to 289 of the second, examines various French literary styles and their most representative authors. Craufurd was particularly critical of Voltaire. The rest of the second volume gathers the essays of such French authors as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Raynal, Mably, Condillac and D'Alembert, etc. This work was republished in 1815 and 1818 with additions.
Quentin Craufurd, the younger brother of Baronet Sir Alexander Craufurd, was born on 22 Sept. 1743 at Kilwinnock, Renfrewshire. He entered the East India Company's service at a young age, and after making a large fortune returned to Europe in 1780. He eventually settled in Paris where his wealth allowed him to become an active collector of books, pictures, prints and manuscripts. He was a loyal friend and supporter of the French royal family after the revolution of 1789, and was received with favour at the court of the Bourbons after the Restoration on account of his behavior between the years 1789 and 1792. He published his first work in 1790 and over eight others followed. He died in Paris on 23 Nov. 1819.|
|Imprint||A Paris: Chez P.F. Didot le jeune|
|Date of Publication||1769|
|Notes||Donald Monro (1727-1802) was the second son of Alexander Monro, the first professor of anatomy and surgery at Edinburgh University. He was educated under the care of his father and graduated M.D. in 1753. In December 1760 during the Seven Year war (1756-1763) he was commissioned as army physician to the British military hospital in Germany. He published "An account of the diseases which were most frequent in the British military hospitals in Germany" together with an essay on the means of preserving the health of soldiers, and conducting military hospitals, in 1764. A classic of preventive and social medicine, this is undoubtely his most important work, providing valuable descriptions of campaign diseases.
This is a copy of the first French edition, revised and expanded by Achille le Beque de Presle.|
|Title||Des Herrn Fordyce, beruehmten Professors zu Aberdeen in Engelland, Anfangsgruende der moralischen Weltweisheit; mit Herrn de Joncourt Abhandlung von der Oberherrschaft Gottes, und der sittlichen Verbindlichkeit, vermehrt.|
|Imprint||Zuerich: bey Orell und Comp.|
|Date of Publication||1757|
|Notes||David Fordyce (1711-1751) studied philosophy and mathematics at Marischal College ion Aberdeen, graduating with an MA at the age of 17. He then studied divinity, but despite obtaining a licence as a preacher, he never received a call. Instead, he was appointed professor of philosophy at Marischal College in 1742. Fordyce died in a storm off the coast of Holland at the age of 40.
Fordyce wrote an article called 'Moral philosophy' for the magazin "The Modern Preceptor". This was published separately in 1754 as "Elements of Moral Philosophy". This posthumous publication was the most successful work on moral philosophy hitherto written. By 1769 it had gone through four editions.
This is a copy of the German edition published in 1757.|
|Title||Reise in das Innere von Afrika in den Jahren 1795, 1796 und 1797 auf Veranstaltung der Afrikanischen Gesellschaft unternommen. Nebst einem Woerterbuche|
|Imprint||Hamburg: bei Benjamin Gottlob Hoffmann|
|Date of Publication||1799|
|Notes||This German translation of Mungo Park's "Travels in the interior districts of Africa" was published in the same year as the English original.
The African explorer Mungo Park (1771-1806) hailed from a farm on the estate of the Duke of Buccleuch near Selkirk. He was apprenticed as a surgeon before entering Edinburgh University to study medicine. In 1792 he sailed to the East Indies as assistant medical officer. In 1795 he was sent on behalf of the African Association to discover the true course of the Niger. Barely escaping with his life on more than one occasion, Park did not succeed in his mission and returned at the end of 1797. "Travels in the interior districts of Africa" is an account of this journey. It went through three editions in its year of publication and made Park instantly famous and popular. The book also contains a dictionary of the Mandingo language; Park had learned this in the Gambia before setting off on his journey.
In 1805 he was commissioned to go on another journey of exploration to find the termination of the Niger. He sailed down the Niger in a boat he had constructed from a canoe and got past Timbuktu, but lost his life in a fight with natives. Ultimately, his inference that the Niger "could flow nowhere but into the sea" was proved correct.
This copy of the German edition has steel engraved plates of African settlements as well as a detailed map of the area explored by Park.|