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 753 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 481 to 495 of 753:

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AuthorHume, David
TitleEssais sur le commerce, le luxe, l'argent, l'interet de l'argent, les impots, le credit public, etc.
ImprintParis: Chez Guillaumin et Cie Libraires
Date of Publication1847
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is a French translation of the essays by David Hume first published in Political Discourses (1752). Hume's essays were first published in France soon after their original appearance in English: this edition is part of the series Collection des principaux economistes edited by Eugene Daire and G. de Molinari, and appears in a volume in that series with the half-title Melanges d'Economie Politique (volume 1). Also in the volume are works by Forbonnais, Condillac, Condorcet, Lavoisier, and Benjamin Franklin. De Molinari contributes a general introduction to the volume which praises Hume's economic ideas; Daire writes a 'Notice sur D. Hume', which discusses Hume's life. He explains the history of the translations of the Political Discourses, saying that this volume uses the translation of Mademoiselle de La Chaux with some corrections from the translation of L'abbe Blanc. He also states that Of the Jealousy of Trade, originally published in 1760, is translated here for the first time.
ShelfmarkAB.4.207.17
Reference SourcesBookseller's Catalogue; Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (http://www.iep.utm.edu/h/humeessa.htm)
Acquired on17/10/07
AuthorHume, David
TitleHistoire de la maison de Stuart [de Tudor]
ImprintLondres
Date of Publication1761
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is the first duodecimo edition in French of this part of David Hume's History of Great Britain. This 6-volume set is accompanied by a 6-volume duodecimo set of Hume's Histoire de la maison de Tudor (Amsterdam, 1763). Hume actually wrote the volumes on the Stuarts first, only turning later to the Tudors (and then to the Plantagenets). The Library collects translations of Scottish works written during the Enlightenment, as evidence for the influence of Scottish thought on Europe as a whole. The Stuart set was translated by A.-F. Prevost, the Tudor set was translated by Octavie Guichard (Mme. Belot). This is a handsome set in a contemporary binding; the volumes have both early and later bookplates.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2327 and RB.s.2328
Reference SourcesESTC T229804 Jessop, Bibliography of David Hume, p.32
Acquired on02/07/04
AuthorHume, David
TitleWysgeerige en staatkundige verhandelingen [Political Discourses]
ImprintRotterdam : Abraham Bothall,
Date of Publication1766
LanguageDutch
NotesThis is a rare edition (no copies recorded elsewhere in the UK) of the first Dutch translation of David Hume's "Political Discourses", which was the first work by Hume to be translated into Dutch. The translation was published in Amsterdam by Kornelis van Tongerlo in 1764, with this particular edition appearing two years later in Rotterdam under a different publisher, but with identical collation. The identity of the translator remains unknown. The "Political Discourses", first published in Edinburgh in 1752, was arguably the only one of Hume's works to enjoy immediate commercial success in Britain. In addition to a series of essays on economic matters, Hume also discusses at length a number of other diverse Enlightenment topics such as: whether the ancient world had been more populous than the modern, the Protestant succession to the British throne, and the model of a perfect republic. The work quickly became very influential throughout Europe among the leading economic theorists of the day, including Adam Smith, but Hume does not appear to have appealed to a wider readership within the Netherlands. A translation of Hume's "History of England" appeared between 1769 and 1774, but these seem to be the only Dutch translations of his works in the 18th century.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2785
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on23/04/10
AuthorHume, David
TitleVier Philosophen
ImprintGlogau: bey Christian Friedrich Guenthern
Date of Publication1760
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the extremely rare German translation of Hume's essays 'The Epicurean', 'The Stoic', "The Platonist' and 'The Sceptic'. Interestingly, the translation was not done from the English original, but from a French translation of 1758 done by Jean Bernard Merian. Now for the first time the German public was able to read the enlarged version of the essay 'The Sceptic' which Hume had produced for inclusion in his 'Essays and treatises on several subjects'. The only hitherto available German translation of 'The Sceptic' was a shorter version of 1748, which had been translated from the third edition of Hume's collected works. There are remarkable differences between the two versions of different length of 'The Sceptic'. The translator of the 1760 edition tried hard to praise the volume as a comfort in difficult times, almost regarding Hume's essay to be edifying when he says, "It can serve to cheer up the mind during the present sorrowful times, in order to glimpse the glow of merciful predestination, notwithstanding all gloomy shades." The hopes this blurb aroused in the readers would be bitterly disappointed, because the sceptic Hume himself, who has no belief whatsoever in any divine providence, is the actual hero of all four essays. There are no known copies of this item in Britain or the US.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2795
Acquired on10/04/10
AuthorHume, David
TitleIdea di una perfetta repubblica
ImprintMilano: Da' torchi della tipografia milanese in contrada nuova.
Date of Publication[1801]
LanguageItalian
NotesThis is the first translation into Italian of David Hume's 'Idea of a perfect commonwealth', first published as Essay XII in his 'Political Discourses' of 1752.. The translator, Alvise Zenobio, dedicates the work to the people of the Cisalpine Republic. Napoleon Bonaparte's attempts to remodel Europe had led to the creation of this new state in 1797. It was eventually incorporated into the Italian Republic in 1802. In this book, Hume is clearly seen as an important writer to use in the debates over how to set up a working democratic system of government. There are numerous contemporary annotations in Italian. This is another example of the important role played by Scottish Enlightenment works in translation.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2332
Reference SourcesNot in Jessop
Acquired on05/04/04
AuthorHume, David and Smollett, Tobias
TitleThe history of England
ImprintLondon: J. Walker & Co.
Date of Publication1822
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a beautiful 16-volume stereotyped edition of Hume's classic "History of England" (vol. 1-10) and its continuation by Tobias Smollett (vol. 11-16). Hume's "History", first published in eight volumes between 1754 and 1761, gives an account of English history from the Roman invasion under Julius Caesar to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Smollett's continuation, first published 1757-58, starts with the reign of William and Mary and ends with George II's death in 1760. The volumes are bound in green morocco and have bright gilt frames on the covers; the title is lettered in gilt on the spines and there is dense gilt tooing in the other spine compartments.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2714
Acquired on20/06/08
AuthorHume, David.
TitleAbriss des gegenwartigen naturlichen und politischen Zustandes von Grossbritannien.
ImprintCopenhagen : Johann Gottlob Rothe
Date of Publication1767
LanguageGerman
NotesThis book is a rare first edition of translated extracts from David Hume's 'History of England and Essays and treatises on several subjects'. The translator, the German poet and critic Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg (1737-1823) translated Hume rather freely and wrote his own summaries of the Scottish philosopher's views. The work covers the constitution of the British Isles, the social order, as well as the legal, commercial and banking systems. The British way of ruling themselves would have been of some interest to Central Europeans, most of whom had no direct experience of living under a constitutional monarchy. There are no copies of this work in the UK and only one in North America.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2699
Acquired on17/12/07
AuthorHume, David.
TitleDialogues sur la religion naturelle.Ouvrage posthume.
ImprintEdimbourg [i.e. Amsterdam] : [s.n.]
Date of Publication1780
LanguageFrench
ShelfmarkRB.s.2759
Reference SourcesThis is the second issue of the rare first French translation (by Paul Henri Thiry, baron d' Holbach) of Hume's "Dialogues concerning Natural Religion", his most important posthumous publication. Hume had been engaged on the work for many years, the first mention of the dialogues being in 1751; pressure from friends prevented their publication during his lifetime. In his will he left Adam Smith the job of overseeing their publication, but in a codicil he altered this to his publisher, Strahan. The task was probably finally executed by his nephew David. Despite the imprint this first French edition is probably printed and published in Holland, an assumption which is corroborated by the number of copies found in Dutch libraries. The first issue of the French translation appeared in 1779, the same year as the first English edition. In the Avertissement to the translation, Holbach notes that the Inquisition, "plus habile à brûler qu' à raisonner", viewed Hume's work as a "persifflage impie", but wonders if among the bookburners of Lisbon and Rome, there were not a few who would surreptitiously slip a copy of the "Dialogues" into their pocket, "pour le lire à la place de leur bréviaire".
Acquired on04/08/09
AuthorHume, David.
TitleDavid Hume's vollkommne [sic] Republik [Idea of a perfect commonwealth].
ImprintLeipzig: in der Schaeferischen Buchhandlung
Date of Publication1799
LanguageGerman
NotesDavid Hume's 'Idea of a perfect commonwealth' was first published as Essay XII of his "Political Discourses" in 1752. Hume's essay discusses previous authors' ideas of political utopia and sketches what he thought was the best form of government. Hume's perfect commonwealth is a very pragmatic affair - a republic with a government subject to many check and balances; he acknowledges "the resemblance that it bears to the commonwealth of the United Provinces [i.e Netherlands], a wise and renowned government". This is the very rare first German translation by a German professor at the University of Wuerzburg, Christian August Fischer (1771-1829). The title states that this is a free translation "frey nach dem Englischen", and the translator has made Hume's scepticism about politics and utopias more pronounced. Fischer is best known for his travel writing, although he also had a profitable sideline in writing erotic literature under the pseudonyms Adam Pruzum and Christian Althing. This particular copy was originally in the large library of the Dukes of Oettingen-Wallerstein, as can be seen from the book label on the front pastedown and stamp on the title page. The library's origins can be traced back to the late 15th-century; its holdings of contemporary German literature were considerably enhanced by Fuerst Kraft Ernst von Oettingen-Wallerstein (1748-1802) and his son Ludwig. A substantial part of the library is now in the University of Augsburg, the rest having been dispersed in the 20th century.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2823
Acquired on05/08/11
AuthorHume, David.
TitleIzsledovanie celoveceskago razumenia (An Inquiry concerning human understanding).
ImprintSt. Petersburg: M. V. Pirozhkov
Date of Publication1902
LanguageRussian
NotesThis is the rare first Russian translation of Hume's "Philosophical Essays concerning Human Understanding", which was first published in English in 1748. In the late eighteenth century, Hume was known in Russia chiefly as a writer on law, politics and history, rather than as a philosopher. In the 19th century, however, attitudes began to change once Russian thinkers gained access to French translations of his works, French being the language of the Russian nobility whose members were the main readership of his works at the time. Almost all leading Russian thinkers of the second half of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century showed an interest in Hume, particularly in his empiricism and his interpretation of causation. Consequently Russian translations of Hume's main philosophical works were published in the 1890s and the first decade of the 20th century. Moreover, during the social and intellectual ferment of pre-Revolutionary Russia Hume's work on the philosophy of religion was particularly in demand. Lenin may have consulted this translation when writing his own main philosophical work "Materialism and empiriocriticism", published in 1909. He discusses Hume's work in some detail, dismissing his ideas as outdated. In the post-Revolution Soviet Union, free thinking was not encouraged and Hume's philosophy, whilst regarded as being progressive for its time, did not fit in with Soviet revision of philosophical heritage. New publications and translations of Hume did not appear until the 1960s in the Krushchev era of greater cultural freedom.
ShelfmarkRB.m.705
Reference SourcesArtemieva, T. and Mikeshin, M. "Hume in Russia" in Jones, P. (ed.), The Reception of David Hume in Europe, London & N.Y., 2005.
Acquired on23/12/11
AuthorIsham, Charles Edmund, Sir
TitleTyrant of the Cuchullin Hills
Date of Publicationc. 1860?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis poem about a ferocious golden eagle terrorising the Cuillin mountains of Skye appears here in what seems to be a brightly-coloured, even garish lithograph. The borders of the text are attractive, and the elaborate initial letters are executed with some success. The Library has a photocopy of what is probably an earlier version of the work, which has different ornamentation (XP.461). As an artist's book, this is a work of some quality. Its poetic merits are another matter. As a sample, here is the eagle's dream of lamb-killing: 'He dream't he first tore out their eyes, Enjoying much the feeble cries. And when he'd finished all the flock, He watched from some convenient rock, Exhibiting intense delight When heartrent mothers came in sight. He then returned and tortured more The lambs which still remained in store At dawn of day we will suppose The tyrant from his bed arose Quite vexed at finding but a dream All that reality would seem.' It is one thing to project human emotions onto a bird, but to describe it getting out of bed after a pleasant dream opens up new possibilities for (unintentionally) comic verse.
ShelfmarkRB.m.515
Acquired on04/03/02
AuthorIsham, Charles, Sir
TitleThe tyrant of the Cuchullin hills
Imprint[Lamport, Northamptonshire?: s.n.]
Date of Publication[1878?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is lithographed book, privately printed by the rural improver and gardener Sir Charles Isham (1819-1903), probably at his family estate of Lamport, Northanptonshire. Inspired by a trip to the Isle of Skye, the text is a poem about an eagle terrorising the sheep population of Skye. The verse is, as noted elsewhere on this database, of a decidely poor quality; Isham enjoyed producing entertaining doggerel verse to accompany his display of garden gnomes and this poem falls into the category of doggerel. Copies of a pamphlet version, dating from the 1860s?, exist in various states with different ornamental borders and illustrations (e.g. RB.m.515, purchased a few years ago). This is a 'deluxe' edition, bound in morocco, with the text on thick card with gilt edges. Unlike the pamphlet version this copy has no preliminary leaves of explanatory text and consists only of the text of the poem. The text is presented within elaborate ornamental borders and includes illustrations based on water colours by Isham; it is also illustrated with albumen prints of Skye landscapes and sheep. Isham appears to have been an enthusiastic producer of booklets on his estate, using lithography to create brightly coloured books.
ShelfmarkRB.l.283
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary National Biography
Acquired on01/02/13
AuthorIsthvanfius, Nicolaus
TitleHistoriarum de rebus Ungaricis
ImprintCologne
Date of Publication1622
NotesNote: This stunning goatskin binding, bound for King James I (James VI of Scotland), has been attributed to the royal binder John Bateman. The spine and the covers have been entirely tooled in gilt fleur de lys within roundels enclosing small flowers, with the royal arms gilt tooled in the centre of both covers. Appointed as royal binder in 1604, Bateman probably also used a number of quite angular cornerpiece tools in addition to thistle and other smaller ornamentations. Fields (or semis/semées) of fleur de lys were very much in vogue on French bindings from the 1540s onwards and this style was used by English* binders during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. According to Davenport, this form of ornamentation (thistles, tridents, and stars were also employed) was used for James more than for any other sovereign. These distinctive and dominant semis of fleur de lys are found only on folios bound for James and at least four other folios in this style have been attributed to Bateman. As the royal binder he bound many works for James as well as for his sons Charles (when he was Prince of Wales) and Henry, who died in 1612. The designs for these bindings were relatively simple, usually with the respective coats of arms tooled in the centre of the covers. John Bateman was one of only two binders active during the reign of Elizabeth I whose name and work is known. He was the son of John Bateman a London clothworker. Beginning on 29 September 1567, Bateman served a 12 year apprenticeship, and became free of the Stationers' Company in January 1580. He seems to have run a large bindery and is recorded as taking on a number of apprentices between 1584 and 1605. John and his son Abraham received the appointment of royal binder (for life) to James I by warrant dated 3 May 1604 for a yearly fee of £6. Little is known about Abraham. He was apprenticed to his father and was freed by patrimony on 13 April 1607. He took his first apprentice in June 1608 and two further apprentices are recorded. In the Wardrobe accounts between 1609 and 1615 there are frequent mentions of payment made to John Bateman for binding a variety of religious and secular books. Of particular interest is a mention in a warrant to the Great Wardrobe of 1613 of a number of books 'in Turquey lether wrought over wth small tools'. Bateman was one of a few binders using goatskin imported from Turkey. He was still royal binder during Charles I's reign and was last issued with a livery in 1639/40. However no bindings made by him for King Charles survive. The last Bateman binding was for a book printed in 1635. The text of the volume is also noteworthy as it provides further evidence of James's interest in European affairs. It would have provided him with some context for events unfolding in central Europe in the early stages of what was to become the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Featured on the title page engraved by Balthasar Behrvazin (?), is a central medallion portrait of Ferdinand II, the Holy Roman Emperor, King of Hungary and Bohemia. It was his conflict with Frederick V, the Elector of the Palatinate and husband to James's daughter Elizabeth, which sparked this long series of wars. This book constituted an important addition to James's extensive collection of printed material relating to the affairs of the Palatinate and of the German Empire in general. The book is the first edition of this seminal history of Hungary, covering the period 1490-1607, a time when the Turks were exerting enormous pressure on strongholds of European Christendom. Hungary in fact had been annexed by Sulieman the Magnificent in 1540. The author, Nicolaus Isthvanfius (also known as Miklos Istavanffy, 1536-1615), in addition to being an historian was also a statesman and a soldier, who both fought against and negotiated with the Turks. Much of the work, which he wrote after his retirement from public life, deals with events that Isthvanfius actually witnessed or learnt about at first hand. It is one of the principal source books for the history of the Turks in 16th century Europe. Another edition, riddled with errors, and with an account of the siege and relief of Vienna (1683) was published in 1685. Aside from the binding, the book itself is a significant addition to the Library's collection of continental books. This is a rare text: only 4 other copies of this book have been traced, one of which is in Britain (BL). Provenance: King James I, Chichester Cathedral Library, W.A. Foyle (bookplate on upper flyleaf) -- lot 449 at Foyle sale July 2000, sold for £2350 **The Library now holds the following items belonging to James: Bdg.m.104 Chard, Simon. Germanicarum rerum quatuor celebriores vetustioresque chronographi. (Frankfurt, 1566) With Scottish royal arms Adv.Ms.19.2.6. Stewart of Baldynneis, John. Ms. of Ane abridgement of Roland Furious translait out of Ariost, etc. (c.1585) Bdg.m.89. Bellarmine, Robert, Saint. Disputationum Roberti Bellarmini Politani. (Ingolstadi, 1601) Fanfare binding by Simon Corberan, Paris, with Scottish royal arms Gray.645 Camden, William. Brittania. (London, 1607) with non-royal coat of arms K.99.a Cotgrave, R. A dictionary of the French and English tongues. (London, 1611) with non-royal coat of arms Adv.Ms.33.3.4 -- early 17th century copies in French of treaties between France and her allies 1552-1615 With royal coat of arms Ry.III.a.11. James I. The workes of the most high and mighty Prince Iames. (London, 1616) with non-royal coat of arms RB.2081(1). James I. A meditation upon the Lords Prayer. (London, 1619) RB.2081(2). James II. Two meditations of the King Maiestie. (London, 1620) Adv.Ms.33.3.3 Anonymous English treaties about the war with Spain. (c.1621) with non-royal coat of arms *See H.25.b.10 - James Keppler, Harmonices mundi libri V (Lincii Austriae, 1619), bound for Charles as Prince of Wales, binding decorated with coat of arms in centre on field of large fleur de lys within a border of thistles.
ShelfmarkBdg.l.43
Reference SourcesBirrell, T.A. English monarchs and their books: from Henry VII to Charles II. (London, 1987) Davenport, Cyril. 'Royal English bookbindings', in The Portfolio. (London, 1896) Foot, Mirjam. The Henry Davis Gift: a collection of bookbindings – v.1 Studies in the history of bookbinding. (London, 1978) Foot, Mirjam. Studies in the history of bookbinding. (London, 1993) Horne, Herbert P. The binding of books (London, 1915) Maggs. Bros. Bookbinding in the British Isles: sixteenth to the twentieth century. (Cat. 1075) (London, 1987) Nixon, Howard M. Five centuries of English bookbinding. (London, 1978) Nixon, Howard M. and Foot, Mirjam. The history of decorated bookbinding in England. (Oxford, 1992) Royal English bookbindings in the British Museum. (London, 1957) Specimens of royal fine and historical bookbinding, selected from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle. (London, 1893)
Acquired on28/06/01
AuthorJack, Gilbert.
TitleMetaphysicae seu Primae philosophicae institutiones [bound with] Institutiones physicae.
ImprintSchleusingen: Reiffenberg
Date of Publication1638
LanguageLatin
NotesThis bound volume contains two scarce early editions of works by the Scottish philosopher and physician Gilbert Jack (Jacchaeus) (1578-1628). Jack was born in Aberdeen and studied at the city's Marischal College; he went on to study on the Continent, first, from 1598, at the Lutheran University of Helmstadt and from 1601 at Herborn, where he was appointed professor extraordinarius. In 1603 he moved to the university at Leiden in the Netherlands, where he remained for the rest of his life, studying and teaching philosophy and physics. He became a friend of leading Dutch intellectuals such as Caspar Barlaeus, Hugo Grotius, and G. J. Vossius. Jack was an Aristotelian philosopher and these two textbooks were based on his interpretation of Aristotle's doctrines. "Primae philosophicae institutiones" drew on his philosophy lectures at Leiden and was first published in 1616. This particular edition was printed in the Thuringian town of Schleusingen for a publisher in the nearby university town of Jena. "Institutiones physicae" was first published in 1615, this is the third edition published in Amsterdam in 1644 by Elzevir.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2830(1-2)
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on02/12/11
AuthorJames Clerk Maxwell
TitleTraite d'Electricite et de Magnetisme
ImprintParis: Gauthier-Villars
Date of Publication1883
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is the first French translation of James Clerk Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, based on the second edition which was published in 1881, after Maxwell's death. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography records that 'the impact of the Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism was at first muted, but within a few years of his death his field theory shaped the work of Maxwellian physicists ... Maxwell's field theory and electromagnetic theory of light came to be accepted and regarded as one of the most fundamental of all physical theories.' In his preface, French engineer G. Seligmann-Lui explains that this translation includes extra material designed to help French professors and students understand concepts and theories Maxwell uses which are not yet taught in France, but also that it will be useful to practising engineers. He praises Maxwell for writing a book 'with a good number of chapters, easy to read, where [Maxwell's ideas] can be found set out with perfect clarity'.
ShelfmarkAB.4.209.01
Reference SourcesOxford DNB.
Acquired on19/02/09
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