Rare Books - Important Acquisitions List All

Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 735 of the most important items we have acquired since 2000. We update it regularly as new material comes in. The description gives information about why it was chosen and what makes it particularly interesting. You can order the list by date of acquisition, author or title.

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 496 to 510 of 735:

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AuthorBurns, Robert
TitlePoetical Works
ImprintAlnwick: by W. Davison
Date of Publication[1812]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2331
Reference SourcesEgerer 130
Acquired on10/06/04
AuthorSpenser, Edmund.
TitlePoetical Works.
ImprintLondon: [by S. and R. Bentley for] William Pickering, Nattali and Combe, and Talboys and Wheeler in Oxford
Date of Publication1825
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.921
Acquired on16/02/07
AuthorSmith, Adam
TitlePolitisk undersokning om lagar, som hindra och tvinga inforseln af sadana utlandska varor
ImprintGoteborg: S. Norberg
Date of Publication1804
LanguageSwedish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2346
Reference SourcesTribe, Keith (ed.) A critical bibliography of Adam Smith (London, 2002)
Acquired on30/10/04
AuthorHowe, James (1780-1839)
TitlePortraits of Highland Society prize cattle and others of distinguished merit. Part II
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Company, MDCCCXXXII [1832]
Date of Publication1832
LanguageEnglish
NotesJames 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.
ShelfmarkFB.l.331
Reference SourcesA Dictionary of Sporting Artists 1650-1990 / Mary Ann Wingfield The Dictionary of British Equestrian Artists / Sally Mitchell
Acquired on04/07/03
AuthorFriedrich von Coelln
TitlePraktisches Handbuch fuer Staats- und regierungsbeamte besonders in den preussischen Staaten: nach Anleitung Adam Smiths Untersuchung ueber die Natur des Nationalreichthums.
ImprintBerlin : G. Hann,
Date of Publication1816
LanguageGerman
NotesC÷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.
ShelfmarkRB.m.739
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on09/04/13
AuthorStevenson, Robert Louis
TitlePrayers written at Vailima
ImprintPacific Palisades, California: The Melville Press
Date of Publication1999
LanguageEnglish
NotesA 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.
ShelfmarkFB.s.743
Acquired on09/03/00
AuthorStevenson, Robert Louis
TitlePrince Otto
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1888
LanguageEnglish
NotesPurchased 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.
ShelfmarkABS.2.201.011
Acquired on05/01/03
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleProclamation ... March.24 ... 1602 [1603]
ImprintLondon: b. Robert Barker
Date of Publication1602/3
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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'.
ShelfmarkRB.el.5
Acquired on04/10/00
AuthorDalrymple, Hew Whitefoord.
TitleProclamation by his excellency Lieutenant General Sir Hugh Dalrymple = Proclamacao de sua excellencia o Tenente General Sir Huch [sic] Dalrymple.
ImprintLisbon : Na impressae regia
Date of Publication[1808]
LanguageEnglish, Portuguese
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkAP.4.212.01
Reference SourcesH.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
Acquired on03/02/12
AuthorScotland. Estates.
TitleProclamation 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.
ImprintFrankfurt : Philipps Fievet
Date of Publication1649
LanguageGerman
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkRB.m.697
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on29/01/10
AuthorAssociation for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa
TitleProposals for printing by subscription ... Travels in the interior parts of Africa
Imprint[London: G. Nicol]
Date of Publication1798
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkAP.5.212.01
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on18/11/11
AuthorAdam, William, (1689-1748)
TitleProposals 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. ...
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication[1766]
LanguageEnglish
NotesDuring 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.
ShelfmarkRB.l.259
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue; Harris, Eileen, "British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785", Cambridge University Press, 1990; Oxford DNB
Acquired on03/11/09
AuthorCunningham, James, Captain.
TitleProposals for printing, by subscription, Tartuffe: or, The holy hypocrite detected and exposed.
Imprint[Edinburgh?: s.n.],
Date of Publication[1764?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a single sheet item in the form of a spoof prospectus which is referred to in a 1764 legal action entitled: 'Memorial for Mr. David Blair, minister of the Gospel and Brechin, defender, against Captain James Cunningham, defender'. David Blair (1701-1769), minister at Brechin, believing that his second wife Ann was having an adulterous affair with Captain Cunningham of Balbougie, Fife, published a story that the child recently born to his wife was not his but was fathered by Cunningham. Blair had married his second wife in 1759, his first wife having died some years previously, and is recorded as having one child with her in 1762, a daughter who lived only for a few months. Cunningham denied the charges, but admitted to publishing several satirical publications on Blair of which this is most probably one. The reference to "Tartuffe" in the title recalls the famous 17th-century French comedy by Moliere, in which the main character is a scheming hypocrite, who ostensibly and exaggeratedly feigns virtue, especially religious virtue.
ShelfmarkAP.5.209.09
Acquired on10/04/09
AuthorDe Serres, Jean/ Buchanan, George
TitlePsalmorum Davidis aliquot metaphrasis Graeca Ioannis Serrani. Adiuncta eregione paraphrasi Latinia G. Buchanani.
Imprint[Geneva] Henri Estienne
Date of Publication1575
LanguageGreek and Latin
NotesThis copy of Jean de Serres' translation of the Psalms into Greek verse, with George Buchanan's Latin verse paraphrase on facing pages, was presented by de Serres to Buchanan, that 'most excellent' man, as his inscription on the title page attests. It would be wonderful if such a gift were part of a fruitful exchange between two humanist scholars, but the reality seems a more pathetic tale. In the printed preface to his Psalms, de Serres explains how Buchanan's psalm paraphrase inspired his own. In 1578, three years later, when he was one of the editors of Estienne's edition of Plato, he wrote to Buchanan, sending him a copy, and again mentioning how he had produced his Psalm translations and the debt he owed to Buchanan, but commenting that he had written before and had not received a reply. This letter is held by the NLS at Adv.Ms.15.1.6.f24. (There is no record that he ever received a reply to this second gift, either.) Buchanan had by most accounts a good relationship with Henri Estienne, the celebrated scholar-printer who published this book - the Estienne family were the original publishers of Buchanan's psalm paraphrases and indeed brought out an edition of that work in the same year, so why he would not reply to a fellow Estienne author, and a Calvinist and classical scholar at that, is unknown. The obvious conclusion is that this item was sent to Buchanan by de Serres on its publication with a letter of praise and introduction similar to the one that still survives, but Buchanan never acknowledged the gift. However, since it survived and presumably remained in Scottish hands, he must have kept this copy, or at least given it to a good home. This copy is not mentioned in Durkan's Buchanan bibliography. The whereabouts of this item for the next few hundred years are uncertain; the next recorded owner is Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, (1747-1813) whose signature is on the flyleaf. Lord Woodhouselee was an important figure in Edinburgh legal and literary circles at the end of the 18th century, and the NLS holds a number of other items from his library. This book is considerably earlier than those works, perhaps showing an interest in earlier Scottish authors - Woodhouselee's concern with his literary contemporaries, especially Burns, is well documented. More recently this book was owned by the modern scholar Elizabeth Armstrong, whose label is inside the front cover. Presumably she acquired this book through her interest in the Estienne family (her book on Robert Estienne first appeared in 1954).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2296
Reference SourcesDurkan: Bibliography of George Buchanan 1994
Acquired on16/04/03
TitlePsalterium Sancti Ruperti (Vollstandige Faksimile-Ausgabe im Originalformat des Manuale)
ImprintGraz, Austria : Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt
Date of Publication[2007]
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is a facsimile of the miniature codex 'Psalterium Sancti Ruperti' from the library foundation of St. Peter in Salzburg. The pages measure only 37 x 31 mm in size and the Carolingian minuscule is easily legibile in spite of a font size of 1.5mm and a maximal line-spacing of only 1.2mm The original Psalterium was most likely written in the third-quarter of the 9th century in north-eastern France. All 117 folios of the facsimile are according to the original border cuttings. The binding closely follows the details of the original and feature front and back book covers out of wood, two authentic, bicoloured trusses and a hand-stitched headband with exposed book spine.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2677
Acquired on28/08/07
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