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 818 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 511 to 525 of 818:
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|Date of Publication||1728|
|Notes||This is a fine thesis binding in black morocco, with gold tooling on boards, spine, board edges and turn-ins. Fine green and gilt Dutch endpapers, with the attractive label of Kerr & Richardson, book makers of Glasgow, on the front pastedown. Curiously, Kerr & Richardson do not appear in SBTI. The actual text is ESTC T188177, the only other known copy of which is in the Advocates' Library. The textblock in this new copy is untrimmed and in superior condition. The binding complements that of Bdg.s.13, which may well have come from the same workshop: the structure of the design is similar, but different tools are used. The new copy is particularly distinguished by the stars in the panels on the spine, and the 'chain' design of the diagonals. The floral roll which makes up the central rectangle and which is repeated on the turn-ins is mostly crisp and clear, although there are a couple of slips on the front board where it can be seen how the craftsman ran on slightly too far.|
|Author||Hardiviller, Charles-Achille d'|
|Title||Souvenirs des highlands voyage a la suite de Henri V en 1832|
|Date of Publication||1835|
|Notes||Chambord, Henri Dieudonné d'Artois, Count (comte) de, Duke (duc) De Bordeaux (1820-1883) was the last heir of the elder branch of the Bourbons and, as Henry V, pretender to the French throne from 1830. He was a lover of Scotland and travelled through the country as a boy in 1832. Charles-Achille d'Hardiviller accompanied the young 'king' into exile. He was his drawing master and was reponsible for the images which were lithographed by Villain. The thirty plates depict various scenes in Scotland, including Fort Augustus, Inverlochy, Lochleven and Edinburgh. There is a particularly striking one of Henri V in full highland dress at the Rest and Be Thankfull.
This copy is as issued in three parts with the original green paper covers. There are two slips accompanying the three issues. One declares that the frontispiece of Henri V will come with the second part, which will be July 1835, and mentions postal costs for the provinces and overseas will be charged to the subscribers. The second one, a hand-written note, announces that an examination committee (la Comite des examinateurs) have withheld from publication the lithographed plate of Princesse Louise, Henri's sister.|
|Title||Bildliche Darstellungen in Arabeskenform zu Ossians Gedichten|
|Imprint||Berlin: G. Reimer|
|Date of Publication||1835|
|Notes||This is a rare copy, in its original wrappers, of a portfolio of six lithographs, and a leaf of descriptive text, by the German artist Carl Harnisch (1800-1882). The lithographs are illustrations are inspired by the poems of Ossian, which had already appeared in German translation in the 1770s and continued to be popular in the early 19th century. The artist has done them in the arabesque form, which uses a decorative motif comprising surface decorations based on rhythmic linear patterns of scrolling and interlacing foliage and tendrils. The European version of arabesque art was inspired by early Islamic art and became widely used from the 15th and 16th centuries onwards. In his introduction Harnisch states that, "the following leaves, a series of drawings in the arabesque form, arose out of reading Ossian. The intention of their creator, as can been seen from the chosen form of representation, has been to portray an overall view of the ancient Nordic bard's individual sensibilities and poetry, rather than each drawing represent a particular passage in the poet's work." Harnisch had already published in 1832 a series of arabesque lithographs of illustrations inspired by Goethe's Faust. Harnisch later emigrated to the USA where he continued to work as an artist and lithographer.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes|
|Title||Fragstuck des christlichen Glaubens an die neuwe sectische Predigkanden.|
|Imprint||Freyburg in Uchtlandt: Abraham Gemperlin,|
|Date of Publication||1585|
|Notes||This is the first German translation of the treatise "Certaine demandes concerning the Christian religion" by the Scottish Jesuit John Hay (1547-1607). Hay moved from Scotland to Rome in 1566 and spent most of the rest of his life on the Continent, returning to Scotland in 1579, where, in the light of fears about the Jesuits and their teaching, his presence attracted much controversy. He based himself in Aberdeenshire, where the Counter-Reformation movement was already well established, before returning to France. "Certaine demandes" was first published in Paris in 1580 and consisted of 166 questions on points of religious controversy; it was highly influential on the Continent and a key text for supporters of the Counter-Reformation. The lack of a response to the work in Hay's homeland helped to strengthen Catholicism in North-Eastern Scotland. A French translation appeared in 1583, followed by this German translation two years later by the Swiss Catholic theologian Sebastian Werro (1555-1614). This particular copy has the added significance of being a presentation copy from Werro to the Swiss nobleman Ludwig von Afry. The contemporary binding contains a stamped inscription in Latin on the front board recording the presentation of the book by Werro. The text of Werro's dedication of the book to Afry is also repeated in MS on the front pastedown, in Werro's hand. There are also a number of MS corrections to the text which are possibly done by Werro.|
|Reference Sources||Shaaber H110; VD16 H843; Allison & Rogers, Counter Reformation, I, 648.|
|Author||Headrick, Rev. James|
|Title||Essay on the various modes of bringing waste lands into a state fit for cultivation and improving their natural productions.|
|Imprint||Dublin: Printed by H. Fitzpatrick|
|Date of Publication||1801|
|Notes||This is a survey of various techniques of land improvements and reclamation, with details of experiments carried out by the author in Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, Dumfries, Galloway and other parts of Scotland. James Headrick later became a clergyman, and published a study of the geology and agriculture of the island of Arran. Headrick states that the majority of his findings were from his own observations and experiments rather than from secondary sources.
Headrick's work has been bound with the 3rd edition of William Curtis's Practical observations on the British grasses, especially such as are best adapted to the laying down or improving of meadows and pastures. Curtis's treatise began as a four-page folio contribution to the sixth fascicle of his Flora Londiniensis, which was printed in 1787. An expanded second edition was published as a pamphlet in 1790. The verso of the final leaf ends with an advertisement for 'the packet of seeds, recommended in this pamphlet, [which] may be had where the pamphlet is published, and at the Botanic Nursery, Bromton, price ten shillings and sixpence.'|
|Title||Battle of Culloden|
|Imprint||London: Laurie & Whittle|
|Date of Publication||1797|
|Notes||This original image for this was drawn by 'A. Heckel', probably the German artist Augustin Heckel, 1690-1770 and engraved by 'L.S.'. It depicts the battle of Culloden with William, Duke of Cumberland in the foreground. The fact that it was published over 50 years after the battle demonstrates how evocative the Jacobite rebellion was for many people many years afterwards. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery holds the original engraving which was 'printed for and sold by Tho. Bowles, May 1, 1747'.
There is no copy of this print in the Blaikie Collection at the SNPG.
The use of prints in the political process had been established for many years in Britain, in effect since the Civil War. Although a huge number of the prints produced were aimed at the large constituency of Jacobite sympathizers at home and especially abroad, the victors at Culloden also wished to get their message across in graphic form. This image is a case where the polemical function of the image is further enhance by the inclusion of text in the print itself. The rebels' 'rashness met with its deserved chastisement ? from Munro's intrepid regiments'. The rebels are also described as 'disturbers of the publick repose'.|
|Reference Sources||Sharp, Richard. The engraved record of the Jacobite movement. Scolar Press, 1996. HP4.97.202|
|Author||Heddle, Matthew Forster|
|Title||The county geognosy and mineralogy of Scotland.|
|Imprint||Truro: Lake & Lake|
|Date of Publication||1891?|
|Notes||MF Heddle was born in Orkney in 1828 and educated at Edinburgh, becoming a student of the University and later practising medicine in the city. His real love, however, was geology and in particular mineralogy; even when he was later appointed professor of chemistry at St Andrews - a post he held for over 20 years - his main passion remained collecting rock samples in the north of Scotland and the Hebrides and publishing papers on his discoveries for various scientific societies.
Heddle was a powerfully built man, who in the course of collecting minerals probably climbed most of the Scottish mountains, and was a Member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club. His physical toughness and stamina were necessary for his fieldwork in inhospitable places, carrying 28 lb hammers, dynamite and wedges to obtain his rock samples.
Heddle's most famous work, "The Mineralogy of Scotland ", was published posthumously in 1901, four years after his death. "The County Geognosy" appears to be a forerunner of Heddle's magnum opus, which was at the time regarded as the most comprehensive mineralogical survey of a single country. It is a composite volume consisting of various article contributions by Heddle to the "Mineralogical magazine" in the 1870s and 1880s and additional material gathered from other sources, including material dating from the 1890s. The sheets were bound to form the book which was then presumably privately distributed. The Geognosy chapters on Sutherland (the last ones under the general title) appeared in six sections in the Mineralogical Magazine in the years 1881 (2), 1883 (1), 1883 (2) and 1884(1). In 1883 the Mineralogical Society transferred their business from the printers Lake & Lake of Truro to Messrs Williams and Strahan of London. Heddle, as an ex-President, took possession of spare sheets printed by Lake and Lake. He may have used these along with work done by the new printer, and other offprints, to make up copies of the book and sent them out to acquaintances and academic colleagues. The main text ends at p. 520 and includes a number of geological maps and attractive coloured plates which endeavour to recreate the microscopic structure of rocks. It is likely that other copies, including the one held by GUL, have different 'extras' according to whom Heddle was presenting the book. Included in this copy is an "Addendum" a humorous poem presumably about Heddle written by A.G. - his fellow scientist Sir Archibald Geikie, a photograph of Heddle, appropriately holding a rock sample, taken during his time at St Andrews, and a copy of a newspaper obituary tipped in to the back of the book.
The provenance of the book is also worthy of note. The MS inscription on the front flyleaf is "Edwin Traill". This is very likely Heddle's nephew, i.e. a son of Heddle's sister Henrietta, who was born in Orkney in 1854. The NLS copy also has an obituary poem "M. Foster [sic] Heddle" ('Foster' has been corrected in MS) pasted on to recto of one of the plates. This poem was written by T.P. Johnston (Rev. Thomas Peter Johnston of Carnbee), father-in-law of one of Heddle's daughters, and subsequently published in 1912 in a volume of Johnston's occasional poems. |
|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.|
|Author||Highland Society of Scotland.|
|Title||Report drawn up by a committee of the Highland Society of Scotland.|
|Imprint||Stirling: M. Randall,|
|Date of Publication|| [1812?]|
|Notes||This is an unrecorded Stirling printing of a report drawn up by a special committee of the Highland Society of Scotland to recommend "the great utility of establishing a general uniformity of weights and measures all over Scotland". The Act of Union of 1707 had stipulated that weights and measures in Scotland and England should be uniform, but over a century later there was clearly a lack of uniformity within Scotland itself (as well as England), despite a series of Weights and Measures Acts being passed in the British Parliament in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The committee, appointed in January 1811, made a number of recommendations in its report to ensure the co-operation of all the Scottish counties in adopting common standards. The printed report also records the Society's official approval of the recommendations at their general meeting in July of 1811. The whole issue, however, was not decisively tackled by the British government until the Weights and Measures Act of 1824, when the imperial system of units was adopted throughout Britain and its empire. The report was printed by Mary Randall, the widow of Charles Randall who a few years earlier had established the first printing press in Stirling since the 16th century. After her husband's death in 1812, Mary continued the business until 1820, printing large numbers of chapbooks. This particular printing is in chapbook duodecimo format, with typically low quality printing on low-grade paper; the NLS copy is in its original state unbound, uncut and unopened.|
|Reference Sources||Scottish Book Trade Index|
|Author||Hill, Alexander W. |
|Title||[Archive of pictorialist photographs taken in Scotland c. 1907-1945]|
|Imprint||[Edinburgh: A.W. Hill] |
|Date of Publication||[c. 1907-1945]|
|Notes||This is an important archive of bromoil transfer photographs/prints, consisting of 60 images on 57 paper sheets, by the Scottish amateur photographer A.W. Hill. This group of images has been selected from the largest known archive of Hill's work to come on the market. It ranges from unsigned trial prints, three of which printed on the reverse of others, to signed and mounted exhibition prints. The prints are on a variety of papers and in different sizes; most of them are signed and titled in pencil by the photographer. Born in Girvan, southwest Scotland, Alexander Wilson Hill (1867-1949) was a bank manager by profession but also a dedicated photographer. He took up photography in the 1890s after dabbling with painting, and was to become a longstanding member of the Edinburgh Photographic Society (EPS). He became a devotee of pictorialism, a late 19th-century movement which believed that photography should seek to mimic the painting and etching of the time. Using methods such as soft focus, special filters, lens coatings, manipulation of images in the darkroom and exotic printing processes, often on rough-surface printing papers, pictorialist photographs were intentionally fuzzy. They often mirrored the then fashionable impressionist style of painting in their composition and choice of subject matter. Pictorialism went out of fashion after 1914, but Hill remained loyal to its aesthetic, using the bromoil (transfer) process as his preferred means of expression over a period spanning approximately forty years. The bromoil process was introduced in 1907 and was based on a conventional photographic print made on gelatine silver bromide paper. The introduction of a dichromated bleach allowed for the softening of parts of the original silver-based image, enabling the gelatine to absorb an oil-based pigment, applied selectively by the photographer. To achieve a bromoil transfer print this pigmented (bromoil) image was then transferred to plain paper with the aid of a press. The resulting transfer print was therefore a hand-crafted process, in which the image comprised pigment on plain paper, and was not susceptible to the fading more often associated with silver-based prints of the same period. Although Hill appears to have standardised his technique from an early date, he remained open to a broad range of subject matter, as can be seen in this archive. He photographed extensively in and around Edinburgh, in particular in the Merchiston area near his home in Polwarth. The archive also includes street scenes and images of workers in rural settings and the fishing industry, adding an unusual 'documentary' edge to images that were otherwise still executed within pictorial traditions. There are also landscapes and coastal views from elsewhere in Scotland and a few examples of portraiture and still life. Hill exhibited from the early 1900s to the 1940s, at regular intervals during the 1920s and 1930s, not just in the UK, but also elsewhere in Europe and in North America. He was a regular exhibitor at the annual exhibition of the EPS, The Scottish National Salon and the London Salon of Photography. He taught photography at the Boroughmuir Commercial Institute in Edinburgh and lectured at the EPS on landscape photography and on the bromoil process, as well as being the first convenor of their photographic gallery and museum, which was established in 1931. Hill was one of the first to support the idea of the creation of a national collection of Scottish photography and actively encouraged gifts and donations to this end. It was therefore fitting that in 1987 his own personal photography collection was gifted to the national collection held at Scottish National Portrait Gallery; it includes examples of his own work.
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes; EdinPhoto website www.edinphoto.org.uk|
|Author||Hodgson & Co. [Auctioneers]|
|Title||Catalogue of an extensive & valuable library of economic, historical and general literature.|
|Imprint||London: [Hodgson & Co.], |
|Date of Publication||1904|
|Notes||Auction sale catalogues may not at first sight seem particularly interesting but the stories that lie behind them often are. This catalogue was produced for the sale in London in 1904, between May 9th and 13th, of the "property of a gentleman" - a substantial library covering mainly trade and commerce. The books on sale included several early works on Scotland, America and the West Indies, works on tobacco, and a large number of 17th-century books of the Civil War and Commonwealth periods. The "gentleman" in question was J.T. (James Taylor) Bell of Glasgow. Bell was a senior partner in the tobacco firm of J. & F. Bell, founded by his father and uncle in the mid-19th century, which manufactured Three Nuns tobacco and Three Bells cigarettes. The company ran into severe financial difficulties in the early 1900s and went into voluntary liquidation in early 1904. At the bankruptcy court in Glasgow in October of that year, the sorry state of Bell's finances was revealed. James Taylor Bell himself owed the company £12,000, and, as a means of reducing his debts, he revealed that he had had his library of c. 9000 volumes valued and then sold. He admitted that he had spent over £11,000 acquiring his library but that the Hodgson's sale in May had only realised £2,000, leaving with him a loss of £9,000. This particular copy of the sale catalogue reveals all the details of the sale; it has been neatly annotated in ink with the prices realised for each lot in the sale. The name of the London booksellers Francis Edwards is inscribed on the front pastedown which suggests that it belonged to an employee of the firm who attended the sale. Most of the c. 1700 lots in the sale sold for very modest prices, rarely going above the £1-2 range. The apparent lack of interest in Bell's library is in stark contrast to the prices realised for 15 lots of old English literature, owned by a separate collector, which were sold at the end of the third day of the sale. These books attracted far higher prices, most notably £230 for a "clean and perfect copy" of the London, 1598 edition of George Chapman's translation of Homer's "Iliad". |
|Reference Sources||The Scotsman "Failure of a Tobacco Manufacturer"(article October 15 1904).|
|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|
|Title||Histoire de la maison de Stuart [de Tudor]|
|Date of Publication||1761|
|Notes||This 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.|
|Shelfmark||RB.s.2327 and RB.s.2328|
|Reference Sources||ESTC T229804
Jessop, Bibliography of David Hume, p.32|
|Title||Idea di una perfetta repubblica|
|Imprint||Milano: Da' torchi della tipografia milanese in contrada nuova.|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||This 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.|
|Reference Sources||Not in Jessop|
|Title||Wysgeerige en staatkundige verhandelingen [Political Discourses]|
|Imprint||Rotterdam : Abraham Bothall,|
|Date of Publication||1766|
|Notes||This 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.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|