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 721 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 721:
Ordered by title |
Order by author
| Order by date
|Author||Great Britain. Record Commission|
|Title||Record Commission. Scotland. Correspondence of C.P. Cooper, Esq. Secretary to the Board, with Thomas Thomson, Esq. deputy clerk register [etc] + 2 other items|
|Imprint||London : [Record Commission], |
|Date of Publication||1835|
|Notes||This particular volume contains three works relating to Thomas Thomson (1768-1852), record scholar and advocate, who, as the first deputy clerk register of Scotland, played an important role in making available early Scottish legal and parliamentary records to scholars in the early 19th century. They appear to have been specially printed for the Record Commission based in London (the Record Commission is the collective name given to a series of six Royal Commissions on the Public Records appointed between 1800 and 1831, the last one lapsing in 1837) and can be regarded as marking the start of an investigation into Thomson's financial mismanagement of Commission money with regard to the various publications he was supervising and his payment of staff working under him. Thomson had been appointed to his post at General Register House in 1806 and his achievements there were overall very impressive, but by the 1830s his rather dubious accounting procedures and tendency to get bogged down in an increasing number of editorial projects had begun to have repercussions. The first part of the first item in this volume, "Correspondence of C.P. Cooper [etc]", reproduces letters written by Thomson and Charles Purton Cooper (1793-1873), the secretary of the Record Commission, concerning the long-delayed publication of vol. 1 of "Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland". A version of volume one had been printed as early as 1800, edited by the antiquary William Robertson; but in 1804 Thomson had argued successfully that this version should not be published as it was flawed and in need of updating and expanding. As deputy clerk register of Scotland Thomson presided over the publications of vols 2-11 of the "Acts" between 1814 and 1824, but continually delayed publication of the revised version of vol. 1, covering the earliest Scottish parliaments, due his tendency to procrastinate and his obsessive desire to produce a superior version to the suppressed 1800 edition. The printed correspondence here records Cooper's exasperation at the delays and his "mortification and vexation" caused by Thomson's "long and unaccountable silence". As well as documenting Cooper's annoyance with Thomson, the second part of this first item also puts Thomson's lax financial arrangements in the spotlight by printing letters and a memorial by the Scottish antiquary Robert Pitcairn (1793-1855). In addition to claiming public money for the financial losses he had incurred publishing his 1833 work "Criminal trials in Scotland & 1488 to 1624" - a work that he had undertaken at the suggestion of Thomson - Pitcairn was also complaining that Thomson had asked him to prepare an abridgement of the register of the great seal of Scotland, while leading Pitcairn to understand that the Record Commission would pay his salary. When, after many years of research, the salary was not forthcoming, Pitcairn stated his grievances in his "Memorial" to the Commission, reproduced here; he also went to London in person in 1835 to complain about Thomson's mismanagement of the project and state his case. As an appendix to the Cooper correspondence and the Pitcairn memorial, Thomson's quarterly reports to the Record Commission for the years 1822 to 1831 are printed here. The other two items in the volume are further reports from Pitcairn to Cooper, dated February 1835 and April 1835 respectively, concerning his unpaid work on the abridgement of the register of the great seal of Scotland. Pitcairn's revelations of irregular payments to staff eventually led to a Treasury inquiry in 1839 into the financial maladministration of the Register House. In 1840 the inquiry concluded that £8570 was owing to the crown, but Thomson avoided prosecution by convincing the government that the money had been applied to record work and not for his private use. He was dismissed from his post of deputy clerk register in 1841, but was allowed to continue to work as clerk of session to the Scottish courts. Thomson, like his predecessor as president of the Bannatyne Club, Sir Walter Scott, was determined to pay off all his debts. Most of his salary as clerk of session subsequently went to pay off his creditors and the sale of his library in 1841 met nearly half of his £7,000 debt to the crown. |
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Cosmo Innes, "Memoir of Thomas Thomson, advocate" (Edinburgh: Bannatyne Club, 1854).|
|Author||Alexander, Sir William, Earl of Stirling|
|Title||Recreations with the Muses|
|Imprint||London: b. Tho. Harper|
|Date of Publication||1637|
|Notes||This collection of the works of William Alexander is of central importance to the development of Scottish literature. Alexander was a member of the 'Castalian band' (named after the mythical spring on Mount Parnassus, a symbol of the inspiration of the muses) of poets at the court of King James VI, along with writers such as Alexander Montgomerie, William Fowler, Robert and Thomas Hudson, and the king himself. When the court moved to London in 1603 with the accession of James to the English throne, the 'Castalian band' was dispersed. Alexander, like other writers who moved to London with the king, began to modify his verse, expunging Scotticisms and adopting the southern English language, so that this publication of 1637 is substantially a book of poetry in English, not Scots. Alexander was highly regarded by James VI and I and by Charles I, and was chosen by James to help him produce a new translation of the Psalms; the translation was published under James's name although it was almost all the work of Alexander. Alexander, who died in 1640, was by 1637 Secretary of State for Scotland; more notable, perhaps, is the fact that he had been granted the colonial territories of Nova Scotia (and, indeed, much of what is now Canada and the USA!). This book is thus a collection of a major Scottish author's writings, and one of the last editions published during his lifetime.
Of enormous symbolic importance is the fact that this copy contains a fine impression of the extremely rare portrait of Alexander. On the portrait is the manuscript inscription 'Liber Fra: Kinaston ex dono Nobilissimi Authoris'. Sir Francis Kynaston (1587-1642) was an influential English poet of the court of Charles I, and an appropriate recipient for this collection of Anglicised works by a Scottish-born writer. The bookseller describes the portait as one of the 'black tulips' of early English print-making, and there does not seem to be another copy with the portrait in any UK public library. This copy is of some bibliographical importance, as the inscription indicates clearly that the portrait was issued with the book (it had been argued that the rarity of the portrait was a consequence of its having been issued separately). An eighteenth-century facsimile is also bound in this copy. Another interesting bibliographical feature of this and at least two other copies is that two leaves (X1 and X6) were missing due to an error in printing early copies of that sheet; here they have been supplied from another copy.
The book is attractively bound in early nineteenth-century green morocco with gold-tooled decoration and lettering on the spine; the edges of the leaves are gilt. A note on a front flyleaf signed 'H.C.' probably indicates the ownership of the nineteenth-century collector Henry Cunliffe.
The National Library of Scotland had two copies of this text already (H.29.a.3, H.29.a.4), but the additional features of this copy enable us to claim that our holdings of this important book now approach bibliographical completeness. This will enhance further our standing as a centre for studies of early Scottish literature.|
|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.|
|Author||MacLeod, Fiona [William Sharp]|
|Title||Re-issue of the shorter stories of Fiona Macleod: rearranged, with additional tales.|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Patrick Geddes & Colleagues,|
|Date of Publication||1897-1903|
|Notes||This is a three-volume set of William Sharp's short stories, written under the pseudonym 'Fiona MacLeod', in original wrappers. Volume 1 was published in Edinburgh ca. 1897 by the publishing company founded by Patrick Geddes and Sharp to publish literature in support of the Celtic revival taking place in the British Isles. Volumes 2 and 3 have the imprint: 'London: David Nutt, at the sign of the Phoenix, Long Acre, 1903', but have the same overall layout as volume 1.|
|Author||Ogilvie, John [& John Mayne]|
|Title||Relatio incarcerationis & martyrij P. Ioannis Ogilbei natione Scoti|
|Imprint||Constantiae: ex typographaeo Leonhardi Straub.|
|Date of Publication||1616|
|Notes||This appears to be the second edition of the primary account of the sufferings of John Ogilvie (1580-1615), the Jesuit priest who was hanged for treason in Glasgow, thereby becoming one of the very few Catholic martyrs of the Reformation period. This is his own account of his sufferings, which was continued by John Mayne using the testimony of Ogilvie's fellow-prisoners, and first published at Douai in 1615. The Library has a copy of the first edition at BCL.S165, but the second edition has 7 pages of additional material. This copy has early provenance from German libraries.
Born at Drum na Keith, Ogilvie converted to Catholicism and entered the Society of Jesus. Ordained in either 1610 or 1613, he requested to work in Scotland, despite the danger faced by Catholic priests, and particularly Jesuits, when the penalty for saying Mass was death. After a successful ministry in Edinburgh and Glasgow lasting nine months, he was arrested and tortured to reveal the names of other Catholics, being deprived of sleep by being pricked with needles. James VI had offered him the chance of liberation if he would accept the spiritual supremacy of the monarch, but Ogilvie publicly rejected these terms at his trial. He was executed as a traitor on 10 March 1615.
St. John Ogilvie was canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1976, the first Scot to be canonised for over 700 years.|
|Reference Sources||True Relation of the proceedings against John Ogilvie, Edinburgh: 1615, H.34.c.41|
|Title||Remarks upon an essay on government by James Mill|
|Imprint||London: James Ridgway|
|Date of Publication||1827|
|Notes||The Scottish Utilitarian philosopher James Mill, who was father of John Stuart Mill, was an important writer on politics and economics in his own right. His article in the Encyclopaedia Britannica on government, which was strongly influenced by the ideas of Jeremy Bentham, provoked this critical response from the young writer Leveson Smith. Smith dislikes Mill's style, ideas and beliefs, and is strongly hostile to democratisation; he is also critical of David Hume. Smith's essay was published posthumously in this volume, edited by his mother. Also included are notes on the contemporary debates over Catholic emancipation (Smith was in favour) and a selection of poems. There is an attractive portrait of Smith included. The book is bound in red cloth and half-morocco, with marbled endpapers. There is a bookplate of Sidney Edward Bouverie Bouverie-Pusey. On the title-page is the manuscript note 'With Mr Vernon Smith's compliments'.|
|Reference Sources||DNB, Encyclopaedia Britannica|
|Title||Reminiscences of pleasure trips from Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and other places in Lancashire, Yorkshire, etc. to Liverpool, Fleetwood, Blackpool, the Isle of Man, Ireland, and Scotland, in the summer of 1847|
|Date of Publication||1847|
|Notes||A rare and fascinating account of two of the earliest of Thomas Cook's organised 'pleasure trips' to Scotland. It is prefaced by Cook's 'short defence of pleasure trips' or 'rational pastimes' as the author described them, which he had first organized from Leicester in 1841. Facilitated by the expanding network of railway lines and inspired by the example of Queen Victoria, Cook launched his tours to Scotland with a somewhat accident-prone excursion in the summer of 1846. Cook also comments somewhat critically on the efforts of other tour organisers and some of their excursionists including a party of Newcastle mechanics who were found 'rolling about the streets [of Edinburgh] in a state of intemperance, co-habiting with the scum of the city'. This produced 'a very unfavourable impression of Englishmen' .
This work describes two rather more successful trips in the following year. The first trip lasted a week and brought the excursionists from Fleetwood by steamer to Ardrossan and then by train to Glasgow. The tourists visited Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow, Loch Lomond and Paisley. Making use of the recently-constructed high-level rail link from Newcastle to Berwick (and experiencing long delays), the second tour was more extensive, taking in the Highlands, Staffa and Iona as well as the afore-mentioned attractions. The tourists based themselves in Oban 'a pleasant and thriving village of 100 houses', where some of their number were rebuked by the locals for not only for laughing, but also for asking the names of the mountains on the 'Scottish sabbath'. Overall, the visitors came away with a positive impression of Scotland - the climax of the tour being 'the celebrated cave of Fingal'.|
|Title||Report and plan for laying-out and planning the Meadows|
|Date of Publication||1873|
|Notes||This pamphlet puts forward plans to develop a large and much-loved public park in Edinburgh. The Meadows can be found just south of the Old Town in Edinburgh; it consists of open grassland divided up by tree-lined paths and is much used for sport and recreational pursuits by those living in the city. The park was created when a loch on the site was completely drained in the 18th century, at the behest of the agricultural improver Sir Thomas Hope, turning the marshy land into an open space. Middle Meadow Walk, opened in 1743, was laid out by Hope as a thirty foot wide walkway, enclosed on each side by a hedge and lime trees. In 1827 an Act of Parliament protected the Meadows from being built upon. When Melville Drive was opened in 1859 as part of the development of Edinburgh's South Side, the Meadows became increasing popular as a public space. From the 1860s onwards the Town Council considered ways of improving the park by creating boundary walls, removing some fencing, and raising the level of the ground by using earth excavated from the foundations of recently-constructed houses in the area. As part of the improvement process, the most famous English landscape gardener of the day, Edward Kemp (1817-1891), was presumably asked to produce this report. Kemp had made his name by overseeing the creation of Birkenhead Park in the 1840s in his role as head gardener there. He also wrote on the subject of gardens and public parks at a time when Victorian Britain was exercised with the problems of creating of green and pleasant open spaces in its congested and dirty cities. Kemp's brief report is careful to state at the outset that he would not want to see any "violent alterations or any very elaborate style of treatment" being attempted in the Meadows. He proposes replaces the "ugly" straight footpaths in the eastern part of the park with "pleasing curves" and planting evergreen shrubs to get rid of the "present bareness of the place". He argues against the introduction of any water features and proposes the creation of "shelter houses" to allow people to take cover from sudden showers and storms. On the issue of closing the central area of the park at night, which had been considered by the Council, he is in favour of doing so, pointing out that it is impossible to light the interior of the park and that the closure could be done by putting fencing along Middle Meadow Walk. 140 years on the Meadows is not greatly altered from Kemp's time, but he may be disappointed to see that there is little in the way of shrubs, fencing or pleasingly curved footpaths.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary National Biography|
|Author||St Peters Church, Edinburgh.|
|Title||Report by the Committee of Management of St. Peter's Episcopal Church new building: with first list of subscribers.|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||This is a report on the building of and fund-raising for a new Church in the southside of Edinburgh, by the building committee for the congregation of St. Peter's Roxburgh Place. This congregation had begun in 1791 as an 'overflow' from Old St. Paul's in Carrubber's Close. It continued in Roxburgh Place until the 1850s when it was decided to move further south to Lutton Place. The new building was of a neo-gothic style and designed by William Slater of London.
The church was opened for worship on Whitsunday 1860, though the debt was not cleared until 1889.
The report is accompanied by two fine lithographs by Friedrich Schenck of George St. Edinburgh. Neither lithograph is recorded in the entry for Schenck in the Directory of lithographic printers of Scotland 1820-1870. No copy of this work with plates has been traced in any library (BL, CURL, OCLC, RLIN).
The library already has a copy of this work at Dowd.465(15) which differs from this copy in a number of respects:
1. Dowd is a proof copy; this copy is a corrected proof
2. Dowd lacks the plates
3. The five lists of subscribers in Dowd are dated 25 June; the six in this copy are dated 15 July.|
|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|
|Title||Report on the present state of the Society in Scotland for propagating Christian knowledge|
|Date of Publication||1833|
|Notes||Although the Library has a number of bindings by Alexander Banks jnr (for example, NC.314.a.10; Hall.1.f ; ABS.2.80.64) there is nothing to compare with this one. His entry in SBTI reads: BANKS, Alexander junior bookbinder 5 North Bridge 1833-45 and stationer 29 North Bridge 1850. Whereas the bindings by Banks in NLS are half or full leather, mostly in blind but with some gilt work, this one is in full crimson morocco with elaborate decorations in both blind and gilt. The main design is a rectangular panel in blind with a central image of the royal crown in gilt surrounding by a gilt wreath. Enclosing all is an elaborate arabesque design in gilt at each corner with each connected by single and triple fillet lines in gilt. The spine is decorated in gilt. The stunning inner boards have eight panel segments in gilt surrounding a green satin circle. The free endpapers are fully covered in the same green satin.
The binding is signed in the lower margin of the upper inner board.|
|Title||Reportata clarissima in quattuor sancti Bonaventure ... Sententiarum libros Scoti subtilis secundi|
|Imprint||Basel : Jakob Wolff von Pforzheim|
|Date of Publication||1501|
|Notes||Three early Duns Scotus-related volumes (others at RB.s.2065, RB.s.2067), bought at the most recent sale of books from the Donaueschingen Court Library in Germany. All three volumes are in contemporary blind-stamped pigskin bindings and in fine condition. All of them bear the ink stamp of the Fuerstliche Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen on the verso of the title page, but also show earlier marks of ownership.
Note: Not in Adams. A complete copy of RB.s.2067(1), with Wolff's device on the title page hand-coloured. Bound in contemporary pigskin over wooden boards, with the remains of two clasps. Both boards are decorated with blind double fillets arranged in a panel design, with the large central panel filled with lozenge-shaped compartments. The top compartment on the upper board has been stamped (probably at a later date) with the initials LCV of the Franciscan Convent at Villingen (south-west Germany). The spine has five raised bands and a paper label in the top compartment. A second, short work has been removed from the volume, leaving the lower board detached from the text block. Otherwise this, too, is a clean copy with the text in superb condition.|
|Title||Repository of Arts.|
|Date of Publication||c.1817-c.1822|
|Notes||This large engraving (25 x 16 cm) of Daniel Macintosh's Repository of the Arts in Princes Street was probably produced for advertising purposes. It is slightly unusual in that although tradesmen did produce engraved advertisements, they were rarely as large as this. Macintosh is recorded as having been a carver, gilder and print-seller in South St. Andrew's Street from 1799 onwards. He moved to Princes Street in 1817 where he also sold "ladies fancy works, stationery, water colours & all requisites for drawing". As he was also a drawing master, it is possible that he drew the very fine illustration of his shop which was engraved by James Girtin. Little else is known about Macintosh. The National Library only holds one book he published - "Twelve etchings of views in Edinburgh", dated 1816. |
|Reference Sources||Scottish Book Trade Index|
|Title||Representation of the high-landers, who arrived at the camp of the confederated army, not far off the city of Mayence the 13th of August 1743.|
|Imprint||Norimberga: Excudit Christoph: Weigely Vidua.|
|Date of Publication||1743|
|Language||English / German / French|
|Notes||This is an important acquisition for several reasons. It consists of an engraved title-page and five leaves of plates with engravings of highland soldiers in various supposedly characteristic postures. The plates are signed ''V. G. del', which is believed to be John or Gerard van der Gucht. These brothers, both artists, were working in London in 1743, when the Black Watch regiment was sent to the English capital. At this date (two years before the 1745 Jacobite rebellion), highland dress and manners were unfamiliar to many southerners. Various prints were made of the Black Watch troops.
In 1743, Britain was involved in the War of the Austrian Succession. The Black Watch, who had been told that they were simply going to London to see the King, realised that they might be sent to Flanders. A mutiny took place in May 1743 and a number of soldiers tried to return to Scotland. Three were eventually executed, causing much resentment and possibly contributing to the strength of the Jacobite rebellion. The regiment was indeed sent to Flanders where they distinguished themselves at the battle of Fontenoy.
The Black Watch were the first kilted troops to be seen on the continent, and the interest created probably explains why this publication of plates based on the van der Gucht drawings is trilingual and printed in Nuremberg. (The English is rather unorthodox). These plates were the basis for several other publications, such as the plates engraved by John Sebastian Muller.
This copy comes from the Library of the 17th Earl of Perth (lot 201 at the auction on 20 November 2003 by Christie's).|
|Reference Sources||Eric and Andro Linklater, 'The Black Watch', 1977
John Telfer Dunbar, 'History of Highland Dress', 1979
Colas, 'Bibliographie generale du costume', 1933, 2543
Lipperheide, 'Kostumbibliothek', 1963, 2262|
|Author||Kohl, Johann Georg.|
|Title||Resor I Skottland.|
|Date of Publication||1846|
|Notes||This is the first edition in Swedish of Kohl's account of his travels in Scotland in the autumn of 1842, part of an eight month trip to England, Scotland and Ireland. It was first published in Dresden in 1844 and an English edition was published in London, by Bruce and Wyld in the same year. This Swedish edition, of which only one other copy has been traced (in the U.S.), has a fine vignette of the port of Leith on the title page.
Although Kohl covers a relatively large area, spending most time in central Scotland - Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, Crieff, Perth and via Abbotsford to Carlisle, he does not venture any further than Loch Tay to the north. The author is on the whole complementary about Scotland asserting that the Union of 1707 had set the country 'on the road to wealth and improvement' and that 'she [Scotland] vies with that rival with whom for centuries she had contended with in sanguinary warfare'.
Kohl (1808-1878) was regarded by his contemporaries as the most outstanding geographer in Europe; no less a figure that Charles Dickens described him as an 'indefatigable scholar'. Bremen-born Kohl gave up the study of law to travel. For most of the 1830's he worked as a teacher in the Baltic Provinces and in Russia and subsequently devoted himself to travelling and writing about his experiences. He wrote 26 separate books and treatises about his journeys through all parts of Europe and North America. He visited the United States in 1854, bringing with him an important collection of 500 facsimile drawings of maps (now at the Library of Congress) relating to the discovery and exploration of the New World. Between 1855 and 1857 he was commissioned by U.S. Coast Survey, to carry out an extensive study of the early history and exploration of the North American coastline. Towards the end of his life, as city librarian in Bremen, he oversaw the modernization of the library.|
|Reference Sources||American cartographer. Vol.3, no. 2, October 1976
Progress of discovery = Auf den Spuren der Entdecker : Johann Georg Kohl (exhibition catalogue) Graz: Akademische Druck-u. Verlaganstalt, 1993.|