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 526 to 540 of 753:

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AuthorKnox, Robert
TitleT'Eyland Ceylon in sijn binnenste, of 't koningrijck Candy
ImprintUtrecht: Wilhelm Broedelet
Date of Publication1692
LanguageDutch
NotesRobert Knox (1641-1720) was an English merchant, who made two journeys with his father, a ship's captain, to India. During the second journey, their ship put in at the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for repairs in 1659. The Knoxes offended the ruler of the island, the king of Kandy, as they failed to follow royal protocol by not announcing their arrival or sending suitable gifts. Relations at this time between the native inhabitants of Ceylon and European visitors were very strained, and consequently both men were both detained on the island, forbidden to leave without the king's approval. Knox's father died shortly afterwards and Knox himself spent the best part of twenty years living on Ceylon before finally managing to escape. On his return journey to England he wrote the first detailed account of Ceylon, "An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, in the East Indies", which was illustrated with sixteen plates. The book was published in 1681 and was a big success, being translated into German, Dutch and French in his lifetime. It was also a source of inspiration to Daniel Defoe when writing "Robinson Crusoe". Knox resumed his career as a merchant, visiting the East again a further five times. The acquisition of this Dutch edition complements the Library's extensive holdings of works relating to the Indian sub continent and to Sri Lanka (see the Alexander Mackie Collection). The six plates in the book are particularly interesting as they are substantially different to the plates that appeared in the English 1681 edition, although clearly inspired by them.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2683
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on12/10/07
AuthorKohl, Johann Georg.
TitleResor I Skottland.
ImprintNorrköping
Date of Publication1846
LanguageSwedish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkABS.2.202.005
Reference SourcesAmerican 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.
Acquired on26/10/01
AuthorKorb, Johann Georg.
TitleDiarium itineris in Moscoviam.
ImprintVienna: Leopold Voigt
Date of Publication[1700]
LanguageLatin
NotesAn account of the Austrian diplomatic mission to Russia in 1698 to discuss an alliance against the Turkish Empire does not sound particularly thrilling, but this unexpectedly shocking book seems to have caused something of a diplomatic incident. While describing the progress of the embassy, Korb, the secretary to the embassy, described at length the turmoil of Russian internal politics. In the summer of 1698, the Tsar, Peter the Great, was on his famous incognito tour of western Europe, when the streltsy, the musketeer troops based in Moscow, rose up in rebellion. Curiously, the rebels were defeated by a Scottish general, Patrick Gordon. Gordon, born in 1635 at Auchleuchries in Aberdeenshire, had served in Russia since the 1660s, and rose to great eminence under Peter. As a Catholic, he was greatly distrusted by some in the Russian establishment (just as he would have been in Britain), but the Tsar's liking for Gordon extended so far that he was actually permitted to erect a stone-built Roman Catholic church in Moscow, in which Gordon was eventually buried. Gordon is mentioned repeatedly in this text, and some of the plates depict Gordon's fortifications at the town of Azov. Peter hastily returned to Russia at the news of the rebellion, and proceeded to carry out a ferocious retaliatory campaign involving torture, mass executions and the punishment of the rebels' wives and children. Korb records all this in gruesome detail, and the large plates with which this volume is illustrated depict Moscow festooned with gallows, people being burned and buried alive, and rows of prisoners waiting to be beheaded. All in all, this was not a book conducive to better Austro-Russian relations, and it seems that the Austrian government had it suppressed. This is consequently a scarce book, and this is an excellent copy, from the library and bearing the bookplate of Archibald, 5th earl of Rosebery, one of the greatest early benefactors of the National Library of Scotland.
ShelfmarkRB.m.468
Reference SourcesGordon, Patrick. Passages from the Diary. Aberdeen, 1859. MacDonnell transl.. Diary of an Austrian secretary of legation at the court of Czar Peter the Great. London, 1863.
Acquired on13/05/02
AuthorLa Baume le Blanc, Louise Francoise de, Duchesse de la Valliere.
TitleThe penitent lady, or reflections on the mercy of God. The third edition, corrected.
ImprintLondon: printed for H. N. and sold by W. Davis,
Date of Publication1703
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe author of this work, Louise Francoise de la Baume le Blanc, Duchesse de la Valliere (1644-1710), was a French noblewoman who made her debut at court in 1661. A woman of considerable charm and learning, Madame de la Valliere was soon the object of King Louis XIV's affection. She became his mistress, bearing him four children. However, by 1670 she had lost her places as Louis' principal mistress, and, after recovering from a serious illness and suffering a crisis of conscience, she decided to turn to God and renounce her former sinful existence. In 1671 she wrote a theological work "Reflexions sur la misericorde de Dieu [Reflections on the mercy of God]" from the perspective of a repentant sinner who had experienced the pleasures and hypocrisies of court life and found them to be unsatisfactory. In 1674 she entered a Carmelite convent in Paris and became a nun, remaining there for the rest of her life. "The penitent lady" an English version of "Reflexions sur la misericorde de Dieu", translated by a Church of England clergyman Lewis Atterbury, was first published in 1684. This third edition from 1703 is rare; only two other copies are recorded in ESTC. Moreover, this particular copy also has an interesting provenance. On the front free endpaper there is an inscription by a former owner, Maurice Paterson (1836-1917), the rector of Moray House (then a Free Church of Scotland teacher training college). Paterson notes that the book had once belonged to Mrs Scott, the mother of Sir Walter Scott, and had passed into his hands via a step-cousin who had formerly lived with his aunt Esther, the latter having been a companion of Mrs Scott. The role Esther Paterson played in the Scott family is revealed in Sir Herbert Grierson's edition of Sir Walter Scott's letters. 'Miss Paterson' nursed Scott's older brother John through his final illness and then became his mother's companion for the final years of her life. During, or shortly after, her time spent looking after Anne Scott (d. 1819), Esther Paterson presumably received this book as a token of gratitude for her work; it is tempting to think that she may have read aloud from it to the dying old lady who was preparing to meet her maker. Walter Scott was certainly grateful to Esther Paterson, describing her a person of 'uncommon good sense and civility', who was of 'inestimable comfort' to his dear mother. In 1826 he considered employing her to look after his wife, who was by then seriously ill, writing that, 'she is familarly know[n] to all of us and that sort of person who can take charge of keys or read aloud or make herself an assistant in many ways[,] uncommonly well bred besides[,] in short a useful and agreeable inmate".
ShelfmarkAB.1.211.014
Reference SourcesThe letters of Sir Walter Scott edited by H.J.C. Grierson, London, 1932-37. vols 6,7 and 9.
Acquired on15/01/11
AuthorLamb, Alexander
TitleRoyal Diorama of Scotland
Imprint[Scotland?]
Date of Publication[1885-1890?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis publication seems to be a tourist guide for late nineteenth-century visitors to Scotland. It consists of short articles about the main attractions in Scotland and eight pasted-in tinted lithographic plates of Scottish scenes, as well as smaller illustrations incorporated into the text. The coloured plates, which depict subjects ranging from the Glasgow Trongate to Loch Lomond, are quite striking. The work concludes with a section of 'Select Songs of Scotland'. All in the original green wrappers, with the arms of Scotland on the front cover: perfect for the tourist to leave on the coffee-table.
ShelfmarkAPS.4.203.05
Acquired on09/12/02
AuthorLamont, Sir James of Knockdow
TitleLecture on the Civil War in America, delivered at the Rothesay Mechanics' Institute
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication1864
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn unrecorded (?) lecture stating the case for the Northern Government against the Southern States. The content is interesting for a number of reasons. The lecture begins "Ladies and Gentlemen, when I was crusing last winter in my yacht in the Mediterranean, I had the pleasure of passing an afternoon with the illustrious General Garibaldi." The venue and presumably the audience are interesting. No copy in GUL online cat.
ShelfmarkAPS.1.200.019
Acquired on20/03/00
AuthorLaonice, Stefano.
TitleRiflessioni economiche politiche e morali sopra il lusso l'agricoltura la popolazione le manifatture e il commercio dello Stato Pontificio in suo vantaggio e beneficio.
ImprintRome: Tipografio di Gioacchino Puccinelli
Date of Publication1795.
LanguageItalian.
NotesStefano Laonice, probably a pseudonym for Nicola Corona, uses copious quotations from Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations' and the works of David Hume in this study of the most advanced contemporary economic and philosophical theories. He examines the relationship between land ownership, manufacture and the wealth of the state of Rome. He points out the dangers of applying Smith's theory in Central Italy - an area where agriculture, not manufacture, was the still the main method of creating wealth. This is the first and only edition of this work. Only two other copies have been recorded, neither of which is in the UK.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2713
Acquired on30/06/08
AuthorLaw, John
TitleGedancken vom Waaren und Geld-Handel [translation of Money and Trade]
ImprintLeipzig: Jacob Schustern
Date of Publication1720
LanguageGerman
NotesThe Library has a strong collection relating to John Law (1671-1729), particularly in the Lauriston Castle collection, and has purchased actively Law-related materials in recent years. As a Scottish-born financier (his family lived at Lauriston Castle) who had a huge impact on the French economy in the short-term, and on the development of the paper-money system in the longer term, Law is a key figure to collect. We have several copies of the 1705 English edition of Money and Trade, a copy of the second English edition of 1720 (L.C.2539), and two copies of the 1720 French edition. There are no copies in Scotland of the first German edition which we have now acquired. As well as two copies in North America, there is a copy in the University of London Library, which matches the description here. Our new copy is very good and in contemporary boards. Antoin Murphy, John Law: Economic Theorist and Policy-Maker (1997) discusses the French translation as being a work of some importance, but does not mention a German edition. It is quite possible that this translation may shed new light on how Law was seen in 1720, the year that the Mississippi Bubble burst and his schemes collapsed. As Law's main written work, it is important for the Library to have comprehensive holdings in this area, and thus this is a most desirable acquisition.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2312
Reference SourcesAntoin Murphy, John Law, 1997
Acquired on21/10/03
AuthorLeighton, John M.
TitleSelect views of the lakes of Scotland : from original paintings by John Fleming / engraved by Joseph Swan ; with historical and descriptive illustrations by John M. Leighton.
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication1830-1833
NotesThis is the full set of the 16 part issues of the book published in 1834 (A.116.a.12-13) as 'The lakes of Scotland'. That it was a work of some popularity is evidenced by the lengthy subscription list in part 16, the enthusiastic reviews reprinted inside the lower cover of each part and the publication of further editions in 1836 and 1839. The 48 engraved plates contained in this set were printed on what the publisher and engraver, Joseph Swan described as 'very superior India paper, which for purity, clearness and colour, will be found equal to any which has yet met the public eye' The India proofs cost 7s. 6d. per part with Royal folio copies at 12 shillings per part and the cheapest fine impressions at 5s. 6d. The work was aimed at 'all lovers of the fine arts' as well as 'admirers of Scotland's picturesque and romantic scenery'. According to the preface, which was written for and included in the final part in 1833, this was the first work 'entirely devoted to this branch of Scottish scenery'. Not only the well-known lakes were described but also but also those 'seldom visited and little heard of, and others which were quite terra incognita to tourists'. Joseph Swan had previously published 'Select views of Glasgow and its environs' (1828) and 'Select views on the Clyde' (1830), both of which were collaborations with the author of this work, John M. Leighton and the artist, John Fleming. Greenock-born Fleming (1792-1845) specialized in painting mountain scenery in oils and watercolours, was a member of the West of Scotland Academy and exhibited in Glasgow.
ShelfmarkABS.8.202.03
Acquired on04/05/01
AuthorLenoir, Alphonse
TitleFaits divers, pensées diverses, et quelques réponses de sourds-muets précédés d'une gravure représentant leur alphabet manuel et de notions sur la dactylologie ou le langage des doigts, avec des détails intéresssants sur une sourde-muette-aveugle Francaise, et sur un Sourd-Muet-Aveugle Écossais.
ImprintParis: Rue Racine, 15
Date of Publication1850
LanguageFrench
NotesThis book is the rare second edition of a selection of writings on deaf-mutes by one of the leading French educators in the field, Alphonse Lenoir. Revised and expanded here, it was first published as Dactylologie, ou Langage des Doigts (1848). Lenoir, himself hearing-impaired, was a teacher at the Institution Nationale de Paris who did much to pioneer and advocate the education of the deaf, and was involved in the founding of the first official deaf organisation - the Societe Centrale (1838) which later became known as the Societe Universelle des Sourds-Muets in 1867. The book includes a description of sign language, with a frontispiece illustrating the signed alphabet, and descriptions of the lives and achievements of deaf-mutes. There are accounts of heroic behaviour during the events of 1848 in Paris and famous deaf mutes in the fields of literature, art, and other walks of life. Among these is an account of the Scot James Mitchell, who was brought to public attention by the Enlightenment philosopher Dugald Stewart in a paper entitled 'Some Account of a Boy born Deaf and Blind' published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1812. Stewart had been interested in Mitchell and his family, but his paper concentrated on what Mitchell's case could teach about the development of ocular sense-perceptions: Lenoir's account emphasises how in spite of his sensory isolation, he had a fully developed moral, intellectual and emotional sensibility.
ShelfmarkAB.1.210.060
Reference SourcesBookseller's Catalogue; Collected Works of Dugald Stewart, vol. 4 (Edinburgh: 1854), pp.300-370.
Acquired on23/08/10
AuthorLeonard, Tom
TitleSix Glasgow Poems
Imprint[Glasgow]
Date of Publication[1968]
LanguageScots
NotesThis is the rare first edition of Tom Leonard's best known work. Written in Scots, these abrasively witty poems attempt to recreate the language of ordinary people in Glasgow. Leonard completed the work by January 1968, but had difficulty finding a printer willing to do the job. Instead, he typed the sheets himself and had them reproduced in the Glasgow University student magazine office. This counts as the first edition. The poems were subsequently published by Midnight Publications in 1969, and the Library has a copy of this second edition at shelfmark 5.4593. This edition contains at least one typographical deviation from the first edition.
ShelfmarkRB.m.628
Acquired on17/12/04
AuthorL'Heritier de Villandon, Marie-Jeanne
TitleThe discreet princess; or, the adventures of Finetta. A Novel.
ImprintEdinburgh: G. & J. Ross
Date of Publication1806
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis volume of eight chapbooks, six of which are of Scottish origin, has the bookplate of Crewe Hall Library. Of the chapbooks, the following were previously unrepresented in NLS collections in these editions: The Discreet Princess; The Valentine's Gift (Edinburgh: G. & J. Ross, 1806); The Way to be Happy: or, the History of the Family at Smiledale. To which is added, The Story of Little George (Edinburgh: G. & J. Ross, 1807); The Life and Perambulation of a Mouse. In Two Volumes (London: John Marshall, c.1805); Garden Amusements for Improving the Minds of Little Children (London, Darton and Harvey, 1806); Worlds Displayed, for the Benefit of Young People (6th edition, Edinburgh: J. Ritchie, 1804). Most of these chapbooks are illustrated with woodcuts, some with crude hand-colouring. The signature of Barbara Peddie appears on the recto of the frontispieces to The Life and Perambulation of a Mouse, vol. ii, dated January 1806, and The History of the Holy Bible Abridged, dated 1805. This may be the Barbara Peddie 'daughter of Dr. James Peddie, a family long associated with many religious movements in Edinburgh.' She married Dr. James Harper, minister of the United Presbyterian Church at North Leith and Principle of the UPC Theological College, now New College (University of Edinburgh), with whom she had fifteen children. Given the similar publication dates of most of these chapbooks, it may be that they were collected originally by Barbara Peddie.
ShelfmarkAB.1.209.057(1)
Reference SourcesThe Sunday At Home (1882) p.212.
Acquired on14/08/09
AuthorList, Friedrich
TitleNational system of poltical economy
ImprintPhiladelphia: J. B. Lippincott
Date of Publication1856
LanguageEnglish
NotesFriedrich List (1789-1846) is recognized today as one of the most influential trade theorists. He is also one of the most severe critics of the classical school of economics. He denounced Adam Smith and his disciples and held that free trade was an ideal that could only be achieved in the distant future. Unlike Smith, who argued that a nation's wealth lay in its capacity for commercial interchange, List held that a nation's wealth lay in the development of its own economic and productive resources. This is a copy of the very scarce first edition in English, and the first English translation of List's magnum opus, originally published in German in 1841.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2668
Acquired on02/07/07
AuthorLithgow, William
TitleA most delectable and true discourse of an admired and painefnll [sic] peregrination from Scotland, to the most famous kingdomes in Europe, Asia and Affrica.
Imprint London. Printed by Nicholas Okes, dwelling in Foster-Lane.
Date of Publication1623
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the second edition of William Lithgow's account of his travels, covering much of the known world of his time. Lithgow (c.1582-1645) was born at Lanark, and had an unusual motivation for undertaking his travels: the brothers of a woman with whom he was involved attacked him and mutilated him. Legend has it that they cut off his ears, leading to the nickname 'Lugless Will', and he chose 'rather to seclude my selfe from my soyle ... then to have a quotidian occular inspection'. Lithgow's narratives are action-packed, including accounts of narrow escapes from torture and death. In spite of his wide travels, he retained a dislike of the Catholic and Muslim religions practiced in countries where he travelled, although he relished sights such as the Sphinx in Egypt and the architectural splendours of North Africa. Lithgow's first journey ended in 1612, and his first book was published two years later (with a reprint in 1616). This second edition adds the accounts of the two journeys he undertook afterwards. According to ESTC, this copy is the only one in Scotland. Like its author, this book has travelled. It contains the bookplate of Howard Pease of Otterburn Tower, Northumberland, with an auction catalogue record and note to say that it was bought from the library of the collector S.R. Christie Miller at Britwell Court, sold in 1925. As acquired by the National Library, it came in a slipcase with the binder's stamp of W. Desmont & J. Macdonald Co. Norwalk, Connecticut, U.S.A. - indicating a transatlantic voyage Lithgow himself never made.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2609
Reference SourcesBookseller's Catalogue, ESTC, New DNB
Acquired on14/06/05
AuthorLizars, W[illiam]. H[ome].
Title[Specimen book of lithographs, engravings, copper plate and letterpress]
Date of Publication[1851?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a sample book of engravings produced in Edinburgh ca. 1851 by William Home Lizars (1788-1859). W. H. Lizars was first apprenticed to his father, the publisher and engraver Daniel Lizars, from whom he first learned engraving. He then entered as a student under John Graham (1754-1817) in the Trustees' Academy at Edinburgh, where he was a fellow-student with Sir David Wilkie. From 1808 to 1815 he was a frequent exhibitor of portraits, or of sacred and domestic subjects, at exhibitions in Edinburgh. In 1812, on the death of his father, Lizars was compelled to carry on the business of engraving and copperplate printing in order to support his mother and family. Lizars perfected a method of etching which performed all the functions of wood-engraving in connection with the illustration of books. He died in Edinburgh on 30 March 1859, leaving a widow and family. Lizars took an active part in the foundation of the Royal Scottish Academy. This sample specimen book gives an excellent idea of the wide range of products produced by W. H. Lizars in his Edinburgh studio: business receipts, company letterheads, picturesque scenes of Scotland, bankers' notes, cheques, maps, portraits, reproductions of charters and seals, book illustrations and examples of typefaces and fonts.
ShelfmarkABS.8.202.36
Acquired on23/09/02
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