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 763 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 763:

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AuthorKeill, John
TitleAn examination of Dr Burnet's Theory of Earth. 2nd edition.
ImprintOxford: H. Clements and London: S. Harding
Date of Publication1734
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn Keill (1671-1721), mathematician and natural philosopher, was born in Edinburgh and was educated at Edinburgh University. He won a scholarship to study at Oxford and while studying there became a devoted follower of Isaac Newton. He was the first to teach Newtonian natural philosophy, developing an innovative course for students which involved 'experimental demonstrations' for the first time in the teaching of science. This is the second edition of Keill's first book, originally published in 1698, in which he criticises Thomas Burnet's book "Telluris Theoria Sacra, or The Sacred Theory of the Earth" and also the work of fellow Newtonian, William Whiston, whose "A New Theory of the Earth" had been published in 1696. Burnet's book on the creation and formation of the earth had appeared in the 1680s and provoked much debate in academic circles. Keill, the scientist, aimed to disprove the views of Burnet, the natural philosopher and schoolmaster, by the application of Newtonian scientific principles. Keill also disagreed with Whiston on how to interpret the Bible. Whereas Whiston accepted revealed scripture, properly interpreted by a Newtonian, as being compatible with Newtonian science, Keill was convinced that there were some aspects of the Bible which no amount of 'scientific' interpreting could square with science. In such cases, for Keill, the Biblical view was always correct. The work contains several plates of scientific diagrams relating to the structure of the earth and movement of celestial bodies.
ShelfmarkAB.3.207.43
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on12/10/07
AuthorKelly, Isabella.
TitleRuthinglenne; or the critical moment. A novel.
ImprintDublin: G. Burnet [et al],
Date of Publication1802
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the very rare Dublin edition of a gothic novel by the Scottish poet and novelist Isabella Kelly (1759-1857). First published at the Minerva Press in London in 1801, the book is a horrifying saga of the House of Ruthinglenne set in the north of England. Isabella Kelly (née Fordyce) was born at Cairnburgh Castle, Aberdeenshire in 1759. She was married twice - firstly to Robert Hawke Kelly in 1789, who died in Madras in 1807. Her second husband was Joseph Hedgeland, whom she married in 1816. However he had died by 1820, possibly having lost money in speculation. Kelly wrote 10 gothic novels, primarily to support her children, between 1794 and 1811. They were moderately successful, receiving cautiously approving reviews in 'The Critical Review'. She also compiled a French grammar and a collection of miscellaneous information, 'Instructive Anecdotes for Youth'.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2671
Reference SourcesOxford DNB
Acquired on02/07/07
AuthorKelly, Isabella.
TitleThe secret: a novel.
ImprintBrentford: printed by and for P. Norbury
Date of Publication1805
LanguageEnglish
NotesIsabella Kelly, née Fordyce (1759-1857), poet and novelist, was born at Cairnburgh Castle, Aberdeen. In 1794 she published her first book, a "Collection of poems and fables". Having suffered, in her own words, 'a variety of domestic calamities', which may have included possible desertion by her husband, Kelly began writing Gothic fiction in order to support her two surviving children. She published her first novel, "Madeline", also in 1794, and wrote nine more between 1795 and 1811. "The secret" is a Gothic romance, set in an ancient abbey in the imaginary village of Llanleeven in North Wales. The opening lines vividly set the scene: "The stormy blasts of December were blowing loud and fearful through the wild cloisters of a very ancient abbey... The melancholy mistress of this nearly desolated mansion, had withdrawn herself to a suite of chambers the most remote and cheerless in the whole edifice". This four-volume-set contains the ownership inscriptions and bookplates of Sir John Thorold of Syston Park, Lincolnshire.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2807-2810
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary National Biography
Acquired on19/11/10
AuthorKemp, Edward
TitleReport and plan for laying-out and planning the Meadows
Imprint[Edinburgh? s.n.]
Date of Publication1873
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkAP.2.213.22
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary National Biography
Acquired on07/06/13
AuthorKer, Patrick, fl. 1691
TitleFlosculum Poeticum. Poems divine and humane. Panegyrical, satyrical, ironical.
ImprintLondon, Printed for Benjamin Billingsley at the printing press, near the Royal Exchange,
Date of Publication1684
LanguageEnglish
NotesKer, Patrick was a Scottish Episcopalian poet who migrated to London during the reign of Charles II. 'Flosculum Poeticum. Poems divine and humane. Panegyrical, satyrical, ironical' is a volume of ultra-loyalist verse. Although the work is only signed with only the initials 'P.K.', it can safely be attributed to Ker due to the fact that the verso of the leaf A4 features a complex triangular depiction of the Trinity which also appears in another work, 'The Map of Mans Misery' (1690), with the author's name, P. Ker, in full. The 'Flosculum' features a grotesque woodcut of Charles II in the oak on leaf D2, accompanied by verses equally grotesque, and a number of scurrilous rhymes and anagrams on Oliver Cromwell. The inkstamp of Alexander Gardyne (1801-1885) is on the verso of the title page.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2325
Reference SourcesDNB ESTC R17623
Acquired on16/06/04
AuthorKing, Kennedy [i.e. George Douglas Brown]
TitleLove and a sword: a tale of the Afridi War.
ImprintLondon: John Macqueen
Date of Publication1899
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Scottish author George Douglas Brown (1869-1902) is best known for his work "The House with the Green Shutters", which was published in autumn 1901 in both Britain and the United States under the pseudonym 'George Douglas'. That work has long been regarded as a milestone in Scottish literature; a decisive move away from the sentimental, 'kailyard', Scottish novels of the 19th century. Before his ground-breaking novel appeared, Brown had moved, after leaving Oxford University in 1895, to London, with the intention of forging a literary career. However, in order to make ends meet he had to work as a hack author, writing poetry, reviews, and short stories for a number of periodicals, as well adventure books for boys. "Love and a sword" published under the pseudonym 'Kennedy King', was his first published book, an adventure story set in India and the North-West Frontier, with a Scottish hero, Roderick Gordon, as the protagonist.
ShelfmarkAB.2.211.006
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on20/05/11
AuthorKinniburgh, Robert
TitlePlates for the deaf and dumb
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed by J. Ritchie, published by William Oliphant
Date of Publication1820
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Institution for the Education of Deaf and Dumb Children in Edinburgh was established in June 1810. One of the teachers, Robert Kinniburgh, designed illustrated educational materials for the school. We already have a copy of his book 'The manual alphabet', which has a title-page with illustrations showing a kind of sign language, followed by 55 numbered plates with woodcuts of important objects, animals and scenes of work. The book we have just purchased appears to be an earlier edition, with the illustrations ordered differently. There are some changes in the states of the woodcuts; for example, on p. 9 in 'Plates for the deaf and dumb', the top woodcut is of an agricultural scene with a gardener surrounded by tools and a cold-frame; the same woodcut appears on p. 30 of 'The manual alphabet', but without the cold-frame. Perhaps the woodcut had become damaged. It is interesting to speculate about the use of these books. Perhaps the illustrations were shown first and the students were expected to then learn the relevant word. In the new copy of 'Plates for the deaf and dumb', someone has added captions in pencil to several illustrations. The order of the plates in the two editions may be significant; in 'Plates for the deaf and dumb', the book starts with people in different clothing engaged in different tasks, and moves on to animals and then household objects. In 'The manual alphabet', however, the animals come first, followed by the household objects, and the people last. Only one other copy of 'Plates for the deaf and dumb' has been traced, at the John Rylands library in Manchester. This acquisition complements some of our special collections such as the Royal Blind School Collection.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2637
Acquired on27/11/06
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
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