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 541 to 555 of 753:
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|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.|
|Title||Resurection [sic] men disturbed, or a guilty conscience needs no accuser.|
|Date of Publication||1794|
|Notes||This is a hand-coloured satirical etching by Scottish artist Isaac Cruikshank (1764-1811) depicting a gruesome scene of six men, one with wig and tricorn hat which may indicate that he is a doctor, caught in the act of removing corpses from graves they have just opened up. Before the Anatomy Act of 1832 body snatching, or grave robbing, was often the only means of obtaining human bodies for use in anatomical lessons in the growing number of medical schools. The practice led to relatives of a deceased person mounting a vigil beside the grave to deter the ironically-named "resurrection men". |
|Imprint||Belgrade: Narodno delo, n.d.|
|Date of Publication||-|
|Notes||This is a translation into Serbian of Thomas Carlyle's The French Revolution. Carlyle (1795-1881) was born in Dumfriesshire; The French Revolution: a history was first published in London in 1837. It is one of his most famous works - partly because of the story that the original manuscript was accidentally thrown by a servant into the fire.
The translation is by Mihailo Dobric. This appears to be the first edition of this translation; it is not dated, but was probably produced some time between 1930 and 1950. It has a particularly striking cover design by the Croatian artist Mirko Racki (1879-1982), of black cloth stamped with figures engaging in revolutionary activities, appropriately blocked in red, white and blue. The spines are also decorated with gilt lettering and a design of green leaves, white ribbons and red axes.
|Title||Ricerche sopra la natura e le cause della ricchezza delle nazioni [Wealth of nations].
|Imprint||Torino [Turin]: Pomba, |
|Date of Publication||1851.|
|Notes||This is the second Italian edition, and a new translation, of Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations', published as part of the economic journal 'Biblioteca dell' Economista'. The first Italian translation, published under the title 'Ricerche sulla Natura, e le cagione della ricchezza delle nazioni', appeared in Naples in 1790-91. This anonymous 1851 translation is taken from the 1828 edition edited by John Ramsay McCulloch. The edition is particularly interesting as it contains a translation of an essay by the French philosopher Victor Cousin (1792-1867) on the life and works of Adam Smith, the 'Discorso di Vittorio Cousin'. It also contains Italian translations of the introductions by Adolphe-Jérôme Blanqui and Germain Garnier for their French-language editions of the 'Wealth of Nations'. The 'Biblioteca dell' Economista', printed in Turin, ran from 1850 to 1923. The present work, whilst published as volume II of this series, is complete in itself and was also intended to be sold separately.
|Title||Ricerche storiche e critiche su le cause dei progressi e del decadimento della repubblica Romana. [History of the progress and termination of the Roman Republic]|
|Imprint||Venice: presso Antonio Zatta e figli|
|Date of Publication||1793-94|
|Notes||This is the first Italian translation of Adam Ferguson's 'History of the progress and termination of the Roman Republic', first published as a 3-volume work in English in 1783. No copies of this 8-volume translation are recorded in major UK libraries. Ferguson's history of the Roman republic proved to be one of his most popular works, receiving critical acclaim in his native Scotland and from the historian Edward Gibbon, who had written the definitive work on Roman history 'The history of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire'. A French translation of Ferguson's work had already appeared in Paris, in 1784-91, and a German translation in Leipzig in 1784-86, by the time this Italian translation (by an unknown translator) appeared. Unlike the French and German editions, the Italian edition does not include the maps which appeared in the first English edition. This particular copy is still in the original publisher's paper wrappers with an attractive floral design.
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Title||Rider's British Merlin for the year of Our Lord God 1804. |
|Imprint||London: Printed for the Company of Stationers|
|Date of Publication||1804|
|Notes||This almanac, in a splendid decorative binding, is perhaps most interesting for its annotations: there is no ownership inscription, but it would be possible to reconstruct much about the owner from the copious notes on blank pages throughout the text. There are accounts (five shillings for a yard of lace, nineteen for 'stuff for petticoats', sixpence for a 'poor woman', for instance), recipes, notes on sermons and devotional topics, and poetry - most clearly attributed to authors such as Cowper, but some perhaps original. From the accounts and recipes, it seems likely that this almanac had a female owner; from the other content, one with a particularly spiritual and poetical turn of mind.|
|Title||Riflessioni economiche politiche e morali sopra il lusso l'agricoltura la popolazione le manifatture e il commercio dello Stato Pontificio in suo vantaggio e beneficio.|
|Imprint||Rome: Tipografio di Gioacchino Puccinelli|
|Date of Publication||1795.|
|Notes||Stefano 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.
|Title||Ristretto dei viaggi fatti in Africa dal capitano Smith.|
|Date of Publication||[1836?]|
|Notes||This is a hitherto unrecorded pamphlet in Italian based on a report written by Scottish army medical officer and naturalist, Andrew Smith. Born in Roxburghshire, Smith (1797-1872) entered the Army Medical Service in 1815 and was sent to the Cape Colony (South Africa) in 1820. While remaining in the Army, Smith became renowned for his research into the region's zoology, ethnography, and geography. In 1834 to 1836 he superintended a fact-finding expedition into the territory north of Cape Colony, which was financed by Cape merchants and other interested parties. His 'Report of the expedition for exploring Central Africa from the Cape of Good Hope' was first published for subscribers only in Cape Town in 1836. Extracts from the report were also published in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society in 1836. The report, with its details of the various African peoples, including a tribe of albinos, evidently attracted interest in continental Europe as well, hence this Italian translation. Smith returned to Britain in 1836, and became a personal friend of Charles Darwin, the latter consulting him on African zoology. He was eventually promoted to become director-general of the army and ordnance medical departments, which brought him into conflict with Florence Nightingale and the British press during the Crimean War.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Author||Byron, George Gordon, Baron.|
|Title||Ritter Harold's Pilgerfahrt.|
|Date of Publication||1836|
|Notes||This is the first edition of what is probably the first German translation of Childe Harold, the work which made Byron famous. He composed this work between 1812 and 1818, though nearly two decades were to elapse before it was fully translated. The translator, Joseph Christian, Freiherr von Zedlitz, (1790-1862) was one of the leading poets in Austria. The work contains a preface and copious scholarly notes by the translator and retains its original wrappers. Zedlitz composed patriotic and romantic verse and his Totenkränze (1828), a cycle of 134 poems, was in imitation of Byron's style. Another translation of Childe Harolde was apparently made by Karl Baldamus (1784-1852) in 1835, but no copy is extant. Though controversial in his own country, Byron was revered on the continent and particularly in Germany, where Heine, Goethe and their contemporaries fell under his spell.|
|Title||Royal Diorama of Scotland|
|Date of Publication||[1885-1890?]|
|Notes||This 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.|