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 735 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 rarebooks@nls.uk

      

Important Acquisitions 556 to 570 of 735:

Ordered by title
Order by author | Order by date acquired
Author[Anon.]
TitleScotch gallantry display'd: or the life and adventures of the unparralel'd [sic] Col. Fr-nc-s Ch-rt-s, impartially related. With some remarks on other writers on this subject.
Imprint London: printed for, and sold by the booksellers in town and country,
Date of Publication1730
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the rare first edition of a pamphlet which gives an account of the life of the infamous Francis Charteris (c.1665­-1732), gambler and rake, who was born in Edinburgh, and whose family were major landowners in Scotland. The work was published at the height of his notoriety; in December 1729 Charteris was charged with the attempted rape of Ann Bond, one of his maidservants, who had been in his employment for only a few days. After hearing testimony from the girl herself, as well as from fellow servants, Charteris was found guilty and in February 1730 was sentenced to death by hanging. It was unusual at the time for a gentleman to be punished for what many contemporaries considered an act of gallantry, and his conviction may have been secured by influential parties hostile to Charteris. The rape, however, was just one such in a long career of gambling, extortion, and serial seduction, usually of tall young lower class girls (Charteris was 6 feet tall), recently arrived in London, ensnared by one of his employees and brought to his houses in the West End. If unable to secure their favours by fair means, he would resort to force. Charteris, however, escaped the gallows. On the advice of judges, privy council, and his advocate, Duncan Forbes (another legatee of Charteris's will), George II granted him a full pardon on 10 April. The trial and its aftermath had incurred expenses amounting to £15,000, but Charteris's personal fortune was estimated at £200,000 so this was a sum he could well afford. He may have bought his freedom, but for the rest of his life Charteris was vilified, and was once physically attacked in his coach. He left London for good in 1730, retiring to his property in Lancashire before returning to Scotland in February 1732. He died the following month at his Stony Hill estate near Musselburgh, after using "Opiates in great Quantities" (The Country Journal, 4 March 1732. At his burial in the family vault at the Greyfriars churchyard, Edinburgh, the populace gave a "loud Huzza" (Fog's Weekly Journal, 11 March 1732). Only one copy (in the British Library) is recorded in ESTC.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2755
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on07/05/09
AuthorBentham, Jeremy
TitleScotch Reform
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1807
LanguageEnglish
NotesA presentation copy, with the note in the author's hand, of the 1807 printing of this important work. This copy is in good condition and complete with both large folding tables. The Library currently holds only an imperfect copy (wanting tables) of the 1808 printing, the first which was actually published. Bentham, the political philosopher who has come to be known as one of the founders of utilitarianism, wrote this work in favour of reforming the Scottish legal system as a series of letters. Clearly written and full of detail and practical examples, his proposals relate in particular to the workings of juries and appeal courts.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2096
Reference SourcesChuo University Library, Bibliographical Catalogue of the Works of Jeremy Bentham, Tokyo: 1989, S1-1 The Bentham Project http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Bentham-Project/index.htm
Acquired on12/03/02
AuthorFordun, John of
TitleScotichronicon
ImprintOxford
Date of Publication1722
LanguageLatin
NotesScotichronicon, the key text of early Scottish history, was written in the later 14th century, but was late in appearing in print: this appears to be the first printing of all five books with this title. Thomas Hearne worked from the manuscript sources to produce this impressive edition, which has in addition to the Latin text an extensive editorial preface, a list of subscribers, appendices, four engraved plates (one folding), and detailed indexes. This is a large-paper copy on thick, good quality paper in good condition: the advertisement of 25 April 1722 before the start of the main text in the first volume states that the subscribers were expected to make an initial payment of a guinea and a half for a large paper copy, as opposed to a guinea for the 'regular' version. It is also in an attractive calf binding by Thomas Elliott of London, who was one of the main binders of the Harleian Library. The covers have a gilt border with a double fillet, a floral roll and an ornamental roll, both recorded in Nixon, Five Centuries of English Bookbinding, no. 60. The spines are divided into seven panels separated by raised bands: the second and third panels have red goatskin labels with respectively the title and the volume number in gilt letters, the other panels and the raised bands are also gold-tooled. There is a gilt floral roll on the board edges and a blind-tooled roll on the turn-ins. It has marbled endleaves and the edges of the leaves are red sprinkled. From the library at Fort Augustus. This is an appropriate addition to the collections, particularly as our existing two small paper sets of this edition are both imperfect.
ShelfmarkBdg.m.155
Reference SourcesHoward Nixon & Mirjam Foot, History of Decorated Bookbinding in England, Oxford, 1992, p. 82-3 Howard Nixon, Five Centuries of English Bookbinding, London, 1978, p. 136 (no. 60) Maggs Bros., catalogue 1075, no. 135; catalogue 1212 (no. 87)
Acquired on19/06/02
AuthorRamsay, James.
TitleSea sermons: or, a series of discourses for the use of the Royal Navy.
ImprintLondon: J. Rivington
Date of Publication1781
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is collection of fourteen sermons by the Scottish surgeon and abolitionist James Ramsay (1733-1789), "which reveal a genuine affection for the sailor, an understanding of his character, and an appreciation of his contribution to the nation"(ODNB). Ramsay was born in Fraserburgh and educated at Aberdeen University. He joined the Navy in 1757, serving as ship's doctor on board "The Arundel". When his ship intercepted the British slave ship "Swift" in 1759, Ramsay found over 100 slaves suffering from dysentery, lying in their own blood and excreta, a scene which affected him so profoundly that, on returning to his ship, he fell and fractured his thigh bone. Made permanently lame by the fall, and facing the end of his naval career, Ramsay sought ordination in the Anglican church to enable him to work among slaves. He served as both clerk and surgeon in St. Kitts from 1761 to 1777, then rejoined the navy in 1778 as a chaplain in the West Indies station. "Sea sermons" address the perils and temptations of a life at sea, such as mutiny, desertion, drunkenness, and swearing. His phrase used in the book, "You and your fellow combattants[sic] were a band of brothers engaged in one cause", was a phrase later adopted by Nelson when seeking to inspire his crew. The same year as this book was published, Ramsay returned from the West Indies to live in London, where he was occupied with reform of the Navy Board, the recruitment of surgeons for the first colonising expedition to Australia in 1787 and promoting the abolitionist cause. Only 4 other copies of this book are recorded in ESTC.
ShelfmarkAB.2.213.17
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on30/11/12
AuthorAbernethy, John
TitleSeelen Artzney. Das ist: Ein schoener und nuetzlicher Tractat, in welchem die Kranckheiten der Seele, ihre Ursachen, Zeichen, Zufaelle und Prognostica ordentlich beschrieben und zugleich angezeigt wird …
ImprintHanau: David Aubry; Frankfurt: Clemens Schleichen und Peter de Zetter
Date of Publication1634
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the second German edition of Abernethy's seminal "Christian and heavenly treatise containing Physick for the soule" of 1615; the first German translation was published in 1625. This edition is bound in contemporary vellum with blind tooling and gauffered edges. John Abernethy became Bishop of Caithness in 1616, but was deprived of the See in 1638; he died in 1639. His "Physick" deals with original sin as the source of spiritual illness, and with the cure or "Artzney" for different sins such as jealousy, impatience, fear, intemperance or hatred. The treatise is modelled on medical books detailing cures for certain diseases, and indeed draws on diseases of the body as parallels, such as the "cancer of heresy". The translator of the German edition is unknown, but he has added comments and enlarged the original English version.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2304
Reference SourcesScott, H. Fasti ecclesiae Scoticanae, 1928: |b vol. 2, p. 125
Acquired on23/07/03
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
TitleSelection of blocks from the collection of John A. Birkbeck
ImprintAlan Anderson and Alex M. Frizzell
Date of Publication1971
NotesThis is a most attractive selection of examples of printing from the ornamental blocks in the collection of the Scottish printer John A. Birkbeck. Many of Birkbeck's manuscripts and books are now held by the Library, including those in the Birkbeck special collection. This acquisition complements these existing holdings. It is also notable that this is printed by the Edinburgh-based Tragara Press, whose publications we have been collecting over the years. This work was printed by Alan Anderson and Alex M. Frizzell on 15 June 1971, in a run of 25 copies only. It is in fine condition, loose in blue wrappers as issued.
ShelfmarkAPS.3.203.12
Reference SourcesAnderson, Alan. The Tragara Press 1954-1979. Edinburgh, 1979.
Acquired on31/05/02
AuthorGreenshields, John
TitleSelim and Zaida. With other poems.
ImprintEdinburgh: Arch. Constable and Longman & Rees, London
Date of Publication1800
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the very rare first edition of poems by John Boyd Greenshields (or Greenshiells) published in Edinburgh in 1800. Only two other copies are known - at the Taylorian in Oxford and the University of Kansas. A second edition was published in London in 1802 ([Ai].6.61). It is illustrated with two fine engravings by Isaac Taylor as well as some wood-engraved tailpieces. The half-title has a presentation inscription from the author to Alexander Fraser Tytler, (1747-1813), Lord Woodhouselee, Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh, who like Greenshields was an advocate. Also bound with this item are William Gifford's 'The Baviad and Maeviad' (1797) and Alexander Thomson's 'Sonnets, odes and elegies' (1801). The volume was part of the library at Aldourie, the home of the Tytler family on the shores of Loch Ness. Little is known of Greenshields himself. He was born in Drum, Aberdeenshire and became an advocate in 1793. Another of his works 'Home: a poem' was published in Edinburgh and Boston in 1806. He died in 1845.
ShelfmarkABS.1.204.010(2)
Acquired on06/12/02
AuthorClarke, John
TitleSentences in the Fernandian tongue.
ImprintBimbia, Western Africa: Dunfermline Press
Date of Publication1846
LanguageEnglish, Bube
NotesThis is a very rare vocabulary/phrasebook of the Bube language, compiled by a Scottish Baptist missionary, the Rev. John Clarke (1802-1879); only one other copy has been located (School of African Studies in London). Bube is a language spoken by the Bubi, a Bantu people native to the island of Bioko, known by Europeans as Fernando Po. In the early 1840s both Britain and Spain had a presence on the island, just off the coast of Cameroon, the British leasing naval bases on the island as part of their efforts to stop the slave trade in West Africa. Clarke's interest in African languages had developed in the 1830s, after he had been sent out to Jamaica by the Baptist Missionary Society of London and had encountered slaves of West African descent speaking a variety of languages and dialects. For his own personal recreation, Clarke had compiled vocabularies of these languages and passed on his interest to a young Jamaican protégé, Joseph Merrick, who became a pastor in the Baptist church. Following the emancipation of slaves in 1838, Jamaican Baptists, with support from London, decided to send a mission to West Africa to spread the Gospel to their relatives there. Clarke set off for Africa in 1840, with Dr G.K. Prince, as an advance party for the mission. In 1841 he arrived at Fernando Po, where he was able to continue his studies of the local Bube language for a few months. Suitably encouraged by the friendly reception he received on the island, he and Prince sailed to England, where they were to report on the prospects of founding a West African mission. They were, however, blown off course, ending up back in the Caribbean; this detour had the advantage of giving them the opportunity to recruit volunteers for their mission. In 1843 Clarke sailed to Fernando Po from London, via Jamaica in order to pick up his recruits. He arrived there in 1844, where Prince and Merrick and other missionaries were already established on the island. Clarke and Joseph Merrick subsequently went to mainland Africa, which remained the main goal of the Baptist mission, to continue their linguistic work. Merrick visited Bimbia on the coast of Cameroon and persuaded the king of the local Isubu people to allow the Baptists to found the Jubilee mission there. The Baptist missionaries appear to have brought a printing press along with them, or acquired one after they arrived, leading to the establishment of the Dunfermline Press in Bimbia. The press seems to have operated in Bimbia from 1846 to 1848, printing four Scripture translations by Merrick into the Isubu language and also Clarke's 16-page vocabulary, which contains a list of useful sentences and phrases in Bube with accompanying English translations. Despite Merrick's individual success, the overall Baptist mission in Cameroon was a failure. The local people were unreceptive, there were quarrels regarding inequalities between the European and Jamaican missionaries, and many of the missionaries were suffering from ill health, including Clarke. In 1847 Clarke left Africa, taking the majority of the Jamaicans home. He intended to return, but never did, travelling back to Britain in 1848 to recuperate from his illness. While he was back in England he published two works on African languages: "Specimens of dialects ... in Africa" and an "Introduction to the Fernandian Tongue". The latter is described as a second edition presumably referring to the 1846 vocabulary as the first edition. Both these works were printed in Berwick-upon-Tweed, a place where Clarke had close personal ties. He had been born near Kelso in the Scottish Borders, the son of a farm labourer, before moving to Berwick, where he joined the Baptist Church in 1823, later marrying the daughter of the local pastor, the Rev. Alexander Kirkwood. Clarke's works on the Bube language are some of the earliest works on the North West Bantu language. Although his publications were soon surpassed by those of more accomplished linguists, his pioneering efforts showed the link between the languages of the Cameroon coast and the Bantu languages of the Congo and South Africa. Clarke returned to Jamaica in 1852 where he spent the rest of his life. Before he left Britain he also published a memoir on his fellow missionary and linguist, Joseph Merrick, in 1850, the latter having died in 1849 during a voyage to England.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2831
Reference SourcesD.M. Lewis ed., The Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical biography, Oxford, 1995 v. 1; S. Arderner [biographical note in], John Clarke Specimens of dialects, Farnborough, 1972 (facsimile of 1848 publication); Mundus Jamaica and Cameroons Missionary Papers, http://www.mundus.ac.uk/cats/10/1096.htm
Acquired on09/12/11
AuthorAdamson, Patrick
TitleSerenissimi ac nobilissimi Scotiae, Angliae, Hyberniae principis
ImprintParis
Date of Publication1566
LanguageLatin
NotesIn 1566 Patrick Adamson (1537-1592), a Scottish minister who was later to become Bishop of St. Andrews, was working in France as a tutor to the son of a Scottish nobleman. Although Adamson was away from the tumult of Scotland - where a power struggle between Mary Queen of Scots and the Scottish nobles, including James Hamilton, second Earl of Arran, was being played out under the watchful eye of the English government - as a client of Lord Hamilton he still found himself caught up in the events. The birth of Mary's son James in June of that year was a key event, as Mary still pursued a claim to succession of the English throne, occupied by the unmarried and childless Elizabeth. Adamson published this Latin poem in Paris to celebrate the birth of James, describing him as prince of Scotland, England, France, and Ireland. The title would turn out to be an accurate one but the timing was very inopportune as relations between the Scottish and English courts were far from cordial due to the succession issue and Mary's Catholic faith. The poem enraged the English Government, who demanded that Adamson be punished. He was subsequently imprisoned in Paris for six months. After his release Adamson toured the continent before returning to Scotland to re-enter the ministry. He would be at the heart of the religious controversies that raged in Scotland in the latter half of the 16th-century. After his death Adamson's contemporaries regarded him as gifted man of letters who was probably happier and more suited to the world of scholarship than church politics. This poem marked Adamson's entry into the world of political controversy, and in view of the storm it caused it is very rare. there are only four recorded copies, none of them in Scotland.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2600
Reference SourcesShaaber, DNB
Acquired on27/04/05
AuthorNotman, William (1826-1891)
TitleSerjeants of the 78th Highlanders
Date of Publication186?
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn outstanding composite albumin photograph entitled 'Serjeants of the 78th Highlanders' by the photographer William Notman (1826-1891). The photograph measures 23 cm. tall by 18 cm. wide and is mounted on a large backing card. It incorporates 51 small oval images of soldiers, all numbered neatly beneath in ink. These numbers refer to the key below the photograph which lists, in very neat small writing, the ranks and names of the 51 soldiers depicted in the image. Notman was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada in 1856 where he established himself as a photographer in Montréal. He eventually became one of the most important photographers in Canada. His fame as a portrait photographer drew the Montréal elite, prominent visitors to the city, and ordinary citizens to his studio. Although the major portion of his work was devoted to portraits, he also did landscapes, street scenes, and city views across Canada. Over the years the business expanded to include studios in Montréal, Toronto and Boston.
ShelfmarkIN PROCESS
Acquired on11/06/09
TitleSett of the City of Edinburgh
ImprintEdinburgh: b. Heir of Andrew Anderson
Date of Publication1683
LanguageEngllish
NotesAlthough the library has a copy of this edition at shelfmark H.Br.6, this copy is an interesting addition to the collections for several reasons. Firstly, the gold-tooled binding seems likely to be contemporary and is quite possibly Scottish. Secondly, the physical composition of the book is unusual. The marbled pastedowns have been left with their coloured stubs protruding, so one stub is found after the first two blank leaves, the second between pages 10 and 11. The stitching can be clearly seen, revealing the curious arrangement of the last six leaves (leaves are signed D, D2, [unsigned], E, E2, [unsigned] - conjugate leaves are D1 & [E3], D2 & [D3], E1 & E2). Most importantly, a comparison between this copy and our existing holding shows that our copy at shelfmark H.Br.6 has an additional title-page which has been removed from the newly acquired copy. This title-page, which was placed before sig.A2, was clearly an error as it speaks of 'the two acts of town council', when the text actually contains four acts. None of the other copies recorded by ESTC seem to have this title-page, but in the new copy, the stub where it was cut out can just be seen - presumably it was removed from the other copies too (so ESTC needs to be updated). The work is interesting in its own right, as a centenary printing of the 1583 agreement regarding the running of the burgh, and the place of the craftsmen, merchants, bailies and provost, with the addition of acts from the later seventeenth century. However, it is particularly useful to have these two copies, as they show how two copies of the 'same edition' can have important differences. Collation: 6 unsigned leaves, A8 (A1 cut out), B-C8, D3, E3. Octavo. Contents: 2 blank leaves, half-title, title-page, 'index', stub of cancelled title-page, 'Copy of the Decreet Arbitral' (pp. 1-34), 'Acts of the Town Council of Edinburgh' (title-page, pp. 1-16), 'Act anent the Town Clerks' (pp.[1]-4).
ShelfmarkABS.1.202.035
Reference SourcesWing S2647, Aldis 2426, ESTC R217074
Acquired on09/08/01
Author[Anon.]
TitleShipped by the grace of God in good o[r]der ... by Ro[bert] Stuart for Henry Leivie ...
Imprint[Edinburgh?: s.n.],
Date of Publication[1671?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare piece of 17th-century printed ephemera, presumably printed in Scotland, namely a bill of lading (a document issued by a carrier to a shipper, acknowledging that specified goods have been received on board as cargo for transport to a named place for delivery to the consignee, who is usually identified on the bill). Manuscript inscriptions in blank spaces on the bill give details of the persons involved. It records the shipment of six tons of wines "fully well conditioned" from Bordeaux to Leith on 30 October 1671 on the "David" of Bruntiland (Burntisland) captained by Patrick Angus. The wine was destined for the merchant William Inglish (Inglis?) of Leith. The bill is signed by Patrick Stuart and has a MS note on the back by him. Scotland had been importing wine from France since the Middle Ages; thanks to the Auld Alliance Scottish merchants had the privilege of having the first choice of Bordeaux's finest wines. Leith was the centre for importing French wine, which was prized by the upper classes. This printed document shows that despite the political and religious upheavals which made trade with France more difficult (the Reformation, Union of the Crowns) the Scots were still using their privilege of selecting Bordeaux wines in the 1670s.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2770
Acquired on24/11/09
TitleShort address to the weavers of Paisley and the neighbourhood : (suggesting a plan for their relief.) by an Inhabitant. An answer to the address (lately sold at three-pence) "by a Burgess," (on the road to preferment) to the feuars and burgesses of Paisley by "Shifty". Paisley, 1817. And 3 others
ImprintAir
Date of Publication1819
LanguageEnglish
NotesA collection of five rare tracts published variously in Ayr, Paisley and Glasgow between 1817 and 1819 and bound in one volume. The tone is radical and reforming reflecting the appetite for electoral and civic reform in the industrial west in the years after Waterloo.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2029(1-5)
Acquired on03/02/00
AuthorMitchell, Hugh
TitleShort Apology for Apostacy
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication1797
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis provocative title introduces a scathing and witty attack on established religion in Scotland by a former minister. Mitchell describes how he had come to detest the task of using the pulpit to uphold the policies of the political establishment. He goes further, however, arguing that heresy should be considered as a positive term as it simply means individuals are free to follow their own religious opinions. Clearly a humanist free-thinker, Mitchell denounces the practice of churches praying for the success of their country's armies in war. Towards the end of the work, he gives a long list of the various Christian doctrines which he finds incomprehensible. This first edition is a rare work, and only two other copies have been located. One can imagine that the reaction of many readers would have been unfavourable: indeed, this copy has a contemporary manuscript note on the title-page which includes the irritated remark that this work is 'nothing to do with religion'. (ESTC T117542)
ShelfmarkAPS.1.202.076
Reference Sources ESTC T117542
Acquired on02/11/01
Important Acquisitions - page no. 1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12     13     14     15     16     17     18     19     20     21     22     23     24     25     26     27     28     29     30     31     32     33     34     35     36     37     38     39     40     41     42     43     44     45     46     47     48     49