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 834 of the most important items we have acquired since 2000. We update it regularly as new material comes in. The description gives information about why it was chosen and what makes it particularly interesting. You can order the list by date of acquisition, author or title.
Please let us know what you think of this resource, if you have information to add about an acquisition, or if you have rare Scottish books that you would like to donate or sell. Email us at email@example.com
Important Acquisitions 571 to 585 of 834:
Ordered by date acquired |
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|Title||Illustrations to the Epitome of the ancient history of Japan, including illustrations to the guide book.|
|Date of Publication||1878|
|Notes||This is, by any standards, a strange book. It was published in 1878 to accompany the author's 'Epitome of the ancient history of Japan', first published in Nagasaki in 1878. Central to the 'Epitome' is McLeod's belief that the Shindai or holy class of Japan are descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel. He also calls attention to the fact that the first known king of Japan was Osee, who came to the throne in 730 B.C. and that the last king of Israel was, the similarly named Hosea who died in 722 B.C.
In the preface McLeod mentions that 'the engravings are the workmanship of the best Japanese artists, but as they have had as yet so little experience of foreign letters, the execution is imperfect'. There are engravings of kings, temples as well as some relating to the author's thesis such as 'supposed order of march of Israelites to Japan'. The work is bound in contemporary, though faded Japanese silk wrappers.
Little is known about the author, whose first name is thought to have been Norman. He has been variously described as a Scots businessman or a Scots missionary wo started his career in the herring industry. His name is not listed in Fasti or any of the biographical dictionaries of other denominations. The second edition of the edition (1878) which is held by the Library (5.1009(27)) is dedicated to Rev. William Mackenzie 'late of Leith Free Church, Scotland', which may give an indication of Mcleod's religious allegiance.
Although this is the second edition, it is not known when the first edition was published. There are six copies of this edition listed on OCLC, all in the United States.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's description|
|Imprint||Hill of Tarvit|
|Date of Publication||1930-1938|
|Notes||This is a rather remarkable donation which brings back to Scotland some printed items with close personal connections to Hugh Sharp and his family. Hugh Sharp (1897-1937) was the Dundee jute manufacturer and bibliophile whose private library was presented to the nation in 1938 by his mother and sister, Elizabeth. The Hugh Sharp collection is now one of our finest special collections, with many first editions of literary classics in fine condition.
One of Hugh Sharp's friends was G. J. Scaramanga of Arundel, Sussex, who kept up the connection with the Sharps after Hugh's untimely death. He kept cards sent from Hugh and the Sharps in a special gilt-tooled folder.
This folder of Christmas cards, which has now been donated to the Library, includes cards from 1930 to 1935, a calendar for 1937 and a later newspaper cutting. Movingly, there is a letter from Elizabeth Sharp dated 27 August 1938, which includes an example of the bookplate specially designed for the Hugh Sharp collection at the National Library after Hugh's death that year.
The Christmas cards include facsimile reproductions from books in Hugh Sharp's collection, and they were finely printed by Pillans and Wilson of Edinburgh in only 50 copies each. Each card is interesting and tasteful, in decorated card covers and with coloured ties.|
|Author||Burnes, Alexander, Sir, 1805-1841|
|Title||Voyages de l' embouchure de l' Indus [etc]|
|Imprint||Paris: Arthus Bertrand|
|Date of Publication||1835|
|Notes||French translation of Alexander 'Bokhara' Burnes's "Travels into Bokhara ..." first published in 1834. Burnes, a native of Montrose and relative of Burns the poet, enjoyed rapid success in his career in the army and civil service of British India. In 1832 he was one of the first Westerners to explore the Punjab, Afghanistan, Bokhara, Turkmenistan, Caspian sea and Persia. His aforementioned account of his travels won him fame and awards and an audience with King William IV, "Travels into Bokhara" was also translated into German and Italian. Burnes returned to India in 1835, was knighted, and eventually ended up in Kabul as deputy to Sir William Macnaghten, Britain's envoy to the court of Shah Shujah. His flamboyant and womanising conduct did little to ease the tensions between the Afghans and the British garrison and in the uprising of 1841 he was dragged from his residence in Kabul and hacked to death by a mob.
This particular edition is entirely separate from a one-volume French translation/digest of Burnes's work "Voyages a Bokhara et sur l' Indus" which was also published in Paris in 1835. It includes in a separate volume 11 illustrated plates, which depict Burnes in native dress and also the giant Buddha statues at Bamiyan in Afghanistan which were blown up by the Taliban in 2001. The plates are based on but are not exact copies of the lithographic prints used in the English 1834 edition; the map does not appear in the English edition. The translator of this edition, Jean-Baptiste-Benoît Eyries (1767-1846), is best known for his edition of German ghost stories, "Fantasmagoriana", which had a great influence on the development of the British Gothic novel.|
|Author||Paton, J. Noel, 1821-1901|
|Title||Members of the Peace Society: City of Edinburgh Branch|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: A Ritchie|
|Date of Publication||1861|
|Notes||Print lithographed in sanguine, depicting a group of the 1st City of Edinburgh Artillery Volunteers on duty at Edinburgh castle. The tone of the print is decidedly humorous; rather than being alert at their posts one volunteer smokes a cigar whilst admiring with two others the view across the city to Calton Hill, another is reading The Times, and a stereotypical Highlander is spinning a yarn to two his companions as a little girl listens with rapt attention. The print reveals that Paton himself had formerly served as a captain in the artillery volunteers at a time when voluntary service in the armed forces was in vogue, hence the patriotic motto on the cannon in the foreground and the caption at the top of the print. Whether the characters in the print are based on former comrades is open to question. Coincidentally the year of this print, 1861, saw the establishment of that famous Edinburgh ritual, the firing of the one o' clock gun.
Paton was born in Dunfermline but trained at the Royal Academy in London and became a popular artist, very much in the accepted Victorian style, for his rendering of scenes from literature and history and also for his fairy paintings.|
|Reference Sources||Scheck "Directory of Lithographic Printers" p. 97|
|Author||Binning, Hugh, 1627-1653|
|Title||Mr. Hugo Binnnings Predikatien, over dese texten; I Johannis 1 en I Johannis 2|
|Imprint||Amsterdam : Joh. Boekholt|
|Date of Publication||1690|
|Notes||Rare first (?) Dutch edition of Scottish Presbyterian author Binning's "Fellowship with God, or 28 Sermons on the 1st epistle of John chapters 1 & 2", first published in Edinburgh in 1671.
Although Binning never visited Holland during his short life, his works clearly had a deep impact on Protestant theologians in the country, judging by the the number of editions of his works that appeared in Dutch during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Not found in HPB or OCLC|
|Author||Wood, Lawson, 1878-1957|
|Title||Wee scrap o' paper is Britain's bond|
|Date of Publication||1914|
|Notes||This striking print by the illustator Lawson Wood portrays a Gordon Highlander standing with a rifle on a street corner in a Flemish town. The purpose of the print is not clear - in this case it has been used to advertise 'ceilidh and dance village hall Saturday'. This is written in ink on a slip of paper attached to the foot of the print. Directly underneath the soldier is the phrase 'A wee "scrap of paper" is Britain's bond', referring to Britain's signature in 1830 to the Treaty of London to guarantee the independence of Belgium. Germany wanted Britain to disregard this agreement, describing it as a mere 'scrap of paper'.
The print is signed and dated 'Lawson Wood '14'. Wood was an artist and illustrator and best known for his caricatures, including those of army officers. But there is no hint of the caricature in this instance. He himself served as an officer in the Kite Balloon Wing of the Royal Flying Corps and was decorated for his action over Vimy Ridge.
The Second Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders were recalled from Egypt when the war broke out and made their way through Holland to Loos and Ypres and eventually took part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The Gordon Highlanders lost a total of 29,000 men during the war.|
|Reference Sources||Dictionary of 19th century British book illustrators / Simon Houfe|
|Author||Quentin Craufurd, 1743-1819|
|Title||Essais sur la Litterature Francaise, ecrits pour l'usage d'une Dame etrangere compatriote de l'auteur|
|Date of Publication||1803|
|Notes||This is an extremely rare edition of only 100 copies to have been distributed among the friends of the author. The first part, taking up the entirety of the first volume and pages 1 to 289 of the second, examines various French literary styles and their most representative authors. Craufurd was particularly critical of Voltaire. The rest of the second volume gathers the essays of such French authors as Montesquieu, Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, Raynal, Mably, Condillac and D'Alembert, etc. This work was republished in 1815 and 1818 with additions.
Quentin Craufurd, the younger brother of Baronet Sir Alexander Craufurd, was born on 22 Sept. 1743 at Kilwinnock, Renfrewshire. He entered the East India Company's service at a young age, and after making a large fortune returned to Europe in 1780. He eventually settled in Paris where his wealth allowed him to become an active collector of books, pictures, prints and manuscripts. He was a loyal friend and supporter of the French royal family after the revolution of 1789, and was received with favour at the court of the Bourbons after the Restoration on account of his behavior between the years 1789 and 1792. He published his first work in 1790 and over eight others followed. He died in Paris on 23 Nov. 1819.|
|Imprint||A Paris: Chez P.F. Didot le jeune|
|Date of Publication||1769|
|Notes||Donald Monro (1727-1802) was the second son of Alexander Monro, the first professor of anatomy and surgery at Edinburgh University. He was educated under the care of his father and graduated M.D. in 1753. In December 1760 during the Seven Year war (1756-1763) he was commissioned as army physician to the British military hospital in Germany. He published "An account of the diseases which were most frequent in the British military hospitals in Germany" together with an essay on the means of preserving the health of soldiers, and conducting military hospitals, in 1764. A classic of preventive and social medicine, this is undoubtely his most important work, providing valuable descriptions of campaign diseases.
This is a copy of the first French edition, revised and expanded by Achille le Beque de Presle.|
|Title||Reise in das Innere von Afrika in den Jahren 1795, 1796 und 1797 auf Veranstaltung der Afrikanischen Gesellschaft unternommen. Nebst einem Woerterbuche|
|Imprint||Hamburg: bei Benjamin Gottlob Hoffmann|
|Date of Publication||1799|
|Notes||This German translation of Mungo Park's "Travels in the interior districts of Africa" was published in the same year as the English original.
The African explorer Mungo Park (1771-1806) hailed from a farm on the estate of the Duke of Buccleuch near Selkirk. He was apprenticed as a surgeon before entering Edinburgh University to study medicine. In 1792 he sailed to the East Indies as assistant medical officer. In 1795 he was sent on behalf of the African Association to discover the true course of the Niger. Barely escaping with his life on more than one occasion, Park did not succeed in his mission and returned at the end of 1797. "Travels in the interior districts of Africa" is an account of this journey. It went through three editions in its year of publication and made Park instantly famous and popular. The book also contains a dictionary of the Mandingo language; Park had learned this in the Gambia before setting off on his journey.
In 1805 he was commissioned to go on another journey of exploration to find the termination of the Niger. He sailed down the Niger in a boat he had constructed from a canoe and got past Timbuktu, but lost his life in a fight with natives. Ultimately, his inference that the Niger "could flow nowhere but into the sea" was proved correct.
This copy of the German edition has steel engraved plates of African settlements as well as a detailed map of the area explored by Park.|
|Title||Des Herrn Fordyce, beruehmten Professors zu Aberdeen in Engelland, Anfangsgruende der moralischen Weltweisheit; mit Herrn de Joncourt Abhandlung von der Oberherrschaft Gottes, und der sittlichen Verbindlichkeit, vermehrt.|
|Imprint||Zuerich: bey Orell und Comp.|
|Date of Publication||1757|
|Notes||David Fordyce (1711-1751) studied philosophy and mathematics at Marischal College ion Aberdeen, graduating with an MA at the age of 17. He then studied divinity, but despite obtaining a licence as a preacher, he never received a call. Instead, he was appointed professor of philosophy at Marischal College in 1742. Fordyce died in a storm off the coast of Holland at the age of 40.
Fordyce wrote an article called 'Moral philosophy' for the magazin "The Modern Preceptor". This was published separately in 1754 as "Elements of Moral Philosophy". This posthumous publication was the most successful work on moral philosophy hitherto written. By 1769 it had gone through four editions.
This is a copy of the German edition published in 1757.|
|Title||Physionomia. Laqual comilo e magistro Michiel Scotto|
|Imprint||Stampata n Venetia, per Bernardin Venetian di Vidali|
|Date of Publication||1507|
|Notes||The birthplace of Michael Scot (1175?-1234?) is not certain. There are some suggestions that he was born in Durham of Borders parentage. Others believe that he was from Balwearie near Kirkcaldy. It is more likely that he was from the Scottish Borders as Scot is a traditionally Borders name, and legends and stories surrounding his magical powers are still common in Southeast Scotland. For example, the division of Eildon Hill into its present three peaks is traditionally credited to his wizardry. Scot studied successively at Oxford and at Paris (where he acquired the title of 'mathematicus'), moved to Bologna, and then to Palermo, where he entered the service of Don Philip, the clerk register of the court of Frederick II, in Sicily.
Though Scot was a serious Aristotelian and one of the great scholars of the 13th century, his varied learning and involvement in alchemy, astrology and astronomy transformed his popular reputation from a man of science to that of a powerful wizard. His name was sufficiently well known to merit a mention in Canto xx of the Dante's Divine Comedy, and Boccaccio uses his name to introduce one of his novels. It is believed that Scot returned to the Scottish Borders for the last few years of his life and was buried in Melrose Abbey, a story that was later embellished by Sir Walter Scott.
Scot's writings on astrology, alchemy and the occult sciences form a trilogy: Liber Introductorius, Liber Particularis and Physionomia (De secretis nature). The Liber Introductorius is a compendium of astrological, scientific and general knowledge and the Liber Particularis is a more advanced treatment of the same topics. The Physionomia is a treatise on human anatomy, physiology and reproduction, along with some zoology followed by an examination of how an individual's nature may be discerned from each part of the body. Much of the text is derived from Arabic and Egyptian authors.
There is no record for this Venice 1507 edition of the Physionomia in COPAC, OCLC, RLIN, CURL or HPB.|
|Author||Duns Scotus, John|
|Title||Quaestiones in Aristotelis Analytica posteria|
|Imprint||Venice : Simon de Luere|
|Date of Publication||1497|
|Notes||Sources variously state that Duns Scotus (ca. 1266-1308) was born in either Duns, Berwickshire, Friar Minor at Dumfries where his uncle Elias Duns was superior, or Maxton (now Littledean). 'Scotus' is, in fact, a nickname simply identifying him as a Scot. We do not know the precise date of his birth, but we do know that he was ordained to the priesthood in the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) at Saint Andrew's Priory in Northampton, England, on 17 March 1291.
He studied at the universities of Oxford and Paris and later lectured at both universities. In 1307 he was sent to Cologne, where he lectured until his death on November 8, 1308. His sarcophagus in Cologne bears the Latin inscription: "Scotia me genuit. Anglia me suscepit. Gallia me docuit. Colonia me tenet." ("Scotland brought me forth. England sustained me. France taught me. Cologne holds me.")
Quaestiones in Aristotelis Analytica Posteria is one of a series of questions and commentaries in which Scotus attempted to show that Christian doctrine was compatible with the philosophical ideas of Aristotle. Some bibliographical sources, including the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, posit this edition as "Pseudo Duns Scotus". There are only two other known copies in Great Britain at the Bodleian and the British Library.|
-Catalogue des livres imprimes au quinzieme sicle des
bibliotheques de Belqique
-Incunabula in Dutch libraries
-Biblioteca Nacional [Madrid] Catalogo general de
incunables en bibliotecas espanolas
-An index to the Early Printed Books in the British Museum
from the Invention of Printing to the Year MD
-Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century now in the
|Title||Hai tou Aischulou Choephoroi. Aeschyli Choephoroe. [Aeschylus: Choephori]|
|Imprint||Glasguae: Excudebat Andreas Foulis, M.DCC.LXXVII.|
|Date of Publication||1777 [?]|
|Language||Greek and Latin|
|Notes||One of three additions to the Library's Foulis Press holdings.
Andrew Foulis published two editions of Aeschylus' Choephorae in 1777, each with parallel texts of a Greek and Latin translation. The LIbrary already has a copy of the quarto setting of one edition (Gaskell 608, shelfmark NE.732.f.3). This is a copy of the far less common edition (Gaskell 608a, 2nd ed.), apparently unrecorded by ESTC and previously known only from a copy in private hands [which may or may not be this one].
There seems to be a bibliographical mystery about the date of this edition, according to a note by Robert Donaldson dated 1982 in the Library's marked-up copy of the 1st edition of Gaskell. He dates the paper of this edition to 1794, and says it has the same setting as the text of Choephori in the editions of Aeschylus: Tragoediae published by Foulis in 1796 and 1802 (Gaskell 702), and is therefore printed from the same standing type or stereo plates. There seems no explanation for why this text might have been issued separately with a false 1777 date, and copies of all the relevant editions would need to be collated before any conclusions could be reached.
This copy is bound with the edition of Longinus: On the Sublime (Greek and Latin text) published by Foulis in 1790, in what looks like the original binding (which might confirm the later date of publication). The stamp of the Royal School Edinburgh is on the back cover. Along with this item, the Library acquired a copy of John Gay: Poems on Several Occasions (Gaskell 506). The Library has a copy of the variant described on p. 438 of Gaskell, 2nd ed (shelfmark Hall.195.b); this new acquisition accords with the description of the edition on p. 295.|
|Reference Sources||Gaskell: Foulis Press bibliography (both editions)|
|Author||Craig, Thomas, Sir, 1538-1608.|
|Title||D. Thomae Cragii de Riccarton, equitis, ... jus feudale, tribus libris comprehensum: ... Editio tertia, prioribus multáo emendatior. ... Accessit rerum & verborum index locupletissimus, ... Opera & studio Jacobi Baillie|
|Imprint||Edinburgi : apud Tho. & Walt. Ruddimannos, 1732.|
|Date of Publication||1732|
|Notes||Contemporary Scottish binding of red goatskin, the covers tooled in gilt with a border composed of dog-tooth roll and a thistle and floral roll and featuring a centre diamond emblem comprised of roundels and semi-circles. The spine has been rebacked thus preserving the original spine and label. The spine is divided into seven panels with gilt scroll corners, the edges of the boards and turn-ins gilt tooled with thistle and bud roll. The endpapers are floral patterned Dutch gilt.
The tooling and patterns on this copy are very similar to that found on two other Scottish bindings in the NLS collections. Bdg.s.877, also published in 1732, and Bdg.l.8, published in 1734, both feature roundels and semi-circles on red leather.
The text was first published in London in 1655 and in Leipzig in 1716. It is the first systematic work on law in Scotland.|
|Reference Sources||ESTC T144476|
|Title||Eleanora, or a Tragical but true case of incest in Great Britain.|
|Imprint||London: M. Cooper, 1751.|
|Date of Publication||1751|
|Notes||A very rare (only 4 known copies of this edition, another being printed in Dublin in the same year) and very bizarre novella reportedly transcribed from a manuscript compiled by the anonymous author/editor's grandfather in 1685. The main action in the book takes place in Scotland, where the main pseudonymous protagonists, the widow Eleanora and her son Orestes, through an extraordinary and unbelievable chain of events 'enjoy' a night of passion - Orestes believing in the darkness that the woman he is bedding to be another, Arene. The Oedipal encounter results in the birth of a daughter, Cornelia, who when she reaches adulthood meets Orestes and marries him, much to the horror of Eleanora. A few years later Orestes encounters Arene, who tells him that she was not the one he slept with all those years ago. The truth is revealed, and Eleanora dies of shock as does Cornelia, a devastated Orestes commits suicide.
The "Monthly Review" for September 1751 notes very sternly that this work is clearly a piece of fiction and that "the publication of cases of this sort ought never to be encouraged, even if proved to be fact; as the knowledge of such unnatural, and (happily) uncommon crimes, cannot possibly be attended with any good consequences: as examples, they will probably never deter others, but may inspire people with thoughts of such practices as otherwise might never have entered their imaginations."!
There is little attempt to disguise the fictive nature of the torrid prose of "Eleanora", only a few specific events are mentioned: Orestes' father Eugenio dies at the siege of "Fort St. Martins in the Isle of Ree" (Lough Ree in Ireland?); Orestes, after studying at Glasgow University, serves on the Parliamentarian side at the battle of Naseby in 1645; he goes on to enjoy a career in the army which is ended by the Restoration of Charles II; about 7 years after the Restoration he helps a friend to get elected as MP for Pontefract [elections in Pontefract were held in 1661 then 1679).
On the front pastedown of this copy is (a) an old bookseller's slip which notes that this story was used by Horace Walpole for his play "The Mysterious Mother" (1768) (this is unconfirmed) (b) a book label of Diana Maria Dowdeswell (possibly a daughter of the politician William Dowdeswell, a friend of Horace Walpole).|
|Reference Sources||J. Raven "British Fiction 1750-1770" 69|