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 697 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Acquisitions 616 to 630 of 697:
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|Title||[Mountain photographs : 23 gelatin-silver prints]|
|Date of Publication||[ca. 1880-1905]|
|Notes||Photographic views of the Alps and the Himalaya, taken by Vittorio Sella during the last decades of the 19th and the first decade of the 20th centuries. Sella (1859-1943) was regarded by contemporaries as the finest mountain photographer of his day and his reputation has scarcely diminished since. As well as being a photographer he was an accomplished climber - he made the first winter traverses of both Mt. Blanc and the Matterhorn and he accompanied the Duke of the Abruzzi on several of the latter's pioneering climbing expeditions. He climbed in Africa, Alaska and the Caucasus as well as in the Alps and the Himalaya.|
|Title||Complete works of Shakespeare in 20 miniature volumes.|
|Imprint||Glasgow : David Bryce and Son|
|Date of Publication||1904|
|Notes||This is a miniature set of Shakespeare's complete works in 20 volumes published by David Bryce of Glasgow. Bryce was Scotland's most prolific and successful producer of miniature books. The individual volumes measure only 50 mm. in height and they are bound in brown suede featuring gilt spine lettering and gilt textblock edges. The set is housed in a tiny wooden replica of Shakespeare's desk apparently modelled upon the original in a Stratford museum. A publisher's sticker on the back states that it is made of oak (presumably from an artefact or pew) taken out of Holy Trinity Church, Stratford, where Shakespeare was baptised and buried. The standard reference sources on miniature books make no mention of this set and no record for another set can be found. |
|Title||The tragedy of Macbeth. By William Shakespear [sic]. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, by His Majesty's servants. To which are added all the original songs. |
|Imprint||Glasgow: William Duncan, Junior|
|Date of Publication||1755|
|Notes||18th-century London editions of individual Shakespeare plays are relatively common, but Scottish editions are rare, usually surviving in one or two known copies. Of the eight editions of Shakespeare's Scottish play printed in Scotland in the 18th century, this Glasgow edition is the third, the previous two having been printed in Edinburgh in 1731 and 1753. It was listed in William Jaggard's Shakespeare bibliography of 1911 as the first edition printed in Glasgow, but without pagination or location. Jaggard may have copied a reference from a bibliography or auction catalogue without seeing a copy. It is not recorded in recent Shakespeare bibliographies or ESTC. The printer, William Duncan junior, was active between 1750 and 1768, but printed very little for most of that time. In 1755-1756 however, he appears to have decided to issue an assortment of plays including two by Shakespeare: King Lear and Macbeth. This particular copy is bound with a [1770?] London edition of "Timon of Athens" and leaves from volume 8 of a 1757 London edition of Shakespeare's works.|
|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||Sinclair, Sir John|
|Title||Sketch of the improvements now carrying on in the county of Caithness, north Britain.|
|Date of Publication||1803|
|Notes||A brief description, beautifully illustrated with four fine engraved plans, of proposed improvements to 'a remote and neglected district of a country', most of which was the property of the author, Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster. The work was later included as an appendix to Captain John Henderson's 'General view of the agriculture of the county of Caithness', published in 1812. On the title page is a presentation inscription from the author to a 'General Melville', dated 30 May, 1803.
Described by a contemporary as 'the most indefatigable man in Britain', Sinclair was a man of many parts. He served as M.P. for Caithness in the early 1780s, inaugurated the British Wool Society in 1791, founded the Board of Agriculture in 1793 and was almost single-handedly responsible for the preparation of the mammoth 'Statistical account of Scotland', which was published in 1799.
This book is a microcosm of Sinclair's interests as an economic improver. The promotion of sheep farming, the cultivation of 'fenland', the establishment of new villages both inland and on the coast, the promotion of fisheries and the construction of a new town in Thurso are all described. Ultimately, Sinclair's 'improvements' changed the face of the county. Sinclair also had great hopes for Thurso and envisaged that it would trade with the West Indies. At the time of writing, work had already begun and Sinclair described his involvement in financing the enterprise, advancing a sum for every house built and promoting the work of the Building Society. His geometric town plan is similar to that for Edinburgh's New Town and apart from some public buildings - the academy, infirmary and public wash house - most of the plan was realised.|
|Author||Sir David Young Cameron (1865-1945)|
|Title||Etchings in North Italy|
|Imprint||Glasgow : William B. Paterson|
|Date of Publication||1895-96|
|Notes||The National Library of Scotland has acquired a complete set of David Young Cameron's 'Etchings in North Italy'. Published in Glasgow by William B. Paterson between 1895 and 1896, it consists of a signed engraved title page and 26 signed etchings. Originally issued in a portfolio, this set has been presented in modern mounts and placed within a specially made solander case backed in green morocco. The North Italian etchings are a highlight of Cameron's early career and include some of his greatest prints. Only about 25 sets were published and complete sets are now extremely rare.
Sir D Y Cameron (1865-1945) was born in Glasgow and studied at the Glasgow School of Art between 1881 and 1884, and later at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh where he remained until 1887. In 1886 he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Scottish Academy and the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts.
Cameron began etching at 18 and became known for etched views of architecture and drypoints of mountain and moorland scenery. He would eventually produce around 520 etchings and drypoints of which at least 300 were done before 1900. In a career that spanned forty-five years, he would become with fellow Scots Muirhead Bone and James McBey one of the foremost British etchers of the etching revival of 1880-1930. On the strength of his print 'A Perthshire Village' (1888) he was elected an associate of the Society of Painter-Etchers in 1889 at the age of twenty-three, becoming a fellow six years later.
Cameron's great skill was in the depiction of architectural subjects, conveying not only the beauty of a building but also something of its history and 'soul'. Blessed with superb draughtsmanship and technique, he was a master of detail, mood, shadows and light. Although he was a fine oil and watercolour painter, it is felt that his artistic gifts and abilities are best presented in his etchings.
Following are the contents of the set, together with the corresponding reference numbers from Frank Rinder's 'Illustrated catalogue of Cameron's etchings and dry-points, 1887-1932': (202) North Italian Set, portfolio label; (203) North Italian Set; title page;
(204) St. Mark's, Venice, no. 1; (205) Veronica; (206) The Monastery; (207) A Venetian Convent; (208) Paolo Salviati; (209) Tintoret's House; (210) A Venetian Fountain; (211) Via ai Prati Genoa; (212) The Confessional; (213) San Giorgio Maggiore; (214) Two Bridges; (215) The Butterfly; (216) A Soldier of Italy; (217) A Lady of Genoa; (218) Two Monks;
(219) Church Interior, Venice; (220) Venice from the Lido; (221) Sketch of Venice; (222) Farm Gateway, Campagnetta; (223) The Bridge of Sighs, Venice; (224) The Ponte Vecchio, Florence; (225) The Palace Doorway (Palazzo Dario, Venice); (226) Porta del Molo, Genoa; (227) The Wine Farm; (228) Pastoral; (229) Landscape with Trees
|Reference Sources||The etchings of DY Cameron by Arthur M Hind (London, 1924);
D.Y. Cameron: an illustrated catalogue of his etchings and dry-points, 1887-1932 by Frank Rinder (Glasgow: 1932)|
|Author||Sir Robert Lambert Playfair (1828-1899)|
|Title||A history of Arabia Felix or Yemen, from the commencement of the Christian era to the present time including an account of the British settlement of Aden|
|Imprint||Bombay: Printed for the Government at the Education Society's Press, Byculla|
|Date of Publication||1859|
|Notes||Sir Robert Lambert Playfair (1828-1899), colonial administrator and author, was born at St Andrews, Fife. He was the grandson of James Playfair, principal of the University of St Andrews, and the third son of George Playfair (1782-1846), chief inspector-general of hospitals in Bengal. After studying at St Andrews University and at Addiscombe College, he entered the Royal (Madras) Artillery in 1846.
Between 1848 and May 1862, Playfair was involved in a various official duties in the Middle East: from November 1848 to May 1850 he was in a quasi-political mission to Syria; from March 1852 until September 1853 he served as assistant executive engineer at Aden; and from 1854 to 1862 he served as the assistant to the first political resident in Aden.
Playfair was a qualified interpreter of Arabic, and used his time at Aden to research the history of that part of the Arabian Peninsula. In his 'History of Arabia Felix, or, Yemen ...' (1859), Playfair concentrates on an historical overview of Yemen from the Christian era onwards as he felt that the history of Arabia anterior to Christianity had already been extensively covered. In his preface, Playfair stresses that his goal was to produce a generalist history which could function as both a ready reference, and also as a starting point for more detailed work by future historians.
|Author||Small, James, 1740-1793|
|Title||A treatise on ploughs and wheel-carriages.|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Printed for the author and sold by W. Creech and C. Elliot…,|
|Date of Publication||1784|
|Notes||This book, according to the inscription on the front pastedown, was presented by the Duke of Buccleuch – Henry Scott (1746-1812) to ‘Mr. Ducket at Petersham, April 1786, with a plow made by James Small in Scotland 1786’. The 3rd Duke of Buccleuch was one of number of Small’s patrons. Others were Henry Home (Lord Kames), Sir John Sinclair, the man behind the first Statistical Accounts in the 1790s and the Berwickshire landowner, James Renton. It is not known who Mr. Ducket was – possibly a landowner in Petersham, Surrey. The book is also inscribed on the title page ‘Dalkeith House 1784’ - one of the homes of the Duke of Buccleuch. The duke, as well as being one of the greatest landowners in Scotland, was also an army officer and acted as advisor to the politicians Henry Dundas and William Pitt the Younger.This work was the first to set out the scientific principles of plough design in print and was the standard text on the subject until the 1830s. The author, James Small, born in Ladykirk in Berwickshire, learned about ploughs and wagons both in Berwickshire and in Yorkshire. When he returned to Scotland, he settled on a farm at Blackadder Mount, Berwickshire where he began to experiment with ploughs. In the early 1780s Small moved to Rosebank, Ford, in Midlothian just a few miles from Dalkeith House. As well as designing ploughs he also had his own workshop and smithy, making ploughs, wagons and carts. Small’s main innovation was in his use of cast iron and generally speaking his plough was much lighter that the ‘old Scotch’ ploughs.|
|Reference Sources||B, ESTC T150379|
|Author||Smith & Wellstood (Limited) Columbian Stove Works|
|Title||Bonnybridge price list and illustrated and descriptive catalogue of Smith & c's patent and registered American cooking stoves, portable kitchen ranves, warming stoves, for church, hall, parlour, office, shop and ware-room use, &c. Catalogue 2A|
|Imprint||Bonnybridge : [s.n.]|
|Date of Publication||[1888?]|
|Notes||This trade catalogue of Bonnybridge iron foundries dates from the 1880s, the heyday of heavy industry in central Scotland. The firm of Smith & Wellstood was established in Glasgow in 1858 to sell American-style free-standing stoves in Britain. Outlets were subsequently opened in Liverpool, Dublin and London. The firm was the driving force in persuading the British public to invest in efficient, slow-burning stoves in place of open fires. These stoves used less fuel and produced more heat than the type being used in Britain in the 1850s. The founders were James Smith and Stephen Wellstood, both Edinburgh-born entrepreneurs who had begun their business careers in the United States.
Smith decided it would be more economic to produce the stoves in Scotland than to import them from the United States. In 1855 James Smith had contracted the services of George Ure, an ironfounder of some repute and a partner of Crosthwaite, Ure & Co. of Camelon. Ure opened his own foundry - the Columbian Stove Works - in Bonnybridge in 1860 to make the castings for the stoves. The finished products were transported down the Forth-Clyde canal to Smith's warehouses in Glasgow. Smith & Wellstood opened their foundry in 1873 and in 1890 amalgamated with George Ure & Co. In addition to stoves, baths, ranges, gates, railings, pots, pans, piano frames and umbrella stands were manufactured. At the turn of the century Smith & Wellstood introduced the first closed anthracite-burning stoves onto the UK market. These were modelled on a French design and became known as the Esse range of stoves.|
|Reference Sources||Borthwick, Alastair. The history of Smith & Wellstood Ltd. ironfounders. (Bonnybridge, 1954) H4.80.755
McIntosh, Fiona. Bonnybridge in bygone days. (Falkirk, 1989) HP3.90.453
Smith & Wellstood Ltd., Ironfounders, Bonnybridge. (Survey / National Register of Archives (Scotland) no.2198) (Edinburgh, 1989) GRH.9|
|Title||Theory of moral sentiments.|
|Date of Publication||1777|
|Notes||This is a surprisingly rare edition of Adam Smith's main philosophical work, which was first published in London in 1759. It was the first edition to be published in Ireland and the first to be be published outside of London. Only eight copies have been traced - none in the United Kingdom. (ESTC N45628). Although on the title page the publisher claims it to be the sixth edition, it is in fact the fifth edition published in English. A fourth edition was published in London in 1774 and a fifth (also in London) in 1781.
The theory of moral sentiments was Smith's first major work and after The wealth of nations, his most important. It was immediately popular when first published and the number of subsequent editions - six in English, two in French and one in German - indicates its popularity during the author's lifetime. It was warmly praised by Hume and Burke and established Smith's reputation as one of the foremost authors and thinkers of the day. It contains the sum of the philosophy Smith had learned under Francis Hutcheson at Glasgow University, emphasizing the part played by feelings in determining man's moral behaviour.|
|Reference Sources||Ross, Ian Simpson, The life of Adam Smith. (Oxford, 1995) (H3.96.845)|
|Title||RECHERCHES SUR LA NATURE ET LES CAUSES DE LA RICHESSE DES NATIONS|
|Imprint||A Avignon, Chez J.J. Niel, Imprimeur-Libraire, rue de la Balance|
|Date of Publication||1791|
|Notes||This French edition of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations was printed in Avignon in southern France. The bookseller describes this as 'perhaps the rarest of all Adam Smith's works in any language', and indeed only one library copy has been located, at Northwestern University. It seems that many copies were destroyed during the Revolution; indeed, the printer-bookseller Jean-Joseph Niel also perished in a massacre on 16-17 October 1791.
'This edition, an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the Wealth of Nations, added to Roucher's translation some preliminary material, notes, and the promise of a translation from Xenophon, all to make it marketable and to defend it against charges of piracy... The editor of this edition was Agricole Joseph Francois Xavier Pierre Esprit Simon Paul Antoine, marquis de Fortia d'Urban (1756-1843).' (Carpenter, p. 117).
'Niel had additional reasons to try to emphasize that his was a new edition. The work advertised along with Recherches was a collection of decrees of the National Assembly: 'Il importe a tous les Francais de connoitre & d'avoir sous les yeux les Decrets de l'auguste Assemblee Nationale. Ces loix, dictees par la sagesse, doivent etre gravees dans la memoire & dans le coeur de tous les individus'. Thus, he was issuing Recherches, a work that he termed the 'second torch of liberty', as part of what might be called a publishing program in support of the Revolution. And, indeed, Recherches was regarded as such by the government. In May 1793 the Committee of Public Safety agreed that a copy should be given to each of the 'Commissaires observateurs' who were being sent to various regions to report on economic matters and the state of public opinion' (Carpenter, p. lii). However, there were probably too few copies left by then to make this scheme practical.
This set is in good condition, uncut and largely unopened in contemporary mottled boards.
|Reference Sources||Vanderblue Catalogue p. 24; See Carpenter The Dissemination of the Wealth of Nations in French and in France, 1776-1843, New York, 2002, pp. 117-127.|
|Title||Investigacion de la Naturaleza y Causas de la Riqueza de las Naciones|
|Imprint||Valladolid, ‘En la Oficina de la Vuida é Hijos de Santander'|
|Date of Publication||1794|
|Notes||Adam Smith is one of those Scottish authors who we aim to collect comprehensively, and we acquire works by or relating to Smith whenever possible.
This four volume set is the first substantially complete Spanish translation of 'The wealth of nations, printed in 1794'. It is a good set, all but the first volume bound in contemporary tree sheep. The text was translated by Josef Alfonso Ortiz from the fifth edition of 1789. Ortiz deserves credit for getting the book approved by the Spanish Inquisition, who had already banned the French translation: he only had to make a few textual changes to comply with the censors.
NLS already has a copy of the ‘much corrected and improved’ second edition, printed in 1805-6, in the Astorga Collection (G.25.h.26). According to Tribe’s bibliography, some material printed in 1794 was omitted in 1805 (the appendix in vol. II). In 1999 we acquired 'Compendio de la obra Inglesa intitulada Riqueza de las naciones'(1792), which is a partial translation of a French summary of the work (RB.s.2050). However, it is most desirable that we should add to these works the true first Spanish edition, as a landmark in Scottish economic influence in European history.
Over the last few years, Rare Books have purchased extensively in the field of the Scottish Enlightenment in translation, acquiring early editions of David Hume, William Robertson, Lord Monboddo and Hugh Blair, in a variety of languages (Italian, Dutch, German, French). We have acquired little material in Spanish or printed in Spain, which is regrettable, as we have an outstanding collection of early Spanish books in the Astorga Collection, and the purchase of modern materials in Spanish has again become a key area in our collection development. This translation bears witness to the exchange of ideas between Scotland and Spain at an early date, and its purchase allows us to fill a gap in our Smith holdings.
This is not an exceptionally rare book, with 14 copies listed in OCLC, 3 in COPAC. However, there do not appear to be any other copies in public ownership in Scotland.|
|Reference Sources||R. S. Smith, 'The first Spanish edition of The wealth of nations', in Cheng-chung Lai, ed., 'Adam Smith across Nations', 2000, pp. 342-6.
Tribe, Keith (ed.), 'A critical bibliography of Adam Smith', Pickering & Chatto, 2002|
|Title||Politisk undersokning om lagar, som hindra och tvinga inforseln af sadana utlandska varor|
|Imprint||Goteborg: S. Norberg|
|Date of Publication||1804|
|Notes||This is a rare copy of the first appearance in Swedish of book IV, chapter 2, of 'An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations'. This chapter in English was titled: 'Of restraints upon the importation from countries of such goods as can be produced at home'. This is the key chapter in which Smith discusses laissez faire. Part of 'The wealth of nations' first appeared in Swedish in 1799-1800 in the literary periodical 'Lasning I blandade amnen'. (ABS.1.81.113)
It is also the second translation of Smith by Erik Erland Bodell who was, like Smith, a customs official. He published a translation of Book V, chapter 2 of the same work in Stockholm in 1800: 'Undersokning om Kongl. Stora sjo och granse-tullar,'. A Swedish translation of a German abridgement of the 'Wealth of nations' was published in Stockholm in 1800 (RB.s.2055). A full Swedish translation of this work was not published until 1911.|
|Reference Sources||Tribe, Keith (ed.) A critical bibliography of Adam Smith (London, 2002)|
|Title||Teoriia nravstvennykh chuvstv [Theory of moral sentiments].|
|Imprint||St. Petersburg: I.I. Glazunov|
|Date of Publication||1868|
|Notes||This is the first, very rare edition in Russian of Smith's 'Theory of moral sentiments'. The translator, Pavel Bibikov (1831-1875), also translated the 'Wealth of Nations' in 1866, both being part of his series the Library of Classical European Writers. Bibikov regarded the two works as complementing each other, as he remarks in his preface to this translation, "the works reinforce each other. That is why, having published in Russian Adam Smith's great work of political economy, I decided to translate and publish his other work, which is no less remarkable, and yet known even less to Russian society than the first" (p. 5). Bibikov's translation, probably done via French, remained the only Russian version available until 1997.|
|Title||The whole works of ... in five volumes ... A new edition.
|Imprint||London: Printed for J. Richardson & Co. [et al.]|
|Date of Publication||1822|
|Notes||A copy of the very rare second collected edition of Smith's works, which includes a new, anonymous biography of Smith. The first collected edition had included a famous biography by Dugald Stewart; this is a much shorter biography which appears to be a crib of the Stewart biography. The format of this second collected edition is also different to the first, which was an octavo. The publishers hoped that the "condensed and accessible form" of the smaller duodecisimo format "will render it more generally acceptable".|