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 721 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 616 to 630 of 721:
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|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.|
|Title||Royaute de Charles Second roy de la Grand Bretagne, &c. reconnuë au parlement d'Ecosse, & proclamée par tout le Royaume|
|Date of Publication||1649|
|Notes||This item is probably a translation of the proclamation by the Scottish parliament declaring Charles II king of Great Britain. It was first printed as a broadside by Evan Taylor in Edinburgh, days after the execution of Charles I in London. It is signed on the final page by William Scot, also known as Lord Clerkington, secretary to the parliament. Scot was knighted by Charles I in 1641 and from 1645 he represented Haddington in parliament.
The proclamation was quite a political statement by the Scottish parliament in proclaiming Charles as king not just of Scotland, but of Great Britain as a whole. It signalled the end of the informal alliance with the English parliament, though it was intended that the new king should be no more than a figurehead. The proclamation marked the beginning of an intense period of negotiation between the new king and the various political and religious factions in Scotland.|
|Author||Scotland. Convention of Estates.|
|Title||The acts & orders of the meeting of the Estates of the Kingdom of Scotland, holden and begun at Edinburgh, the 14th Day of March 1689.|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Printed by the heir of Andrew Anderson|
|Date of Publication||1690|
|Notes||This copy of the Acts and Orders (ESTC R033742), covering the early years of the rule of William and Mary, has an interesting provenance. On the contemporary binding is stamped in gold 'For the Browgh of Linlithgow', and inside is an inscription 'ex Dono Guiliemi Higginij Pastoris apud Tweedsmuirij'. This William Higgins (d.1718) sat for six sessions (1689-1700) as Member of the Scottish Parliament for the burgh of Linlithgow. Both his election and standing down set precedents. The Parliamentary Register of 1689 records that the Linlithgow election was contested by Higgins and George, Lord Livingston, eldest son of the Earl of Linlithgow. The election was granted to Higgins not only because he obtained 'the plurality of the votes of the burgesses' but also because Livingston, as the eldest son of a peer, was incapable of representing a burgh - a decision perhaps influenced by the fact that Higgins was a staunch Presbyterian, while Livingston was a known Jacobite. Only four days after this decision, Livingston was hosting Viscount Dundee ('Bonnie Dundee') on his journey to Stirling after defying the Convention when it decided to support William rather than James II. Higgins' election can be seen as the embodiment of the 'Glorious Revolution', with Whig politics and Presbyterianism in Linlithgow joining forces to promote the election of the popular bourgeois candidate at the expense of the local aristocrat who supported the old regime. Less excitingly, his standing down on becoming a Presbyterian minister set a precedent for the idea that ordination disqualified a man for the service of the secular parliament. Perhaps Higgins' gift, undated, was a thank-you offering to his electors, and a handing over to them of a book from the political life he was renouncing on his ordination. |
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; The Times Law Reports; Douglas, Basil William, Lord Daer. The right of the eldest sons of the peers of Scotland to represent the Commons of that part of Great Britain in Parliament, considered. [Edinburgh?], 1790; Records of the Parliaments of Scotland (http://www.rps.ac.uk/)|
|Title||Proclamation welcher Gestalt Carolus Stuard Prince von Schottlandt und Walles Koenig in Schottlandt und Irrlandt den 5. Februarii S.V. 1649, zu Edenburg in Schottlandt solenniter und offentlich aussgeruffen und proclamirt worden.|
|Imprint||Frankfurt : Philipps Fievet|
|Date of Publication||1649|
|Notes||This is one of two recorded German-language translations of the proclamation issued by the Estates of the Scottish Parliament in February 1649, proclaiming Charles II king. Charles's father had been executed in England, without Scottish approval, on 30 January that year and the Scottish Parliament had moved swiftly to recognise him as heir a few days later. The Scots' recognition of Charles II came with a price: they demanded from the new king satisfaction concerning religion, union, and the peace of Scotland, according to the covenants. The existence of two German translations of the proclamation can be seen as evidence of how events in England and Scotland at that time, and in particular the public execution of a reigning monarch, Charles I, were of great interest to people in continental Europe.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Title||Extracts from lectures on phrenology: delivered to the Hampshire Phrenological Society, Portsmouth, in 1834. + Testimonials in favour of James Scott.|
|Imprint||Gosport: J. Hammond|
|Date of Publication||1838|
|Notes||This volume contains three works, presumably printed for the author James Scott (1785-1860), on the occasion of his application for the post of superintendent physician at the Middlesex Lunatic Asylum. It contains two copies of his "Extracts from lectures on phrenology" as well as 63 pages of lengthy testimonials from colleagues. Scott was a Shetlander, born in Sandness on the Mainland. In 1803 he joined the Navy, seeing action in the Napoleonic Wars. He continued to serve after the Wars as a ship's surgeon, with a spell studying medicine on half-pay at the University of Paris. In 1826 he was appointed lecturer to the Royal Navy Hospital at Haslar at Gosport in Hampshire, and became curator of its medical museum. Scott was an influential supporter of phrenology in mental health diagnosis and treatment. By the time of these publications he was principal of the lunatic asylum at Haslar. The extracts from his lectures cover a wide range of topics from the development of phrenology, the philosophy of the mind and treatment of individual cases during his time at Haslar. In 1829 he met Sir Walter Scott, which took place around the time when the latter was preparing a new revised edition of his Shetland-based novel "The Pirate", for the 'Magnum Opus' edition of Scott's novels. The two men subsequently corresponded, with James Scott providing for the novelist a transcription of an account of the Sword Dance of Papa Stour. Walter Scott makes an appearance in "Extracts" in the section devoted to cranial dissection. In a long footnote on pp. 40-41 James Scott discusses the dissection of the author's brain. Quite what Walter Scott, who during his lifetime was dismissive of phrenology, would have made of this is another matter. Despite James Scott's impressive C.V. and breadth of learning he was unsuccessful in his application for the job in Middlesex. This particular volume appears to have been a family copy, containing his bookplate bearing his initials and the family motto 'Doe weell and let them say'.|
|Author||Scott, Robert Eden (1770-1811)|
|Title||Elements of Rhetoric|
|Imprint||Aberdeen: b. J. Chalmers|
|Date of Publication||1802|
|Notes||Robert Eden Scott was an important figure in the Aberdeen Enlightenment. Born in 1769 or 1770, he studied at Aberdeen and Edinburgh (where he was taught by Dugald Stewart, among other notables), eventually returning to his native Aberdeen to teach at King's College. Scott taught a wide range of topics, including mathematics and geology, moral philosophy and rhetoric - he even became involved in the Ossian controversy. Scott was well informed and interested in new scientific developments, but his traditional Christian beliefs led him to take a stand against many new theories. He associated the theory that the earth was older than the traditional interpretation of Genesis would permit with the violence of the French revolution.
Scott became the first Professor of Moral Philosophy at King's, and this work seems to have arisen from private classes he held while in that position. Scott analyses the workings of language, style, taste, and the different effects of different kinds of writing. The book is extremely rare, with two copies at Aberdeen University Library only. As Scott's first published work, it is an important addition to our holdings of Scottish philosophy and literary theory.|
|Reference Sources||Jessop, Bibliography of David Hume, 1938, p. 169.
Wood, Paul B., The Aberdeen Enlightenment, 1993
|Author||Scott, Sir Walter|
|Title||Halidon Hill. En dramatisk Skildring ven Sir Walter Scott, Baronet. Oversat af K. L. Rahbek|
|Imprint||Copenhagen: Forlagt af C.A. Reitzel|
|Date of Publication||1822|
|Notes||This is the first Danish translation of Scott's 'dramatic sketch' Halidon Hill, by the celebrated Danish man of letters Knud Lyne Rahbek (1760-1830). It is a rare item: no other copies are listed in COPAC or OCLC. Rahbek had published the first Danish translations from Scott in 1817, three years after the war between Britain and Denmark was concluded; this translation appeared in the same year that Halidon Hill was first published in Britain. Rahbek presented a copy of this work to Scott, which is listed in the Abbotsford Library Catalogue. Earlier the same year, he had presented a copy of a collection of Danish ballads to Scott, who replied (probably out of politeness) that he really should learn such an interesting language. In his periodical Tilsueren, Rahbek writes of this correspondence and says that he will send this translation of Halidon Hill to Scott 'as a primer of Danish'. One doubts whether Scott did indeed take advantage of this gift to improve his Danish. This copy is in the original publisher's wrapper, with an inscription in Danish on the front cover. Surviving correspondence between Rahbek and Scott can be viewed in NLS MS.3894, ff. 197-98 (Rahbek's letter to Scott) and NLS MS.85 (photostat of Scott's reply, presented by the Royal Library of Denmark which holds the original). |
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's catalogue; Millgate Union Catalogue of Walter Scott Correspondence; The Reception of Sir Walter Scott in Europe, ed. Murray Pittock (London, 2006); Letters of Sir Walter Scott, ed. H. Grierson, vol. 7.|
|Author||Scott, Sir Walter. |
|Title||[The Legend of Montrose.] Vysluzhivshiisia ofitser, ili voina Montroza, istoricheskii roman. Soch. Valtera Scotta, avtora Shotlandskikh puritan, Rob Roia, Edimburgskoi temnitsy, i proch. Perevod s Frantsuzskago. [The officer on the up, or the war of Montrose, a historical novel. A work by Walter Scott, author of The Scottish Puritan [ie. Old Mortality], Rob Roy, The Edinburgh Dungeon [ie. The Heart of Midlothian], and others. Translated from French].|
|Imprint||Moscow: P. Kuznetsov|
|Date of Publication||1824|
|Notes||This is the rare first edition of the first Russian translation of Sir Walter Scott's The Legend of Montrose. This historical romance set in Scotland in the 1640s was first published alongside The Bride of Lammermoor in 1819. During his lifetime Scott became famous in Russia - just as Robert Burns would become hugely popular there in later years. Many of his novels were translated from French. Kenilworth was the first of his novels to appear in Russian, in 1823. Scott became a major influence on great Russian writers such as Pushkin. Copies of Scott's novels in Russian are rare and this is the first early example NLS has been able to acquire.
This copy is is bound in contemporary Russian marbled sheep, gilt-tooled with an image on the spine of a cart with a plough and sheaves.
|Title||Elena Duglas ili Deva Ozera Lok-Katrinskago [Lady of the lake]|
|Imprint||Moscow: V Universitetskoi Tipografii|
|Date of Publication||1828|
|Notes||This is an early Russian translation of Sir Walter Scott's narrative poem "The Lady of the lake", first published in English in 1810. The poem was an immediate and huge success, selling 25,000 copies in 8 months, and helped spread Scott's fame beyond English-speaking lands. He became probably the most popular foreign author in Russia in the 19th century, the first Russian translation of his works, some extracts from "Ivanhoe", appeared as early as 1820. His influence can be seen not only in the development of the Russian historical novel, but also in the vogue for wearing tartan and dressing up as characters from his novels. This translation (the name of the translator is unknown) is in turn taken from a French translation, possibly the 1813 translation by Elisabeth de Bon. |
|Title||Kenel'uort. Roman Val'tera Skota obrabotan dlia iunoshestva [Kenilworth. A novel by Walter Scott adapted for youth]. |
|Imprint||Sankpeterburg, Moskva : M.O. Vol'fa|
|Date of Publication||1873|
|Notes||This is a Russian adaption of Sir Walter Scott's novel "Kenilworth" for younger readers. The cover states the book was published within the series 'Sochineniia Val'ter-Skota' ('Works of Walter-Scott' [sic]), but no other works within this series have been located apart a translation of "Waverley" (Veverlei, 1876), at the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin. Translations of Scott into Russian began to appear in the 1820s; he reached probably the widest audience of any foreign author in Russia in the 19th century, and his influence could be seen not only in the development of the Russian historical novel, but also in the vogue for wearing tartan, 'Walter Scott' cloaks, and dressing up as characters from his novels. It is not clear whether this translation has been done direct from the English or from a French translation (French being the language of conversation and correspondence by the Russian nobility which had in turn encouraged widespread access to French literature in Russia). However, the tinted lithograph frontispiece is taken from an illustration by the French book illustrator Denis Auguste Marie Raffet, who illustrated Auguste Defauconpret's French translations of Scott's works.
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black|
|Date of Publication||1882|
|Notes||This is a fine Scottish publisher's binding in red cloth, with the arms of Sir Walter Scott stamped in gilt on the front board. The black and gold decoration is striking and in good condition. Scott's initials are at the upper right of the front board, and at the foot of the board are various flowers and moths. The overall impression is striking. The Library has a copy of the text at SP.94, in a plain binding of polished calf.|
|Imprint||Pesten [Budapest] : Otto Wigand|
|Date of Publication||1829|
|Notes||The Library has in recent years acquired a number of early translations of the works of Sir Walter Scott printed in eastern Europe. This a rare Hungarian translation of Sir Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe", only two other copies are recorded in the UK. It was the only Scott novel translated into Hungarian in the first half of the 19th century. It was translated by the poet and patriot Andras Thaisz (1789-1840, described by Sir John Bowring is his "The poetry of the Magyars" (London, 1830) as 'the translator of the Scottish Romances'.|
|Author||Scott, Walter, Sir.|
|Title||Character of Lord Byron|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||Sir Walter Scott's Character of Lord Byron is bound with William Parry's Last days of Lord Byron with His Lordship's Opinions on Various Subjects Particularly on the State and Prospects of Greece. Scott's tribute to Byron first appeared in the May 19, 1824 issue of the 'Edinburgh Weekly Journal' and was later reprinted in 'The Pamphleteer', vol. 24, 1824.
This copy of the Character of Lord Byron does not incorporate the same typeface, or follow the same layout as the edition of Scott's article published in the 'The Pamphleteer.' No bibliographic record for this copy can be found in NSTC, RLIN, CURL, or the catalogues of the British Library, Library of Congress, Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge or the University of Edinburgh. Neither does it appear in William B. Todd's Sir Walter Scott : a bibliographical history, 1796-1832.
A footnote on p. 197, vol. VII, in John Gibson Lockhart's Life of Sir Walter Scott (Edinburgh: Constable, 1902) presents some relevant background information. According to a recollection in 1839 by Andrew Shortrede, an apprentice in the Edinburgh printing trade in 1824: 'Sir Walter came down from the Court of Session to the printing-office the day the intelligence of Byron's death reached Edinburgh and there dictated to James Ballantyne the article which appeared in the Weekly Journal. I think it was inserted without correction, or revisal, except by Ballantyne. From these circumstances, I with others imagined James had himself produced it in some moment of inspiration; but when I afterwards told him how I had been misled, he detailed suo more the full, true, and particular history of the article. Separate copies, I remember, were thrown off for some of Byron's friends.'
No publication details can be found anywhere on this copy of Scott's article. As Shortrede's recollection suggests, this is most probably one of the very few surviving separate copies, which James Ballantyne and Company had printed for the friends of Byron.|
|Reference Sources||Not in NSTC, RLIN or CURL|
|Title||Poema posledniago barda. [Lay of the last minstrel]|
|Imprint||Moscow: V Universitetskoi Tipografii|
|Date of Publication||1823|
|Notes||This is the rare first edition in Russian of "The Lay of the Last Minstrel", first published in English in 1805. Only one other copy has been located in western European libraries at the National Library of Finland. The publisher/translator of the prose translation was Mikhail Kachenovsky (1775-1842), professor at Moscow University and editor of the journal "Vestnik Evropy" (Herald of Europe). |
|Title||De Zeeroover [The Pirate]|
|Imprint||Leeuwarden : Steenbergen van Goor,|
|Date of Publication||1825|
|Notes||The fame of Walter Scott's novels spread quickly through Continental Europe. Scott's novel "The Pirate" was written in 1821 and published in Edinburgh and London by Archibald Constable in December 1822. This is the first Dutch translation, done by the publisher Jan Willem Steenbergen van Goor (1778-1856). "The Pirate" was written after Scott's publisher, Archibald Constable had suggested he write a novel about pirates. Scott took as his inspiration the tale of the 'Orkney Pirate' John Gow, who had returned home to Orkney to lie low for a period. Gow lived a respectable life for several weeks, pretending to be an honest trader, until his cover was blown, which led to his eventual arrest and execution in 1725. |