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 754 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 616 to 630 of 754:

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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
AuthorReid, Alan.
TitleDundee from the tram cars : an illustrated guide to the city and its surroundings.
ImprintDundee: John Durham & Co.
Date of Publication1908
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis well-illustrated guide book to Dundee and the surrounding area was published by the local Tramways Committee. There are descriptions of the notable places to see along all the routes. The preface notes that 'the horse and steam haulage of earlier days has given place to electric traction'. The statistics which follow are impressive - 20,000 miles covered weekly, 15 million passengers conveyed annually. The guide also includes a map of the tram routes with a list of the routes, fares, stations and distances. Electric trams were on the streets of Dundee for over 50 years from 1900 to 1956. Loosely inserted in the volume are a number of interesting ephemeral items: Dundee City Tramways security card from 1911 and an employees pass for Andrew Thomson dated March 1910. There is also a photograph of a driver and conductor standing in front of the Blackness tram.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2712
Acquired on30/06/08
AuthorReid, Thomas
TitleInquiry into the Human Mind
Imprint3rd edition, Dublin
Date of Publication1779
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a useful edition to the Library's holdings of Scottish Enlightenment texts. Thomas Reid (1710-1796) is known as one of the founders of the 'common sense' school of philosophy. As a minister and traditionalist, he argued that our senses give us valid and trustworthy information about a real existent world, in opposition to other, more sceptical philosophers like David Hume. The Inquiry, written while Reid was Regent at King's College, Aberdeen, and first published in 1764, is perhaps Reid's most important work. In it Reid discusses all the five senses, but pays most attention to the faculty of sight, which had been at the centre of so many philosophical and scientific debates involving Berkeley, Locke and Newton. This 'third edition' printed at Dublin is a smaller, presumably cheaper reprint of the third edition printed in London in 1769. This copy was clearly read, as there are occasional pencil markings, and the title-page shows that it had at least two owners, thus providing more evidence for the importance of Irish publishing in promoting the Scottish Enlightenment. Jessop did not see a copy while compiling his bibliography of Scottish philosophers.
ShelfmarkABS.2.202.014
Reference SourcesT. E. Jessop, Bibliography of David Hume, p. 164
Acquired on29/05/02
AuthorReinbeck, Johann Gustav.
TitleAls der Hoch-Edle, Großachtbare und Hochgelahrte Herr, Hr. Robert Scott, Medicinae Doctor, Sr. ChurFuerstl. Durchl. von Hannover wohlbestalter Leib-Medicus, am Sonntage Septuagesima 1714 durch eine gewaltsahme Kranckheit aus dem Weinberge dieser Welt von seiner Arbeit auffgefordert wurde ...
ImprintBerlin : Johan Wessel,
Date of Publication[1714]
LanguageGerman
NotesIn 1714 Dr Robert Scott, a Scottish physician working in Germany, died after a long and successful career. Scott had worked in the castle of Celle near Hanover as the personal physician to Georg Wilhelm, Duke of Brunswick-Lueneburg and then to his successor, Georg Ludwig (who in 1714 became King George I of Great Britain). Little is known about Scott except that his exceptionally pious nature meant that he was often ridiculed behind his back at the Duke's court. This poem, dedicated to his memory, was written by Johann Gustav Reinbeck (1683-1741), who had married Scotts daughter Margarethe in 1710. Reinbeck, originally from Celle, was a Lutheran theologian who, by the time this poem was published, had become a preacher in the parishes of Friedrichswerder and Dorotheenstadt in Berlin. However ridiculous Scott may have seemed to the courtiers at Celle, the equally pious Reinbeck thought fit to publish this poem, with its suitably flowery language and religious imagery, in praise of his late father-in-law.
ShelfmarkAP.4.210.34
Reference Sourceshttp://hugenotten.de/gesellschaft/_pdf/03-2008.pdf Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie v. 28, pp. 2-4 (Leipzig, 1889)
Acquired on30/04/10
AuthorRev. Alexander Andrew
TitleMemoir of Dr. John Rankine.
ImprintGlasgow: Maurice Ogle & Company.
Date of Publication1866
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn Rankine was a Scottish homeopathic doctor and early settler in Australia. Rankine arrived in South Australia on the ship Fairfield on May 4, 1839 after sailing 159 days from Liverpool. Among the ship's 105 passengers were ten members of his family and a substantial number of other families who had followed him. Rankine was responsible for the name of the town Strathalbyn in South Australia and in 1841 Andrew Rankine, son of William Rankine, became the very first child born in that town. By the end of the 1840s the Rankines had acquired large landholdings and built impressive homes on them. Dr John Rankine became a JP in 1849 and later a member of the South Australian Parliament. The book contains much detail concerning Rankine's life: emigrating to Australia; his time there; return to UK; travels in Europe; travels in Scotland; becoming involved in homeopathy; renting Kinnaird House, Larbert, and many people visiting for cures; practising work; London; settling again in Glasgow; religious involvement with the Free Church; unpublished extracts from a lecture given to the Glasgow Homeopathic Institute in the winter of 1860 ... etc. The only other extant copy of this title is held in the National Library of Medicine in Washington.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2721
Acquired on18/09/08
AuthorRichard of St Victor
TitleEgregii patris et clari theologi Ricardi ... de superdivina trinitate theologicu[m] opus.
ImprintParis: Estienne
Date of Publication1510
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is an early Estienne imprint and the first edition of a treatise on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, which defines God as three divine persons or hypostases: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. It is not included in Richard's "Opera omnia" published four years earlier. The work was edited by Jacques Lefèvre d'Etaples (Jacobus Faber Stapulensis, ca. 1460-1536) who also wrote the commentary. The Augustinian theologian Richard of St Victor (d. 1173?) became prior of the abbey of St Victor at Paris and is supposed to have composed this doctrine after his appointment at St Victor in 1162. Richard was thought from the 16th century onwards to have been a Scot, but there is no concrete evidence to prove this assumption. However, the printing of book is probably an example of how Hector Boece and other 16th-century Scottish scholars sought to promote all things Scottish on the Continent through the agency of the leading Parisian printers of the day. In the same year Estienne printed John Mair/Major's "In Primum Sententiarum" and its sequel "In Secundum Sententiarum" for Josse Bade d'Asch. Estienne would almost certainly have thought he was printing a Scottish author. The text is notable for its six woodcut diagrams variously illustrating the composition of the Trinity.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2872
Reference SourcesBooksellers' notes; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on26/07/13
AuthorRichardson, George
TitleBook of ceilings
ImprintLondon: Printed for the author
Date of Publication1776
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe copy on offer seems to differ from the copy purchased by the Library in 1980 (Sotheby's auction - £456) only by the fact that all of the 48 plates have been coloured. The possibility of acquiring coloured copies of A book of ceilings was mentioned in an advertisement in Richardson's New designs in architecture (1792). The cost was 48 guineas - a guinea per plate - a colossal sum even in those days (in today's terms about over £3500). The only coloured copies traced are at the British Library and the National Library in Warsaw. The British Library copy (55.I.18 from the Royal Library in an 'Adam' design binding) has both the coloured and uncoloured copies of each plate bound together. The coloured plates have less rich colour and 'white' areas are left as plain paper as compared to the body-colouring in the NLS copy. Also the coloured and uncoloured copies seem not be always the same printed state - e.g. for plate XII Richardson's name is engraved and printed in black on the uncoloured copy whereas on the coloured copy his name is in brown and may be in manuscript. A possible explanation is that the colouring in the BL copy was carried out separately and at an earlier stage. ESTC lists 13 copies - the only other copies in Scotland are at Bowhill (the then Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch are listed among the subscribers), and Paxton House, Berwickshire, which has the first four plates published in 1774. Both copies are uncoloured. Eileen Harris in British architectural books and writers 1556-1785 lists 4 additional holdings (2 British). Two of the designs (plates XVII and XVIII) were carried out for Sir Lawrence Dundas of Edinburgh, one of which is now to be seen in the Board Room of the Royal Bank of Scotland building in St. Andrew Square, Edinburgh. Ian Gow, Head of the Curators Department of the National Trust for Scotland has examined the work and believes it more likely that such a deluxe work would have been purchased by book collectors rather than by architects. He has also remarked on the unusual use of gouache and the body-colouring employed in the roundels in the designs. Mr. Gow believes that the acquisition of this work by the National Library offers the opportunity for art and architecture historians to find out more about the colouring of ceilings in 18th century houses and mansions. There is little doubt that Richardson (who may have come from Inveresk, Midlothian) was closely associated with the Adam brothers earlier in his career. At the age of about 20 he was involved, albeit in a minor capacity and under James Adam's direction, in turning Robert Adam's plates of and commentary on Diocletian's Palace at Split into a publishable book (this was published in 1764 as Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia. Richardson accompanied James Adam on his Grand Tour from 1760 to 1763 and had plenty of opportunity to study the remains of ancient architecture and painting. The National Library holds 2 of Richardson's letters written to his patron (Archibald Shiells of Inveresk) recording his observations of Rome (MS.3812). He probably left the employ of the Adams prior to 1773 as he is not listed among the numerous artists and architects employed by them. According to Eileen Harris it was however Adam's folio of executed designs described in French and English (Works in architecture, published in parts from 1773) which prompted Richardson to start publishing his own works in a similar fashion in 1774. By publishing the work in instalments over a number of years he helped to increase the sales to those unable to invest 3-4 guineas all at once. A book of ceilings did not have the desired effect of attracting new patrons for Richardson. By publishing his own designs he made available his works for imitation and execution by others and rendered unnecessary his actual employment as an architect.
ShelfmarkFB.el.132
Reference SourcesDNB, Harris, Eileen, British architecture books and writers 1556-1785 (Cambridge, 1990)
Acquired on16/10/03
AuthorRigaud, John Francis
TitleExecution de Marie Stuart, reine d' Ecosse, en sept estampes
Imprint[London?: s.n.]
Date of Publication[1791?]
LanguageFrench
NotesA set of 7 engraved plates, printed in brown, depicting in highly melodramatic fashion episodes in the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, from her imprisonment and execution in Fotheringhay Castle in 1587 to her burial. The plates are taken from paintings by John Francis Rigaud (1742-1810), born in Italy to French parents, who arrived in London in 1771. Rigaud became a member of the Royal Academy and made a career out of decorative painting in the country houses of the nobility and in producing depictions of classical, literary and historical subjects. The plates were engraved by William Nelson Gardiner (1766-1814) and published by Tebaldo Monzani (1762-1839) an Italian music-seller, publisher and instrument-maker in London; 4 are dated April 20 1790, the other 3 May 1, 1791. The plates appear, printed in black and in a slightly different form, in a Monzani publication entitled "A representation of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots in seven views" (ESTC T167320 & T170736) which included music composed for each view by Willoughby Bertie, Earl of Abingdon. Monzani then appears to have reissued them in this publication, this time with explanatory text in English under each engraving - the same text which appears in letter-press at the beginning of the aforementioned Abingdon book - but also with a four page brochure in French which translates the captions to each engraving. It may be that this publication was intended for export to the continent. It appears to be a very rare item, there is no record of it in ESTC (NB there are also only 5 library locations in total for ESTC T167320 & T170736). The choice of topic was especially relevant when this work was published in view of the fate of the French king, Louis XVI, who had been captured in 1791 by the French government after attempting to escape France and who would be executed in 1793. Moreover, the life and fate of Mary Queen of Scots had become a source of historical debate within late 18th-century Britain, in particular her alleged complicity in the murder of her first husband, Lord Darnley, which appeared to be confirmed by the infamous casket letters written to Lord Bothwell.
ShelfmarkRB.m.520
Reference SourcesDNB, not in ESTC
Acquired on12/10/04
AuthorRinuccini, Giovanni Battista
TitleCapucin Escossois.
ImprintAix: Jean Roize
Date of Publication1667 [1647]
LanguageFrench
NotesAn extremely rare copy of what may be the first French edition of Rinuccini's work on George Leslie, (Father Archangel) a convert to Catholicism who became a Capuchin friar. Leslie had a colourful career being in the Scots College in Rome in 1608, posting Catholic manifestos on church doors in Aberdeen in 1624 before fleeing to France around 1629. He managed to incur the wrath of Rome and had to appear before the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith in 1631. Thanks to the testimony of Scottish Catholics he was cleared of all charges and returned to Scotland where he died in 1637. While in Rome he met Rinuccini then the Archbishop of Fermo who wrote a somewhat fantastic account of Leslie's adventures for the edification of the faithful, which was first published in Macerata, Italy in 1644. Rinuccini had employed the Scot in preaching and other pastoral work in his diocese. Editions were published in French, Latin and other European languages - the NLS holds editions printed in French in 1650, 1660, 1662 and 1664 - though no English editions were published until the 19th century. This may have been because of the fictitious nature of the work particularly in relation to Leslie's alleged aristocratic origins in Aberdeenshire. Although the date on the title page is 1667, the true date is probably 1647, which would make it the first French edition. This is the date of the Aix edition in Repertoire bibliographique des livres imprimés en France au XVIIe siècle (1996), number 540. There is also an ownership inscription on the title page from 'Convent d'Annessy', dated 'Juin 1649'. No locations are recorded but the book is known from two sources: Lexicon capuccinum 118 and a Paris bookseller's catalogue Presses provinciales.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2292
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on22/11/02
AuthorRob Roy [MacGregor, John]
TitleThe tail of the Beagle, ship! ahoy!
Imprint[Castle Wemyss: John Burns],
Date of Publication[1865]
LanguageEnglish
NotesEarly Scottish privately-printed books often did not come to the Library through legal deposit, so the acquisition of such books is always a bonus. This privately-printed book describes a cruise in the Western Isles of Scotland in 1864, and is taken from a tongue-in-cheek log kept by John 'Rob Roy' MacGregor (1825-1892), barrister, philanthropist, traveller and intrepid canoeist. Although born in Kent, MacGregor had Scottish parents and spent part of his childhood in Scotland, and thus regarded himself as "Scotch to the backbone". After studying law at Cambridge and training to be a barrister, he chose instead to devote himself to philanthropy, becoming involved in the provision of ragged schools (independent charity schools for the poor). He also spent a lot of time travelling, writing and illustrating books about his various expeditions and contributing articles to "Punch". In 1864 he was invited by his friend and fellow philanthropist John Burns (1829-1901), who was later to become the first Baron Inverclyde, for a cruise in the Western Isles. The cruise was the inaugural voyage of the screw-steam yacht 'Beagle' which had just been built for the shipping company owned by Burns's father. MacGregor and Burns were members of a party of eleven men, the 'Beagles', who enjoyed an eleven-day trip, starting from Burns's home at Castle Wemyss, Renfrewshire, on July 26, up to the island of Lewis, then back again. MacGregor kept a log of the cruise, written in typically whimsical and humorous style, and illustrated with pen and pencil caricatures of his fellow shipmates and of the various incidents that befell them. The following year John Burns had MacGregor's account of the trip, based on the entries in his log, printed as a book for distribution to friends and fellow Beagles under the title "The tail of the Beagle". No expense appears to have been spared for the folio-size publication, which was bound in green cloth with gilt lettering and borders and included seven photographs of pages from the original log, as well as a group photograph of the Beagles, and a map of their journey. While much of the content of the book has long since lost its relevance, MacGregor's drawings are particularly witty. Sadly the 'Beagle' did not last long after its inaugural cruise. In November 1865 it was involved in a collision with another ship near the Cumbrae islands and sank. MacGregor would go on to achieve fame for his long solo canoe journeys on the Continent, being one of the first to promote the sport of canoeing in Britain. This particular copy of the "The tail of the Beagle" includes an undated MS note which appears to be in MacGregor's hand: "Dearest Carry, I am clearing up finally at Comyn[?] House - & don't think the "Beagles" should go with the sale, so send it to you! ..."; it also has a newspaper cutting pasted on the back pastedown reporting the loss of the 'Beagle'.
ShelfmarkAB.10.210.04
Reference SourcesEdwin Hodder "John MacGregor (Rob Roy)" (London, 1894)
Acquired on14/05/10
AuthorRobert Louis Stevenson
Title[A collection of 5 items printed by Lloyd Osbourne in Davos-Platz Switzerland]
ImprintDavos-Platz: S.L. Osbourne & Co
Date of Publication1882
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a collection of five small items printed by Robert Louis Stevenson's stepson, (Samuel) Lloyd Osbourne (1868-1947). They were produced on a little printing press which he took with him to Davos, Switzerland, when he, Stevenson, and his mother Fanny spent the winters of 1880-81 and 1881-82 there. Surviving copies of items printed on Lloyd Osbourne's press are very rare and much sought after by collectors. The items acquired are: the two collections of poems by Stevenson, both titled 'Moral emblems' with woodcut illustrations by Stevenson, two single leaf advertisements for the above works, and 'To M. I. Stevenson' a [4]-page pamphlet which has a woodcut and a single line quotation attributed to Stevenson's father, Thomas. The Scottish author had become part of Lloyd's life when he had met Lloyd's mother, the American Frances (Fanny) Van de Grift Osbourne, in the summer of 1876 at an artists' colony in Grez, France. Fanny had given up on her unhappy marriage to Samuel Osbourne and moved to France with Lloyd and his sister, Isobel (Belle). Stevenson fell in love with her and the relationship continued despite the disapproval of Stevenson's parents. Fanny moved back to California in 1878 but they were reunited the following year in the USA, and in May 1880, Fanny having obtained a divorce, they were married. At some point in 1880, before his 12th birthday in April, Lloyd was given a little portable printing press. Family tradition has attributed the gift to Stevenson, although at the time the struggling author was almost penniless, whereas Lloyd's wealthy father could easily have afforded it. Some of Lloyd's earliest blurry efforts on the press from early 1880 have survived and are now held in the Beinecke Library. They show that the boy's enthusiasm was not initially matched by his skill in using the press. In August 1880, Stevenson, Fanny and Lloyd moved to Scotland (Fanny's daughter Belle married in 1879 and remained in the USA). Stevenson was now reconciled with his parents, who would support him financially. In November of that year the family was on the move again, this time on medical advice, to spend the winter in the health resort of Davos-Platz in the Swiss Alps. Stevenson was suffering from chronic lung problems which would plague him for the rest of his life, and the clean dry air of the Alps was thought to be better for him than a damp Scottish winter. For a 12 year-old boy, Davos was hardly an enticing location; he would describe it as a "small straggling town where nearly all the shops were kept by consumptives." Lloyd had brought his printing press along to while away the hours and was soon carrying out small pieces of jobbing printing such as lottery tickets, admission tickets and concert programmes, and three issues of a newspaper, 'The Davos News'. Back in Scotland in the summer of 1881, he visited the Edinburgh printers R. & R. Clark, who printed some of Stevenson's early works, and saw how the professionals did it. The following winter the family was back in Davos, and once again the printing press was put to good use. This time Stevenson himself became more involved in the activities of Lloyd's printing 'firm', not only supplying text to print but also carving woodblocks with a penknife to make woodcuts to illustrate the pamphlets. Lloyd regarded his press very much as a commercial venture, giving it the names: Osbourne and Company, S.L. Osbourne and Company, and Samuel Lloyd Osbourne and Company. He was now sufficiently confident of his skill to advertise his services as follows, "printing of all kinds done neatly and well". In this second Davos winter Lloyd printed his own mini-novel 'The Black Canyon', and finished off the printing, begun in the previous winter, of a collection of poems by Stevenson, 'Not I, and other poems'. The pamphlet 'To M. I. Stevenson' was printed for his step-family's amusement, and was not for sale. M. I. Stevenson was Stevenson's mother, Margaret Isabella, and Lloyd printed it for her 53rd birthday on February 11, 1882. Stevenson supplied a woodcut of a woman in a dress delighting in the discovery of a flower in the countryside. On the adjacent page is the caption: "THE MARGUERITE. Lawks! What a beautiful flower!! T.S", supposedly a quote from Stevenson's father, Thomas, and, according to his son, the only piece of poetry his father ever composed. This particular copy is housed a morocco case with silk folding inner liner made by the Scroll Club of New York. Lloyds next project in March 1882 was another collection of five short nonsense poems by his stepfather, 'Moral Emblems', modelled on pocket-size emblem books, which were popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. Stevenson supplied four basic woodcuts to accompany the poems; the fifth, depicting an elephant, was done by Fanny. Ninety copies were printed and sold in Davos, and also sent to friends and family. Stevenson sent a copy of the booklet to his friend the Scottish author Alexander Japp, describing, with tongue firmly in cheek, the illustrations as "replete with the highest qualities of art". The success of 'Moral Emblems' was such that Stevenson was willing to write a second instalment, 'Moral Emblems: a second collection of cuts and verses', even though he was at the time hard at work finishing off the novels 'The Silverado Squatters' and 'Treasure Island'. The format was the same as the first collection, five poems and five woodcut illustrations, this time all done by Stevenson. Fanny had gone to the trouble of acquiring for him some pear-wood blocks, which were easier to carve, and proper engraving tools, so the illustrations were of a finer quality. Stevenson wrote in a letter to his mother, dated 20 March 1882, "I dote on wood engraving." Another print run of ninety copies was produced just over a month after the first collection, and was equally successful. The items purchased for NLS include copies of both collections of 'Moral Emblems', the second collection being a presentation copy from Stevenson, inscribed in ink on the front cover "S.E.P. from R.L.S.". The identity of "S.E.P." is unknown; there is no one among Stevenson's close friends and regular correspondents with these initials, it may have been one of his fellow residents at Davos-Platz. Along with the copy of the second collection of 'Moral Emblems' there is a letter from Stevenson's friend, the writer Edmund Gosse (1849-1928), dated 17 November 1896, nearly two years after Stevenson's death. Written on Board of Trade paper, where Gosse worked as a translator, he informs his correspondent "Foote", the American banker and book collector Charles B. Foote (1837-1900), that he has managed to acquire for Foote this copy, with Stevenson's signature on it, from the original owner. Gosse remarks that the owner would not part with it for less than £5, which was the sum Foote had commissioned him to pay for it. Gosse was well acquainted with 'Moral Emblems'; back in March 1882 Stevenson had sent him an advertisement leaf for the first collection, noting that this was an "advertisement of my new appearance as a poet (bard, rather) and hartis [artist?] on wood." Stevenson could only send Gosse the advertisement, not the book as he declared, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, "I would send you the book; but I declare I'm ruined. I got a penny a cut and a halfpenny a set of verses from the flint-hearted publisher, and only one specimen copy, as I'm a sinner." Gosse would later remark that the pamphlets had a curious charm even if he was less convinced of Stevenson's abilities as a poet, "these volumes were decidedly occult. A man might build upon them a reputation as a sage but hardly as a poet." Gosse and his wife did, however, receive copies of 'The Black Canyon' and 'Not I and other poems'. The advertisement leaves for both collections of 'Moral Emblems' are among the items acquired here; the leaf for the first collection contains Stevenson's woodcut to accompany his poem 'The hero and the eagle', and promises an edition deluxe priced 9 pence, the illustrations marking "a new departure in the business of Osbourne & Co." The advertisement leaf for the second collection shows Lloyd developing his entrepreneurial skills to offer a deluxe edition for 10 pence, and a "popular edition for the million" with the "cuts slightly worn", for the bargain price of 8 pence. In a letter of April 1882 Stevenson mentioned his stepson's printing activities (calling him by his first name), "Sam I believe is to be a printer". However, Lloyd's printing activities were in fact over for good. That same month the family moved back to Britain, where Lloyd was sent to a private tutor to make up for the lack of education he had received in Switzerland. He was reunited later in the summer with his family and his printing press in Kingussie in the Scottish Highlands, but his attempts to begin printing again were scuppered as the press was broken, possibly damaged in transit from Switzerland to Scotland, and could not be repaired. The next publication of Samuel Osbourne & Co., 'The Graver and the Pen', another collection of Stevenson poems with woodcut illustrations, had to be printed on a shop owner's press in Kingussie. A further collection of poems was planned to be printed in Edinburgh later that year, 'Robin and Ben: or, The pirate and the apothecary'. Stevenson wrote the text and carved three wood blocks for it, but it was never published in his lifetime. The family moved to the south of France in the winter of 1882, as Stevenson could not bear the thought of another stay in Switzerland, and Lloyd was sent off to school where he developed new interests. These surviving publications of his press are a fascinating reminder of an important chapter in his and Stevenson's life, where they collaborated to produce works which may have lacked literary and typographical polish, but more than made up for it in homespun charm. Lloyd's printing press is now on display in the Writers' Museum in Edinburgh.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2894 ; RB.s.2895 ; RB.s.2896 ; RB.s.2897(1) ; RB.s.2897(2)
Reference SourcesJ.D. Hart, 'The private press ventures of Samuel Lloyd Osbourne and R.L.S.' (San Francisco, 1966); Oxford DNB; B.A. Booth and E. Mehew (eds)'The letters of Robert Louis Stevenson' (New Haven, 1995-1996)
Acquired on16/05/14
AuthorRobert Mackenzie Johnston
TitleField memoranda for Tasmanian botanists
ImprintLaunceston [Tasmania]: Walch brothers
Date of Publication1874
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a compact field guide for Tasmanian collectors of local flora, described the author as "an arranged epitome of Hooker's Flora of Tasmania." It is intended to help amateur botanists identify plants according to their order and genera, as well as providing a list of nearly all the flowering species of Tasmania. Each page of text is interleaved with sheets ruled in two columns, headed "locality" and "remarks", allowing the botanist to add his/her own observations about the plants they find. It is bound in the original green publisher's cloth by Walch and Sons of Hobart. The author, Robert Mackenzie Johnston (1843-1918) was born the son of a crofter in Petty, Inverness-shire. As a boy he developed an interest in natural history and was influenced by the works of the Cromarty-born geologist and journalist Hugh Miller. He left home in 1859 and did a variety of jobs in Scotland as well as studying botany, geology, and chemistry in evening classes at the Anderson's University in Glasgow. In 1870 he emigrated to Australia, moving on to Tasmania, at the time a self-governing colony of the British Empire, later that year. After working as an accountant for the Launceston and Western Railway and Government Railways he was appointed Government Statistician and Registrar-General 1882. Johnston retained his interest in botany and geology, and he collected specimens widely throughout Tasmania, the island being still relatively unexplored by European settlers. 'Field memoranda for Tasmanian botanists' was his first publication, inspired, according to his introduction, by him "having felt the want of a ready means of reference in the diagnosis of our wild flowers" during his rambles in the bush. The work is dedicated to the eminent Tasmanian botanist Ronald Campbell Gunn (1808-1881), who had Scottish parents. Johnston would go on to publish widely on natural history, geology, politics and statistics.
ShelfmarkIN PROCESS
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Dictionary of Australian Biography
Acquired on29/08/14
AuthorRobert, J.S.
TitleLife and explorations of Dr. Livingstone
ImprintNottingham: Haslam
Date of Publicationc. 1880
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn S. Roberts's biography of David Livingstone first appeared in the 1870s and was immediate success, contributing to the image of the Scots explorer as a saintly and indefatigable figure, a true Victorian hero whose exploits were studied by schoolchildren all over the Empire. The work was published by Adam & Co. of London and Newcastle-upon-Tyne and contained colour lithographic plates depicting in vivid detail scenes from Livingstone's life. It appears to have been reissued by provincial booksellers, who inserted an additional title page. This large-format copy was published by Haslam of Nottingham presumably for the local market.
ShelfmarkAB.9.209.03
Acquired on16/02/09
AuthorRoberton, John.
TitleInstitutes of health.
Imprint[London]. Printed for J. J. Stockdale.
Date of Publication1817
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Scottish physician John Roberton (1776-1840) was a radical and controversial figure in the medical profession. The true extent of his medical qualifications remains in doubt. He started off as a general practitioner in Edinburgh who specialised in sexually transmitted diseases. In 1809 his first major work, advocating the founding of a medical police force, "A treatise on the medical police, and on diet, regimen, &c." was published in Edinburgh. In the same year he was expelled from the Royal Medical Society for disgraceful conduct and moved to London in 1810, where he published his most famous and controversial work on reproductive system "On diseases of the generative system" the following year. Owing to his reputation and the somewhat sensational nature of the work along with its explicit illustrations, Roberton had some difficulty in finding a publisher for the work, eventually turning to John Joseph Stockdale, who himself had something of a reputation for publishing risqué material. Stockdale guaranteed the salacious reputation of the work when over the next few years he published further editions (sometimes under the pseudonym of Thomas Little), himself interpolating still more sensational illustrations, with a fourth edition appearing in the year of the present work. Having ostracised himself from the Edinburgh medical fraternity and fallen foul of most of polite society, Roberton's published work was aimed at the general public who were not put off by poor reviews. "Institutes of health" was written with the same readership in mind and published by Stockdale, but has absolutely no salacious content. The author stresses his belief that the medical writer should be of service to the wider community and notes that the work has been divested of 'professional obscurities and unnecessary technical terms' in an effort to make it more accessible. Divided into seven chapters, Roberton warns against the dangers of excess in all areas of life, with sections on the perils of excessive drinking and eating, including a section on dangers of indulging in draught London porter and ale prepared for pot-houses (pubs) which Roberton suspects is adulterated with "other deleterious substances". He concludes with a section on the use of mercury for the treatment of liver complaints.
ShelfmarkAB.3.210.50
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes. Wikipedia.
Acquired on08/10/10
AuthorRoberts, David
TitlePicturesque sketches in Spain taken during ye years 1832 & 1833
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1837
NotesThis volume of tinted lithographs was David Roberts's first published set of views. After working as a house painter in Edinburgh he became a scene painter at theatres in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Carlisle and London. He began travelling on the continent in the 1820s and visited Spain and Tangier on the recommendation of his fellow Scottish artist David Wilkie. Roberts's skill as a draughtsman and his love of architecture are clearly to be seen in this work. Though not as well-known as his later sketches of the Holy Land and Egypt, these lithographs helped to establish Roberts as a topographical artist and aided his election as a Royal Academician in 1841. Roberts being dissatisfied with the quality of many of the lithographs, worked on many of the lithographic stones himself, erasing some of the original engravings. Instead of taking two months, this work took seven months. It is perhaps significant that Roberts's later work was lithographed by Louis Haghe and printed by Day and Haghe, rather than Charles Hullmandel, who printed 'Picturesque sketches'. Although Roberts received £350 for the drawings, he felt he had been cheated by Hodgson and Graves, the publishers. They sold the drawings to Colnaghi for £300 and sold the book of the prints for four guineas. According to James Ballantine, Roberts's first biographer, 'the views … when they were published had an enormous sale, and since then the work has gone through more printings than any work in lithography ever published'. Within 2 months they had sold 1,200 copies and reprints were still selling twenty years later. Only copies in UK at BL and V&A (imperfect).
ShelfmarkRB.l.113
Acquired on22/05/01
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