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.

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Important Acquisitions 631 to 645 of 754:

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TitleThe Edinburgh Rose.
ImprintLondon: Joseph Myers
Date of Publicationc.1860
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a remarkable piece of paper engineering from the mid-nineteenth century. At first glance it looks like a cleverly sculpted paper rose coloured in pink and green. However, once opened the viewer sees 28 vignette engravings of Edinburgh and its surroundings including Calton Hill, the Castle, Holyrood Palace, Roslin Chapel and Tantallon Castle. It is contained within an envelope, entitled 'The Edinburgh Rose' with an engraving of the Scott Monument. On one side the imprint reads, 'Joseph Myers & Co., London', and on the other 'C. Adler, Hamburg'. Myers and Adler produced a series of over 100 roses depicting views of places throughout Britain and Europe.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2697
Acquired on29/10/07
AuthorBible. N.T. Ephesians
TitleThe epistle of Paul to the Ephesians.
ImprintEdinburgh: James Gall
Date of Publicationc. 1837
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Library, thanks to the donation of a collection of the Royal Blind Asylum and School in Edinburgh in 1989, has a good collection of early printing done for the blind in Scotland. One of the key figures in this field was the Edinburgh printer and publisher James Gall (c. 1784-1874). While visiting Paris in 1825, Gall saw examples of embossed type books for the blind and decided to design a script which could be used by blind and sighted people alike. He introduced his Gall Type in 1827; its triangular forms were regarded as being more easily discernible by touch than existing rounded types. Capital letters were excluded, meaning that there were only 26 characters to be learnt. The Gospel by St. John for the blind (Edinburgh, 1834) was the first major work to be printed in Gall's type. In 1835 he founded the School for Blind Children at Craigmillar Park, which adopted his tactile alphabet. This particular book, of which only one other copy, in the British Library, is recorded, is a fine example of printing from Gall's press on Niddry Street. It is in its original binding and the label reveals that the book was printed "on the largest type" and cost one shilling and sixpence.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2822
Acquired on20/05/11
AuthorGray, John.
TitleThe essential principles of the wealth of nations.
ImprintLondon: T. Cadell
Date of Publication1797
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is one of the earliest critiques of Adam Smith's seminal economic text 'An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations' (1776). Gray criticises Smith's work on a number of counts: he accuses Smith of misinterpreting the French economists' viewpoint on labour and productivity. Gray maintained that the French had in fact recognised that not all the so-called unproductive classes were barren to the same degree. Gray also argued that Smith was wrong to state that the manufacturing industry alone was responsible for contributing to Britain's real national wealth, saying that agriculture was the only true source of wealth. There is some Scottish content in the form of the appendix, which consists of a general plan of a lease by Henry Home, Lord Kaimes, "with remarks upon it by Dr. Anderson in his agricultural report for the county of Aberdeen". Coincidentally, Kaimes was Smith's literary patron. Very little is known about John Gray to whom this work, published anonymously in 1797, is attributed. He may have lived from 1724-1811 - obituary notices in contemporary periodicals merely state that he died in May 1811 in his 88th year and that he had been one of the Commissioners of the Lottery. John Gray may have been assistant private secretary to the Duke of Northumberland in Ireland in 1763 and 1764 and 'An essay concerning the establishment of a national bank in Ireland' (1774) may have been written by him. The Library of Congress catalogue attributes to Gray 'The right of the British legislature to tax the American colonies' (1775). However, Palgrave's 'Dictionary of economics' attributes 'The essential principles' to Simon Gray (fl.1795-1840).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2578
Reference SourcesThe New Palgrave: a dictionary of economics, vol.II, 1987. Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, vol.46, 1952, p.275-6.
Acquired on04/07/05
AuthorGray, Andrew
TitleThe experienced millwright; or, A treatise on the construction of some of the most useful machines, with the latest improvements. [2nd edition]
ImprintEdinburgh : Printed by D. Willison for Archibald Constable & Co.
Date of Publication1806
LanguageEnglish
NotesAndrew Gray's 'The experienced millwright' presents the most accurate first-hand account of the state of traditional British millwrighting in the second half of the 18th century. The first three chapters consist of a general treatise on mechanics. The following chapters cover practical directions for the construction of machinery, the mathematics necessary for calculating the strength of machines, and detailed plans for the construction of various kinds of water mills. The text is supplemented by a series of forty-four fine engravings showing the layouts of various types of water-, wind- and animal-powered machinery. The designs and descriptions are mostly of mills and machines which Gray either designed or supervised in actual construction in central-eastern Scotland. As stated in the preface: "the machines of which he has been careful to give accurate drawings and concise explanations are to be considered, not as plans founded on the speculative principles of mechanics ... but as cases of practical knowledge, the effects of which have been fairly tried and long approved". Little is known of Gray, described in his book's preface as "a practical mechanic" who 'has been for at least forty years employed in erecting different kinds of machinery". The text indicates that he is very familiar with the work of the leading civil engineer of the age, John Smeaton (1724-92), and especially Smeaton's seminal paper on the natural powers of water and wind to turn mills and other machines. The second edition of Gray's book corrects 14 textual errors found in the original edition of 1804. The front pastedown of this copy also includes a large printed advertisement for the prospective publication of Gray's 'The plough-wright's assistant' which was eventually published in 1808.
ShelfmarkRB.l.266
Acquired on02/04/10
AuthorMiller, Philip (1691-1771)
TitleThe gardeners dictionary: containing the methods of cultivating and improving the kitchen, fruit and flower garden, as also, the physick garden, wilderness, conservatory, and vineyard; according to the practice of the most experienced gardeners of the present age. The third edition, corrected.
ImprintLondon: Printed for the author, and sold by C. Rivington, at the Bible and Crown in St. Paul's Church-yard., M.DCC.XXXVII [1737]
Date of Publication1737
LanguageEnglish
NotesMiller, Philip (1691-1771), horticulturist and writer, was the most distinguished and influential British gardener of the eighteenth century. His father, a Scot, was a market gardener at Deptford, near London, and gave young Philip both a good education and training Miller established a nursery of ornamental trees and shrubs in St George's Fields, Southwark. When the Society of Apothecaries needed a new gardener for their Physic Garden at Chelsea, Patrick Blair, a Scottish doctor and author of Botanik Essays (1720), wrote to Sir Hans Sloane, the garden's benefactor, recommending Philip Miller for the post as one 'to go forward with a curiosity and genious superior to most of his profession'. Miller's writing on the theory of gardening matched his expertise in its practice. He helped to produce a quarto Dictionary of Gardening in 1724, and an illustrated Catalogus Plantarum of trees and shrubs flourishing in the London area in 1730. In that year he drew up a list of medicinal plants grown in the garden, and forty years later he made a much longer one. Miller's outstanding work was The Gardeners Dictionary, produced in eight editions during his lifetime. Besides horticulture, it covered agriculture, arboriculture, and wine making. He also produced an Abridgement in eight editions (1735-71) and a practical, cheaper, Gardeners Kalendar in fifteen editions (1731-69). The work was dedicated to Sir Hans Sloane, one of a number of Miller's contemporaries who encouraged his career. Miller was eventually admitted a member of the Botanical Academy of Florence and the Royal Society of London. In spite of his achievements, his contemporaries apparently looked upon Miller with some reservation. This was due partly to his Scottish birth, and also his habit of employing only Scotsmen. Stephen Switzer is believed to refer to Miller in his Ichnographia Rustica as one of the 'northern lads who have invaded the southern provinces'. The National library's copy of the third edition to the Gardeners Dictionary is bound with the only edition of the Appendix (1735), and accompanied by the Second Volume of the Gardeners Dictionary, which was published in 1739.
ShelfmarkRB.m.619
Reference SourcesESTC T059422
Acquired on22/02/05
TitleThe Glasgow Advertiser v. XV, no. 1151-1255
ImprintGlasgow: J. Mennons
Date of Publication1797
LanguageEnglish
Notes"The Glasgow Advertiser" started life as the "Glasgow Advertiser and Evening Intelligencer" in 1783, becoming the plain "Advertiser" in 1794. The newspaper then became "The Glasgow Herald" in 1805, which in turn was renamed "The Herald" in 1992, making it one of the world's oldest continuously-published English-language newspapers. In 1797 the newspaper was published bi-weekly and was priced at 4d. Each issue consisted of eight pages, two of which were devoted to adverts, the rest was a mixture of domestic, British and European news. The content of these issues are heavily influenced by the ongoing war with France. Early issues of "The Glasgow Advertiser" are very rare, so this volume containing c. 100 issues is a welcome addition to the NLS' holdings of early newspapers.
ShelfmarkRB.m.681
Acquired on21/11/08
TitleThe Glasgow Chronicle, no. 1706-no. 2377
ImprintGlasgow: D. Prentice & Co.
Date of Publication1822-1826
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis volume contains c. 175 issues of "The Glasgow Chronicle" covering the years 1822 to 1826. The newspaper was founded and edited by David Prentice, who bought over the "Glasgow Sentinel" title, with the first issue appearing in 1811. Prentice was a pioneer among provincial newspapermen in introducing editorials. His newspaper was published tri-weekly, priced 7d, and one of the first liberal newspapers in Scotland, calling for the end of the Corn Laws. In this volume there are several articles and letters on the subject of the abolition of slavery. The newspaper continued until 1857.
ShelfmarkAB.10.208.09
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue
Acquired on21/11/08
AuthorPrimmer, Jacob, (1842-1914)
TitleThe great Protestant demonstrations of 1892
Imprint[Edinburgh?]
Date of Publication[1892?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesA publication by the Church of Scotland minister and religious controversialist Jacob Primmer (1842-1914). Although educated in divinity at the University of Edinburgh, Primmer continued to educate himself by independent study and attendance at Christian Fellowship meetings, and, significantly, at the anti-popery classes instituted by John Hope (1807-1893). Primmer believed in total abstinence and sabbatarianism, and was committed to defending the principles, and often the forms and practices, of the original protestant reformers. Primmer believed his greatest achievement was the series of open-air demonstrations, or "historic conventicles", held throughout Scotland between 1888 and 1908. These were well-attended occasions, where Primmer's direct, pugnacious preaching style and bearded, prophet-like appearance were used to powerful effect. The list of demonstations for 1892 give 42 locations in Scotland with details as to the number of pamphlets given away, the number of persons present, hands held up against the resolution etc. The text is filled with anti-Catholic comments. Some of the condemnations include: the toleration of popish lotteries; the observance of popish superstitious days; the profane blessing of bells and idolatrous pulpets, and the popish archbishop and bishop of Edinburgh being invited to dine at Holyrood Palace with the moderator and other ministers of the Protestant church.
ShelfmarkIN PROCESS
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on21/11/14
AuthorAnon.
TitleThe Highland rogue: or, the memorable actions of the celebrated Robert Mac-gregor, commonly called Rob-Roy.
ImprintLondon: J. Billingsley
Date of Publication1723
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the earliest printed account of the life of Rob Roy, Robert MacGregor (c. 1671-1734), Scottish outlaw and folk hero. Rob's fame extended well beyond his Stirlingshire homeland; hence the publication in 1723 of this account of his colourful exploits. His double life as a cattle trader who enriched himself through cattle raiding and running protection rackets; his feud with the Marquess of Montrose who, according to him, pursued him vindictively for debts he could not pay; his involvement with the Jacobite cause which made him a fugitive; all these ingredients made him the stuff of popular legend. In 1716 he was attainted for high treason for his role in the Jacobite Rising of 1715. In 1717 the British government passed the Indemnity Act, which effectively pardoned all those who had taken part in the Rising, but the Clan Gregor and Rob were specifically excluded from the benefits of the Act. Rob remained at large, an outlaw and rebel until 1725, well after this work was published. His situation changed when General George Wade was sent to Scotland by the British government with the authority to offer remaining rebels the chance to receive a pardon after writing letters of submission. Rob in his letter argued that he had never meant to be a rebel, even though the facts spoke otherwise. He spent the rest of his life living in the Balquhidder area, acting occasionally as a spy for General Wade but also still dabbling in cattle raiding and protection rackets. This anonymous work, supposedly based on "authentick Scotch MSS" (which are no longer extant), purports in the preface to tell "not a romantic tale & but a real history: not the adventures of a Robinson Crusoe, a Colonel Jack, or a Moll Flanders." The preface is signed "E.B." which has led to the work being ascribed to the Quaker author Elias Bockett (1695-1735), but this seems unlikely in view of the nature of other works by him on religious and political controversies. Lives of notorious criminals were very popular among the English reading public of the early 18th century, and a number of authors, including Daniel Defoe, were happy to churn out biographies to meet popular demand. Inevitably, given the subject matter of the work and the mention in the preface of Robinson Crusoe, Colonel Jack and Moll Flanders - all works written by Defoe in this period  'Highland rogue' has been widely attributed to Defoe. Sir Walter Scott stated that Defoe ought to have written it, without actually confirming that he was the author. However, it is not attributed to Defoe in Furbank and Owens's 1998 critical bibliography of his works, nor in Moore's checklist of Defoe's writings (2nd ed. 1971). The book and its title may in fact have been inspired by another anonymous work, first published in London back in 1706, 'The scotch rogue: or, the life and actions of Donald Macdonald a high-land Scot', a first-person account of the (mis)deeds of a "highland robber". 'Scotch rogue' was reprinted in two parts in 1722 and 1723, at the same time as 'Highland rogue', thus roguery and Scottish highlanders were firmly linked in the minds of the English reading public of 1723. Whoever the author of 'Highland rogue' was, his account of the life of Rob Roy is, contrary to the claims of the preface, "inconsistent, badly written and fanciful" (Stevenson, "Hunt for Rob Roy", 2004). The basic outline of Rob's life is, however, "essentially accurate" (Stevenson). The work's main importance, apart from being the first biography of Rob, is that it provides a blueprint for his character in later printed works, depicting him as a charming and audacious rogue rather than a bloodthirsty villain, a man capable of towering rages but one who abhors cruelty and violence. His legendary status is matched by his physical appearance; the author notes that he has a superhero-like stature, "he approaches even to a gigantic size", has a foot-long beard, and of course an abundance of red hair covering his body. Moreover, the author's depiction of Rob is consistent with the widely-held belief among the common people of Scotland that Rob Roy was indeed a Robin Hood figure, a humble man who had taken to robbery to right wrongs done to him by an arrogant aristocrat. They regarded him as a man "who did not steal indiscriminately, but took what was his by right from the great while sparing poor men" (Oxford DNB). The affection he inspired can be seen by the fact that he was not betrayed in all his years as an outlaw. A slightly enlarged version of the text of 'Highland rogue', with a re-written ending taking into account Rob's death, was published in 1743 under the title of 'The highland rogue: being a general history of the highlanders, wherein is given an account of their country and manner of living, exemplified in the life of Robert Mac-Gregor, commonly called Rob-Roy'. The 1743 edition makes explicit the connection between Rob and Robin Hood, noting that he had "lived in the manner of the ancient Robin Hood of England." As mentioned earlier, Sir Walter Scott was familiar with 'Highland rogue'; one of the five other UK copies of the 1723 edition recorded in ESTC is held in his library at Abbotsford. Incidentally, he also owned two editions of 'Scotch rogue'. Scott drew on this work when writing his own celebrated version of Rob Roy's life, published in 1817, which gave the Highland outlaw international fame and inspired plays, operas, biographies and an industry in Rob Roy memorabilia. The NLS copy of 'Highland rogue' is extra-illustrated with a woodcut of a highlander with a drawn sword and shield taken from the 1723 edition of 'Scotch rogue', which has been cut out and mounted on a blank leaf as a frontispiece. The work has also been bound together with a copy of John Campbell's 'A full and particular description of the Highlands of Scotland' (London, 1752); this particular copy also contains the frontispiece plate of a highlander sitting in his study which is not present in any of the other NLS copies of the work. The volume was formerly in the private collection of the late Peter Nelson (d. 2004) who worked at Lyon and Turnbull auction house in Edinburgh. The volume also contains the loose bookplate of Robert Hay-Drummond, the 10th Earl of Kinnoull (1751 1804), which may have at one point been stuck on to the front pastedown.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2905(2)
Reference SourcesDavid Stevenson, 'The hunt for Rob Roy', (Edinburgh, 2004); Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on04/07/14
AuthorHume, David and Smollett, Tobias
TitleThe history of England
ImprintLondon: J. Walker & Co.
Date of Publication1822
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a beautiful 16-volume stereotyped edition of Hume's classic "History of England" (vol. 1-10) and its continuation by Tobias Smollett (vol. 11-16). Hume's "History", first published in eight volumes between 1754 and 1761, gives an account of English history from the Roman invasion under Julius Caesar to the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Smollett's continuation, first published 1757-58, starts with the reign of William and Mary and ends with George II's death in 1760. The volumes are bound in green morocco and have bright gilt frames on the covers; the title is lettered in gilt on the spines and there is dense gilt tooing in the other spine compartments.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2714
Acquired on20/06/08
AuthorNahum Tate
TitleThe history of King Lear, a tragedy.
ImprintGlasgow : Printed by William Duncan Junior,
Date of Publication1756
LanguageEnglish
NotesR. and A. Foulis had issued 'Lear' in 1753, using Pope's text, including it in their 'works' of 1766. They were following the literary tradition. William Duncan junior chose instead to publish Nahum Tate's adaptation, which was used for performances of the play. Another edition of Tate's version was issued in Glasgow, anonymously, in 1758. Tate's adaptation is not well regarded today. He axes the fool and gives the play a happy ending with Lear surviving to see Cordelia and Edgar marry. Addison disapproved but Dr. Johnson defended Tate's version and it seems to have been popular: the happy ending and exclusion of the weirder bits presumably ensured 'bums on seats'. Tate's version was the version of 'Lear' that audiences almost always saw, from the Restoration through to the Romantic period. It wasn't performed at all when George III began to suffer from mental health problems, and then, after his death, the literary original began to be used again.
ShelfmarkAB.1.213.17
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on02/11/12
AuthorAnon.
TitleThe history of Netterville, a chance pedestrian.
ImprintLondon: J. Cundee
Date of Publication1802
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare copy of a sentimental novel set in the 1770s which relates the misadventures of the young hero Lewisham Netterville. Netterville's attempts to follow his late father's precepts and lead a virtuous life while at the same time pursuing the object of his affection, the beautiful Clara Walsingham, take him on a tour of Great Britain, from Bath to Bamborough (Bamburgh) Castle, in Northumberland, and so on to Scotland, where he visits the fictitious Clanrick Hall, Edinburgh, the hill of Moncreiff, Perth, and the islands of Mull, Staffa and Iona. The anonymous female author also includes a Scottish ballad of the her own composition, 'Ellen of Irvine; or, the Maid of Kirkonnel[sic], a ballad' (vol. II, pp. 57-65). The tragic tale of Ellen Irvine had appeared in Pennant's 'A tour in Scotland', (London 1774), and both Burns and Walter Scott wrote versions of the story. In the dedication (signed "the authoress"), the author apologises for her "untutored muse", claiming that the poetry was written at a different period. She describes this novel as "a second attempt in the region of fiction" and hopes that, given that it contains nothing immoral or irreligious, it may not fail to amuse a "candid and generous few, who condescend sometimes to stray awhile, amid the bowers of Fancy". The novel met with some praise from contemporary critics: "There is some novelty in the conduct of this novel and the characters and incidents are ingeniously varied. The plot is, perhaps, a little perplexed, but the interest, amid all the episodical interruptions which it meets with, suffers but little abatement" (The Monthly Mirror, XIII, London 1802, p. 251).
ShelfmarkRB.s.2903-2904
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on27/06/14
TitleThe history of the life, bloody reign and death of Queen Mary, eldest daughter to Hen. 8. ...
ImprintLondon: Printed for D. Brown, at the Black Swan without Temple-barr, and T. Benskin in St. Brides Church-yard, Fleetstreet.
Date of Publication1682
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded edition of this title. The two other 1682 editions listed in ESTC have different paginations and signatures. Together, there are only a total of five copies of all the editions located in the UK with this copy being the only one located in Scotland.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2753
Acquired on22/05/09
TitleThe Holy Bible containing the Old and New Testaments.
ImprintGlasgow: David Bryce and Son
Date of Publication1901
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe publisher David Bryce of Glasgow first published a complete miniature Bible in 1896. This edition is a 1901 reprint with the date no longer on the title page as in the 1896 edition, but on the license leaf on the verso of the title page. The date which in its original form reads in print 'eighteen hundred and ninety' has been altered in ink to '29th day of March nineteen hundred and one' before being handed over to the lithographers. The Bible is bound in light brown calf which has been blind-stamped to imitate a 16th or 17th century centre-diamond binding with clasps. A removable magnifying glass is located in the back cover. The Bible is accompanied by a brass book stand in the form of a bust of an 18th century gentleman, perhaps Samuel Johnson. Bryce published a number of variants of his miniature Bible. This copy is often referred to as the 'Bryce Shakespeare Bible' because the work entitled 'Note on the Shakespeare Family Records' by W. S. Brassington, has has been interpolated between the Old and the New Testaments. Bryce was active around the turn of the 19th century and took an active interest in the latest technological advances in photolithography and electroplates to allow larger volumes to be reduced to the smallest imaginable size. The texts of his works are prized for their clarity and legibility.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2625
Reference SourcesBondy p. 110
Acquired on21/08/06
TitleThe Holy Bible containing the Old Testament and the new &
ImprintCambridge: Printed by John Archdeacon &
Date of Publication1769
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis two volume set of the Holy Bible, printed in Cambridge in 1769, has been bound in red morocco, probably in imitation of the Edinburgh binder James Scott, who was active during the 1770s and 1780s. Also bound in with the New Testament are the Psalms of David in metre printed in Edinburgh in 1770 by Alexander Kincaid. The Psalms were also printed as part of a Holy Bible published by Kincaid in the same year.This binding is probably contemporary, and given the presence of the Psalms printed in Edinburgh, may have been bound in Scotland. Several of the ornaments used, particularly the scrolls and flourishes (Sc.7.1773 and Sc.13.1774 in Loudon), resemble those used by James Scott, though other prominent ornaments such as the fox and Cupid were not used by Scott. These bindings were part of the collection of Bibles belonging to Lord Wardington (1924-2005).
ShelfmarkBdg.s.916
Reference SourcesJ.H. Loudon, James and William Scott bookbinders. (London, 1980)
Acquired on31/07/06
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