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 775 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 646 to 660 of 775:

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AuthorRobert Mackenzie Johnston
TitleField memoranda for Tasmanian botanists
ImprintLaunceston [Tasmania]: Walch brothers
Date of Publication1874
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.
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
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.
Acquired on16/02/09
AuthorRoberton, John.
TitleInstitutes of health.
Imprint[London]. Printed for J. J. Stockdale.
Date of Publication1817
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.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes. Wikipedia.
Acquired on08/10/10
AuthorRoberts, David
TitlePicturesque sketches in Spain taken during ye years 1832 & 1833
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).
Acquired on22/05/01
AuthorRobertson, Dionysius
TitleLeichte und ganz neue Art Pferde zu englisiren [sic] [+ 1 other work]
ImprintArnheim: Felix Grundlieb
Date of Publication1770
NotesThis volume contains the second work by the 18th-century Scottish horse doctor, Dionysius Robertson, which the Library has acquired in recent years (the other being the first edition of his ground-breaking work "Pferde-Artzney-Kunst" AB.1.208.004). Nothing is known of his early life, but we do know that in 1735 he entered into the service of lieutenant-general Sir James Campbell of Lawers, Perthshire. In the 1740s he served with the British army on the Continent in the War of the Austrian Succession. Robertson stayed on the continent when the War ended in 1747. He later worked for Friedrich, Margrave of Bayreuth-Brandenburg, in Bayreuth and for Friedrich's son-in-law, Duke Carl Eugen of Wuerttemberg. In 1753, in response to what he regarded as the relative lack of written knowledge relating to breaking in horses and their medical treatment, he published in Stuttgart his work "Pferde-Artzney-Kunst". Robertson then went on to serve Friedrich Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. In 1757 he left the Elector and eventually settled in the Prussian city of Landsberg on the river Warthe (now Gorzow Wielkopolski in western Poland), where he practised his veterinary skills. He travelled widely in northern Europe during this period and became particularly renowned for his skill in castrating stallions and for introducing the practice of cauterisation to Germany. In this work of 1770 he describes how cosmetic surgery could be carried out on horses to improve their appearance. He outlines the process of 'Anglicising', i.e. docking, the tail of a horse by cutting and raising the tail of a horse while the animal is kept in its stall. By using a system of weights and pulleys the docked tail could be pulled upwards until it had a pleasing erect appearance. He Robertson then gives directions on how to carry out an operation to reduce the size of a horse's ears, as well as tips and recipes on curing common ailments which afflicted horses. The tail and ear operations are illustrated with folding engraved plates. Bound in with Robertson's work is another anonymous German work of 1774, "Von der lieflaendischen Pferdezucht und einigen bewaehrten Pferdecuren" on horse-breeding as practised in Liefland (i.e. Livonia - a Baltic state now incorporated into Estonia and Latvia) and on various cures for horse ailments.
Acquired on09/03/09
AuthorRobertson, Dionysius
TitlePferd-Artzney-Kunst, oder, Gruendlicher Unterricht, die aeusserliche und innerliche Gebrechen der Pferde aus dem Grund zu heilen
ImprintStuttgart: Johan Nicolaus Stoll
Date of Publication1753
NotesThis is the first edition of an important 18th-century German-language text on horses written by a Scottish horse doctor. The author, Dionysius Robertson, was a man of seemingly humble origins who became one of the leading men in his field in Europe. Little is known of his life apart from the information he provided in the preface to later editions of this work. From an early age he appears to have worked with horses as a groom, which also gave him the opportunity to learn about the diseases of horses; in later life, his military service also gave him experience of treating bullet wounds in horses. In 1735 he entered into the service of lieutenant-general Sir James Campbell of Lawers, Perthshire. Four years later he left Scotland to travel with his master. In 1742 Campbell was sent to Flanders in charge of the British cavalry, when the British army started a military campaign against the French in the War of the Austrian Succession. Robertson accompanied Campbell and was present at the battle of Dettingen. After his master was killed at the battle of Fontenoy in 1745, Robertson went on to serve the Austrian general Graf von Burghausen. He stayed on the continent when the War ended in 1747 and worked for Friedrich, Margrave of Bayreuth-Brandenburg, in Bayreuth. The following year he became the veterinary surgeon and equerry of Friedrich's son-in-law, Duke Carl Eugen of Wuerttemberg, where he stayed until 1753. In that same year, in response to what he regarded as the relative lack of written knowledge relating to breaking in horses and their medical treatment, he published "Pferde-Artzney-Kunst" in Stuttgart, dedicating the work to Carl Eugen. The book was a success and at least eight German-language editions were published in the 18th century. Robertson then went on to serve Friedrich Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland. In 1757 he left the Elector and eventually settled in the Prussian city of Landsberg on the river Warthe (now Gorzow Wielkopolski in western Poland), where he practised his veterinary skills. He travelled widely in northern Germany during this period and became particularly renowned for his skill in castrating stallions, introducing the practice of cauterisation to Germany, which was the subject of another published work in 1770. This particular copy of the first edition is from the famous Bibliotheca Tiliana, a collection of c. 12,000 books on hunting and related subjects, assembled by the German collector Kurt Lindner, which was dispersed after his death in 1987.
Reference SourcesLouis Georges Neumann Biographies veterinaires (Paris, 1896), available at http://web2.bium.univ-paris5.fr/livanc/?cote=extalfo00016&do=livre
Acquired on26/11/07
AuthorRobertson, Hannah
TitleThe Young Ladies [sic] School of Arts. Containing, a great variety of practical receipts. ...
ImprintEdinburgh: printed for Robert Jameson
Date of Publication1777
NotesHannah Robertson's practical handbook of 'the nice arts for young ladies' advocates that instead of concentrating on needlework, girls engage in a range of handicrafts like shellwork and painting, and provides recipes for everything from invisible ink to gin. She aims the book equally at impoverished young ladies, who may be able to make a living through their handiwork, and at cookmaids who need to know how to clean a spit with sand and water. This book was first printed in Edinburgh in 1766 by Walter Ruddiman, and sold by the author herself at Perth, as well as by other booksellers. Second and third editions followed, also by Ruddiman for Robertson, the second with an additional engraved title page. This rare edition (this copy is the only one recorded in Scotland) proclaims itself as a 'new edition, corrected', but is really a corrected edition of the second edition of 1767, with the engraved title page altered to include the new date. Both title pages now state that this edition was printed for the Edinburgh bookseller Robert Jameson; it may well have been printed by the Ruddiman firm. This copy contains three plates, and an early owner has used the blank space for their own pencil artwork. The front pastedown bears the inscription 'Cathrine Stewart hir Book Doune July 23 1813', testifying like NLS copies of other editions, which also carry inscriptions by female owners, to the use of Robertson's work by contemporary Scottish 'young ladies'.
Reference SourcesESTC; bookseller's catalogue; other NLS copies.
Acquired on11/04/07
AuthorRobertson, William
TitleHistoire de l'amerique
ImprintMaestricht: Jean-Edme Dufour & Philippe Roux
Date of Publication1777
NotesThe historian William Robertson was one of the many writers of the Scottish Enlightenment whose works attracted interest on the continent of Europe. As part of its mission to document the influence of Scots on the rest of the world, the Library purchases versions of Scottish works printed and translated abroad. Among Robertson's popular works is the History of America, which explores the conquest of America by the European powers. This early translation into French is by Marc-Antoine Eidous. This is a particularly attractive copy, bound in contemporary patterned paper boards.
Acquired on04/06/03
AuthorRoe, Thomas
TitleNegotiations of Sir Thomas Roe, in his embassy to the Ottoman Porte, from the year 1621 to 1628 inclusive
ImprintPrinted by Samuel Richardson at the expence of the Society for the Encouragement of Learning
Date of Publication1740
NotesThis is the diplomatic correspondence of Thomas Roe (1581?-1644) during the time that he was ambassador to the Ottoman Porte between the years 1621 and 1628. Roe was one of the most distinguished and successful diplomats of his day as well as being an accomplished scholar and a patron of learning. He was knighted in 1605 and was made an MP for Tamworth in 1614 and later for Cirencester in 1621. His permanent reputation was mainly secured by the success that attended his embassy in 1615 - 1618 to the court at Agra of the Great Mogul, JahangIr, the principal object of the mission being to obtain protection for an English factory at Surat. Upon becoming ambassador to the Porte in 1621 he distinguished himself with further successes. He obtained an extension of the privileges of the English merchants, concluded a treaty with Algiers in 1624, by which he secured the liberation of several hundred English captives, and gained the support, by an English subsidy, of the Transylvanian Prince Bethien Gabor for the European Protestant alliance and the cause of the Palatinate. The volume is bound in plain leather covers with an elaborately decorated spine featuring gilt floral patterns and gilt depictions of small garden animals such as bees, flies, spiders, snails and worms. Although the preface indicates that this is the first volume of the letters and negotiations of Sir Thomas Roe, no more volumes were actually published. An armorial bookplate on the verso of the t.p. indicates that it belonged to the Right Honourable Charles Viscount Bruce of Ampthill who was the son and heir of Thomas Earl of Ailesbury (1655? - 1741).
Reference SourcesESTC T33247
Acquired on08/05/02
AuthorRowlandson, Thomas.
TitleThis print representing in one view the manual & the ten divisions of the Highland broad sword. As practised by the dismounted troops of the Light Horse Volunteers of London & Westminster ... at a review on Wimbledon Common on the 10th of July 1800.
Imprint[London: s.n.]
Date of Publication[1800?]
NotesThis is an unrecorded single sheet item which contains 148 figures drawn and etched by the artist Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827), depicting the various positions in the use of the Highland broadsword (basket-hilted claymore). The work was published on behalf of Henry Angelo (1756-1835), a member of a famous family of Italian fencing masters, who began publishing posters on use of the Highland broadsword in the late 1790s, as well as the works "The Guards and Lessons of the Highland Broadsword" and "The Hungarian and Highland Broad Sword" in 1799. In his memoirs Angelo claimed to have practised using the broadsword at Newgate prison in 1798 with a Scottish friend and expert swordsman James Perry, the owner of the "Morning Chronicle" who was then in prison for libelling the House of Lords. The name 'broadsword' applied to all early military swords of the late 17th early 18th centuries. It was the favoured weapon of the Highland clans and with the formation of Highland Regiments in the 18th century it was introduced into the British army. Angelo adapted and developed sword techniques in earlier written treatises into a series of military drills and exercises, which became the standard training for the British army infantry, cavalry and Royal Navy.
Acquired on04/09/09
AuthorRoyal Caledonian Curling Club
TitleList of skips for the Royal Caledonian Curling Club grand match to be played on Castlesemple Loch, Lochwinnoch + Railway arrangements for the Royal Caledonian Curling Club grand match.
Imprint[Glasgow?: Royal Caledonian Curling Club]
Date of Publication1876
NotesThese two pieces of ephemera are evidence of the popularity of curling in 19th-century Scotland. They relate to a Grand Match played between the North and South sides of the Clyde in the winter of 1876-77, on Castle Semple Loch, Lochwinnoch in Renfrewshire. The Grand Match was organised by The Royal Caledonian Curling Club (RCCC), which was originally founded in 1838 as The Grand Caledonian Curling Club for the purpose "of regulating the ancient Scottish game of Curling by general laws". By 1842 the new national club had obtained royal patronage, becoming the RCCC. The RCCC promoted the game by providing medals for play between member clubs, encouraging the formation of groups of clubs into provinces so that larger bonspiels could be played, and instituting Grand Matches whereby the North of Scotland could play the South. The first Grand Match took place in Penicuik in 1847. Castle Semple Loch was first used for bonspiels in 1850, as relatively small (1.5 miles long) inland loch with a train station in the vicinity it was a handy location. The list of skips for the Match of 1876-77 reveals that the clubs represented were from both the east and west of Scotland, players coming from as far away as Hawick and Dunblane. The date of the match was not included on the list as that could be only decided once there was enough ice and of sufficient thickness to enable it to take place. In addition to the list of skips to be played, there is a separate sheet outlining the railway arrangements to transport the large number of players and spectators to Lochwinnoch station (in 1848, 680 curlers arrived in Linlithgow to play in the Grand Match as well as 5,000 spectators). The most recent Grand Match took place in 1979 on the Lake of Menteith.
Reference SourcesRoyal Caledonian Curling Club website (www.royalcaledoniancurlingclub.org)
Acquired on12/12/14
AuthorRoyal Company of Archers
Title[An engraved membership certificate on vellum, admitting Andrew Duncan to the Company of Archers on 13 July 1771]
Imprint[Edinburgh?: s.n.]
Date of Publication[1771?]
NotesThis certificate is printed on vellum. It is completed in manuscript with Andrew Duncan's details and signed by James Hardie, S.G.R.S. The remains of a papered wax seal are attached. The seal shows an archer with bow and arrow beneath a tree; on the verso is cupid with a bow and arrow. The Royal Company of Archers was formed in 1676. In 1822 it was appointed as the Sovereign's 'Body Guard in Scotland'. Membership is by election. Members need to be Scots or at least have strong Scottish connections. Andrew Duncan, the elder (1744-1828), became Professor of Theory of Medicine at Edinburgh University as well as President of the Royal College of Physicians in 1790. Having witnessed the poor treatment of the mentally ill, he proposed the erection of a public Lunatic Asylum, which was built in 1807 and eventually grew into the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.
Acquired on15/08/07
AuthorRushbrook, Alfred Henry
TitleCollection of photographs of the south side of Edinburgh
Date of Publication1929
NotesThese 138 silver gelatin prints form an invaluable record of the St. Leonards area of Edinburgh, largely swept away by slum clearance programmes. The photographer, Alfred Rushbrook, was commissioned by the City of Edinburgh Improvement Trust to record this area prior to its redevelopment. The photographs are part of the same photographic tradition as Thomas Annan and Archibald Burns, who both worked on similar civic projects in Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively during the late nineteenth century. Most of the images record the buildings and street life of the city and are fascinating for recording contemporary shop front design and advertising hoardings. Rushbrook worked as a photographer in Edinburgh from about 1900 to the late 1930s and when these pictures were taken he was working out of 92-96 Nicolson Street.
Acquired on02/07/02
AuthorRussell, Robert Frankland
TitleDeer stalking in the Highlands.
Imprint[London]: J. Dickinson
Date of Publication1839
NotesRobert Frankland (1784-1849) was a talented amateur artist who later assumed by royal licence the surname of Russell, after Frankland, on inheriting Chequers Court in Buckinghamshire from his kinsman Sir Robert Greenhill-Russell. This volume was presumably privately printed, and was sold for "the benefit of the York and Aylesbury Infirmary". It consists of a letterpress title page and 10 lithographed plates depicting scenes of deer stalking, from pursuit to successfull kill, after drawings/sketches by Frankland Russell. This particular copy is a presentation copy from him to the Viscountess Strathallan (Lady Amelia Sophia Drummond, wife of the 6th Viscount of Strathallan), perhaps as a token of gratitude for former visits to the Strathallan estate in Stobhall, Perthshire. The book stayed in the Drummond family and was sold in 2012 as part of the library of the late 17th Earl of Perth. Only other copy is recorded, in the British Library, which has a MS title page dated '1836'.
Acquired on28/09/12
AuthorSartorious von Waltershausen, Georg Friedrich Christoph
TitleHandbok for Statshallningen efter Adam Smiths Grundsattser
Date of Publication1800
NotesThe first Swedish translation of Georg Sartorius's abridgement of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations for use in Universities. NLS has the German edition which was published in Berlin in 1796. Sartorius (1766-1828) was one of the first German academics to realise the significance of Smith's system, and this abridgement was clearly for use 'in academic lectures'. Prior to this publication, Smith's work had only been available in Swedish in excerpts. The text was translated from German into Swedish by Johan Holmbergsson (1764-1840). It was this translation that led to a complete assessment of Smith's work. The copy is uncut in original plain wrappers. See also Christian Garve's (1742-1798) German translation of the Wealth of Nations: we bought the second edition recently.
Acquired on10/03/00
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