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 727 of the most important items we have acquired since 2000. We update it regularly as new material comes in. The description gives information about why it was chosen and what makes it particularly interesting. You can order the list by date of acquisition, author or title.
Please let us know what you think of this resource, if you have information to add about an acquisition, or if you have rare Scottish books that you would like to donate or sell. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Acquisitions 646 to 660 of 727:
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|Imprint||London: T. Heptinstall|
|Date of Publication||1797|
|Notes||This is a rare illustrated edition of James Thomson's popular poem with an engraved portrait by J. Caldwall and four engraved plates done by R. Laurie after drawings by Scottish painter and caricaturist Isaac Cruikshank. As attested to by a note from Laurie, this copy is extra-illustrated with Cruikshank's own, original wash drawings for each of the seasons; Laurie's note, "The Four Seasons original drawing by I. Cruikshank," appears on the verso of the Winter plate (signed, "R.H. Laurie, Esq."). Thomson (1700-48), Scottish poet and dramatist, was one of the most influential poets of his day. He is perhaps best remembered for the present work, originally published in separate sections: Winter in 1726, Summer in 1727, Spring in 1728, and Autumn in 1730. The provenance of this copy is particularly interesting: the book contains the morocco and gilt bookplate of Jerome Kern (1885-1945), the American composer and legendary book collector who collected rare books for a brief period in the 1920s before selling most of them in 1929. The book also contains the morocco and gilt bookplate of the collector Francis Kettaneh. As befitting a volume of this nature, the book is splendidly bound in a early 20th-century green morocco binding by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. |
|Reference Sources||Cruikshank, I, 797; Thieme-Becker, VIII, 176;
Bookseller's own notes|
|Title||The secret: a novel.|
|Imprint||Brentford: printed by and for P. Norbury|
|Date of Publication||1805|
|Notes||Isabella Kelly, née Fordyce (1759-1857), poet and novelist, was born at Cairnburgh Castle, Aberdeen. In 1794 she published her first book, a "Collection of poems and fables". Having suffered, in her own words, 'a variety of domestic calamities', which may have included possible desertion by her husband, Kelly began writing Gothic fiction in order to support her two surviving children. She published her first novel, "Madeline", also in 1794, and wrote nine more between 1795 and 1811. "The secret" is a Gothic romance, set in an ancient abbey in the imaginary village of Llanleeven in North Wales. The opening lines vividly set the scene: "The stormy blasts of December were blowing loud and fearful through the wild cloisters of a very ancient abbey... The melancholy mistress of this nearly desolated mansion, had withdrawn herself to a suite of chambers the most remote and cheerless in the whole edifice". This four-volume-set contains the ownership inscriptions and bookplates of Sir John Thorold of Syston Park, Lincolnshire. |
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary National Biography|
|Title||The speeches of the six condemn'd Lords at their tryals in Westminster-Hall.|
|Date of Publication||1716|
|Notes||After the failure of the Jacobite rising in 1715/16, the British government was quick to dispense justice to those who took a prominent role in the rising, most notably to members of the aristocracy who might pose a future risk to the recently established Hanoverian monarchy. This rare broadside gives the text of speeches by six Jacobite lords in the House of Lords on 18-19 January 1716 after they had been impeached for treason. Four of these six lords, who all pleaded guilty, were Scots: William Maxwell, 5th Earl of Nithsdale, Robert Dalzell, 5th Earl of Carnwath, William Gordon, 6th Viscount Kenmure, and William Nairne, 2nd Lord Nairne. The other two were English, Baron Widdrington, and the Earl of Derwentwater, leader of the uprising in the north of England. All six of them were sentenced to death but four of them received reprieves, and only Kenmure and Derwentwater, who both had military commands in the rising, were actually beheaded on Tower Hill on 24 February 1716. The broadside also gives Derwentwater's last speech before his execution, in which he regretted having pleaded guilty and reasserted his loyalty to the Jacobite cause. Kenmure made no formal speech before his death. He is recorded as expressing regret that he had not had time to order a black suit to die in and for having accepted George I's authority by pleading guilty. In a letter apparently written to a fellow peer the night before his execution, he explained that a formal scaffold speech on his allegiances might damage Carnwath's chances of obtaining a pardon and he stressed that he was a protestant, acting purely from loyal duty to James, the exiled son of King James II/VII. The broadside has three crude woodcut illustrations, which bear little relation to the events described in the text below. Only one other, imperfect, copy of this broadside is recorded by ESTC, in the Bodleian library. This particularly copy was part of the collection of the 17th earl of Perth, sold at auction in 2012.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography|
|Title||The spiritual warfare|
|Imprint||Glasgow: Printed by Robert Sanders|
|Date of Publication||1688|
|Notes||A lost Scottish book has turned up and can now be added to the national collections. Andrew Gray (1633-1656) was a Church of Scotland minister whose sermons were frequently printed well into the 18th century. The first edition was printed in Edinburgh in 1670; the earliest Glasgow edition known previously was also printed by Robert Sanders, in 1715. "Mortification", seen here primarily as the Christian's struggle against lust, is the main theme of Gray's sermons.
Despite a rather poor 19th-century binding, this is a good and complete copy of what may be the only surviving example of this edition.
This work is not recorded in Donald Wing's 'Short-title catalogue 1641-1700', nor in the English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC). Donald Wing listed it in his 'Gallery of Ghosts' (1967) as G1620A. It was recorded in Aldis, 'List of books printed in Scotland before 1700' as Aldis 2762, but without any known holdings. Until now, the only evidence for this work's existence was in John McUre's 'History of Glasgow' (Glasgow, 1830), p. 369, which includes this edition in a list of books printed in Glasgow up to 1740. Hopefully there are other 'ghosts' in Aldis which will, like this book, appear in the light of day again.
|Reference Sources||Aldis 2762;
Wing, 'Gallery of Ghosts', G1620A|
|Title||The state of Kelso Dispensary opened for the admission of patients, on the 5th of December, 1777.
|Imprint||Newcastle: Printed at the Union Press, by J. Palmer|
|Date of Publication||1788|
|Notes||This is a very rare and unrecorded work on the Kelso Dispensary, the first hospital in the town and only the second in Scotland (after the Edinburgh Royal Public Dispensary). The Kelso establishment was founded by the Earl of Haddington in 1777. Dispensaries were served to a large degree by free student labour, and costs were kept down too through a high (working-class) patient turnover. This pamphlet provides us with a lot of information on health care in a provincial town in the late 18th century. We see, from the list of subscribers, that the great and the good gave money to support the dispensary; there is a list of regulations, treasurer's report, a most informative table detailing the diseases of the patients treated (consumption and fever were the most common causes of mortality) and a table of the parishes 'from which patients had been admitted'.
Inserted into the pamphlet is a printed circular letter dated 31 October 1788, with a manuscript note from Thomas Scott reminding an eminent subscriber (addressed as your Lordship) that his subscription of 14 guineas was overdue.
|Reference Sources||http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk/news/03101401.html; |
|Author||Gilchrist, John Borthwick|
|Title||The strangers East Indian guide to the Hindoostanee; or grand popular language of India, (improperly called Moors).|
|Imprint||Calcutta: Printed at the Hindoostanee Press, by Tho. Hubbard|
|Date of Publication||1808|
|Notes||Edinburgh-born John Borthwick Gilchrist (1759-1841) arrived in India as an assistant surgeon in 1782. Appointed to a position with the East India Company, he became interested in Hindustani as a language understood in different regions of the country, and began the philological investigations which would occupy the rest of his life. He compiled a grammar and dictionary of Hindustani, and was appointed first professor of the language at Fort William College in 1801, where he worked with Indian scribes and scholars to publish Hindustani material in print. Gilchrist left India in 1804; this book, a grammatical guide and vocabulary of Hindustani for those in service to the East India Company, was first published in London in 1802. While 'second editions' of the Strangers [sic] East Indian Guide to the Hindoostanee have been recorded with London imprints, the only other reference to this Calcutta edition is in a Maggs Bros. catalogue from 1964 (Catalogue 891, Dictionaries and Grammars). It contains an appendix by Alexander Hamilton Kelso, a young officer in the East India Company who, to judge by his name, may have been a compatriot of Gilchrist. |
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's catalogue; DNB|
|Author||Rob Roy [MacGregor, John]|
|Title||The tail of the Beagle, ship! ahoy! |
|Imprint||[Castle Wemyss: John Burns],|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||Early 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'.|
|Reference Sources||Edwin Hodder "John MacGregor (Rob Roy)" (London, 1894)|
|Title||The Tam O Shanter|
|Imprint||'Somewhere in France [Belgium, Holland, Germany]|
|Date of Publication||1944-45|
|Notes||This is a group of 25 issues of a World War II trench newspaper written for Scottish soldiers. It was printed in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany and thus reflects the movement of Scottish troops in Western Europe towards the end of the war. They were each printed on one large 32 x 20 cm. sheet of paper. They were not type-set, but were crudely prepared on a typewriter and many of the copies also incorporate hand-drawn maps and other illustrations. The issues appear to have been folded down and carried by a soldier or soldiers for some length of time as there is dirt, tears, nicks, creases on many of them and all have horizontal and vertical fold lines.
The Tam o'Shanter was the Divisional Newsletter of the 15th Scottish Division, a Territorial Division which had been disbanded at the end of WW1 and was revived in 1939.
Tam o'Shanter was begun sometime in 1943. Newsletters were very much part of Divisional life and most followed the format of the famous "Wipers Times" of WW1. The contents are varied: good first-hand reports of military engagements including much on Arnhem; encapsulated reports from Scottish newspapers; anecdotes from soldiers and also humorous pieces.
News was gleaned from local newspapers from where the battalions of the division recruited and was fed down from 21st Army Group of which the division was a part. There was a coordinating Press Office in St Andrew's House.
The group consists of the following numbers:
'No.10. Somewhere in France. Divisional News Edition. Monday 24 July 44.'
'No.33. Somewhere in Belgium. Scottish News Edition. Friday 15 September 44.'
'No.40. Somewhere in France. General News Edition. Thursday 31 August 44.'
'No.56. Somewhere in Belgium. General News Edition. Monday 18 September 44.'
'No.65. Somewhere in Holland. General News Edition. Wednesday 27 September 44.'
'No.66. Somewhere in Holland. General News Edition. Thursday 28 September 44.'
'No.71. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 3 October 44.'
'No.72. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Wednesday 4 October 44.'
'No.73. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Thursday 5 October 44.'
'No.86. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Wednesday 18 October 44.'
'No.91. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Monday 23 October 44.'
'No.92. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 24 October 44.'
'No.99. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 31 October 44.'
'No.106. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 7 November 44.'
'No.110. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Saturday 11 November 44.'
'No.116. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Friday 17 November 44.'
'No.117. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Saturday 18 November 44.'
'No.118. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Sunday 19 November 44.'
'No.120. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 21 November 44.'
'No.121. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Wednesday 22 November 44.'
'No.129. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Thursday 30 November 44.'
'No.130. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Friday 1 December 44.'
'No.148. Somewhere in Holland. Edn Branch Publication. Tuesday 19 December 44.'
'No.212. Somewhere in Germany. Edn Branch Publication. wednesday 21 February 45.'
'No.213. Somewhere in Germany. Edn Branch Publication. Thursday 22 February 45.'
|Title||The ten little travellers.|
|Imprint||Glasgow: John S. Marr & Sons|
|Date of Publication||c.1880|
|Notes||This is a colourfully illustrated children's book published by the Glasgow firm John S. Marr & Sons in the 1880s. This company published a large variety of material including biographies, poems and song books, from the 1860s to the 1890s. The book consists of ten pages (counting inside covers), each with a full page colour lithograph by Maclure & Macdonald of Glasgow, and 8 lines of text for the traditional counting rhyme beginning 'Ten funny little travellers, took ship across to France...'. By the end of the book the ten have been reduced to none.
The book is very much of its time in its portrayal of one of the travellers - a stereotypical black traveller, who invariably does all the work and ends up the last one left.
|Title||The theory of moral sentiments. 2nd edition.|
|Imprint||London : A. Millar|
|Date of Publication||1761|
|Notes||This is one of the 750 copies printed of the second edition of the "The theory of moral sentiments". The second edition is notable for the inclusion of replies to criticisms of the first edition by David Hume. Commonly regarded as the work that established Smith's international reputation, he himself always considered it his finest work. First published in 1759, it was an immediate success and eventually ran to six editions, the last of which Smith extensively revised just before he died in 1790. It is often said that we cannot properly understand the "Wealth of Nations" without a knowledge of "The Theory of Moral Sentiments". The other two copies of the second edition in NLS's collections are held in deposited collections, so the purchase of this copy ensures that NLS has its own copies of all the English-language editions of the work printed in the 18th century.|
|Title||The tragedy of Macbeth. By William Shakespear [sic]. As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Drury-Lane, by His Majesty's servants. To which are added all the original songs. |
|Imprint||Glasgow: William Duncan, Junior|
|Date of Publication||1755|
|Notes||18th-century London editions of individual Shakespeare plays are relatively common, but Scottish editions are rare, usually surviving in one or two known copies. Of the eight editions of Shakespeare's Scottish play printed in Scotland in the 18th century, this Glasgow edition is the third, the previous two having been printed in Edinburgh in 1731 and 1753. It was listed in William Jaggard's Shakespeare bibliography of 1911 as the first edition printed in Glasgow, but without pagination or location. Jaggard may have copied a reference from a bibliography or auction catalogue without seeing a copy. It is not recorded in recent Shakespeare bibliographies or ESTC. The printer, William Duncan junior, was active between 1750 and 1768, but printed very little for most of that time. In 1755-1756 however, he appears to have decided to issue an assortment of plays including two by Shakespeare: King Lear and Macbeth. This particular copy is bound with a [1770?] London edition of "Timon of Athens" and leaves from volume 8 of a 1757 London edition of Shakespeare's works.|
|Title||The Triumphs of Love|
|Imprint||Glasgow : Printed by William Duncan,|
|Date of Publication||1753|
|Notes||A work adapted by Crouch, writing under his Robert Burton pseudonym, from an unidentified work by a P. Camus. The book is a collection of short stories "Containing the surprizing adventures, and accidents and misfortunes, that many persons have encountred [sic] in the eager pursuit of their amorous inclinations. In fifteen pleasant relations, or histories. For the recreation of gentlemen, ladies and others, who are pleased with such innocent diversions and amusements". The front pastedown bears the die-sinker bookplate of Frederic Perkins, Chipstead Place, Kent. This edition is unrecorded in ESTC.|
|Title||The true interest of Great Britain considered.|
|Imprint||[London?: J. Anderson]|
|Date of Publication||1783|
|Notes||In 1783 the agriculturist and political economist James Anderson (1739-1808), having already written a number of important pamphlets and articles on a wide range of subjects, turned his attention in this treatise to the regeneration of the economy in northern Scotland and the Hebrides. The printed "advertisement" at the beginning indicates that the work was written in 1782 and that plans to publish it in London the following year were initially shelved due to the British government being preoccupied with the drafting of the peace treaty to end the American War of Independence. Anderson therefore had printed a small number of copies for private circulation amongst his friends in the hope that they might provide him with some constructive comments. No place of printing is given; it is likely to have been either London, where Anderson made frequent visits and where the intended readership among the political classes for his work was based, or Edinburgh, where Anderson had moved to in 1783 after farming in Aberdeenshire for several years. In the work Anderson describes the limited possibilities for economic growth in the Highlands and urges the government to protect and subsidise the local fishing industry. He hoped that the creation of "large and populous marts" would lead to an increase in towns and villages on the Scottish coastline, which would in turn stimulate economic growth. Anderson's protectionist stance led to a temporary falling-out with his friend Jeremy Bentham, who had attempted to stop Anderson publishing the treatise. This particular copy has been bought for its copy specific features. It is printed on special thick paper and includes an extra printed dedication leaf to Henry Dundas, first Viscount Melville (1742-1811), then lord advocate and unofficial minister for Scotland, who was endeavouring to restore the fortunes of the Highlands after the damage done to the economy and social order after the Jacobite uprising of 1745/46. The leaf is not present in at least two of the two of the four recorded copies in ESTC(the British Library copy and copy held in a collection on deposit in NLS). Moreover, the work has probably been bound by one of the most celebrated Scottish bookbinders of the eighteenth century, James Scott of Edinburgh. It may have been specially commissioned by Anderson for presentation to Dundas and may have been one of Scott's last bindings, as the latest binding that has been assigned to him dates from 1784. The binding is not recorded in J.H. Loudon's work "James Scott and William Scott, Bookbinders", however the tools employed are visible on various bindings illustrated in Loudon's book: the Greek key roll on the boards, the floral roll on the boards and the urn cornerpieces.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; J. H. Loudon "James Scott and William Scott Bookbinders" (London, 1980)|
|Author||Isham, Charles, Sir|
|Title||The tyrant of the Cuchullin hills|
|Imprint||[Lamport, Northamptonshire?: s.n.]|
|Date of Publication||[1878?]|
|Notes||This is lithographed book, privately printed, probably at his family estate of Lamport, Northanptonshire, by the rural improver and gardener Sir Charles Isham (1819-1903). Inspired by a trip to the Isle of Skyle, the text is a poem about an eagle terrorising the sheep population of Skye. The verse is, as noted elsewhere on this database, of a decidely poor quality; Isham enjoyed producing entertaining doggerel verse to accompany his display of garden gnomes and this poem falls into the category of doggerel. Copies of a pamphlet version, dating from the 1860s?, exist in various states with different ornamental borders and illustrations (e.g. RB.m.515, purchased a few years ago). This is a 'deluxe' edition, bound in morocco, with the text on thick card with gilt edges. Unlike the pamphlet version this copy has no preliminary leaves of explanatory text and consists only of the text of the poem. The text is presented within elaborate ornamental borders and includes illustrations based on water colours by Isham; it is also illustrated with albumen prints of Skye landscapes and sheep. Isham appears to have been an enthusiastic producer of booklets on his estate, using lithography to create brightly coloured books.|
|Reference Sources||Oxford Dictionary National Biography|
|Title||The vision of Don Roderick; a poem. |
|Imprint||Edinburgh: Ballantyne and Co., |
|Date of Publication||1811. |
|Notes||This is a copy of the first edition of Scott's poem, bound in an ornate, contemporary calf binding. The book has been acquired for the portrait in pencil pasted onto a front free endpaper. It is highly likely that this drawing is a portrait (or later copy of a portrait) of Walter Scott made in 1803, which would make it the earliest surviving image of Scott as a young man. The portrait shows the 32-year-old Scott's head in profile to the left and is initialled "E.B." Scott visited Oxford in April 1803 at a time when his literary career was just taking off; the first two volumes of 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border' had been published the previous year to great acclaim and the third volume was about to be published. Scott accordingly found himself lionized by the academic community in Oxford. He stayed with his friend Richard Heber (1774-1833), a former student at Oxford and famous book-collector. During his stay Scott had his portrait sketched by Edward Berens (1778-1859), a fellow of Oriel College who later became Archdeacon of Berkshire. The existence of the portrait is confirmed by Scott's letters with his friend and regular correspondent, Mary Anne Hughes, in the years 1824 and 1825. Mrs Hughes, who lived in Uffington, Berkshire and who was a neighbour of Berens, wrote on 3 October 1824 to ask Scott if he had ever received from Berens a drawing of Scott's friend and former assistant John Leyden (1775-1811). She reminded Scott that he had been introduced to Berens at Oxford and noted that the latter had "a great talent for drawing and made an outline of you as well as of Dr. Leyden: I think he says he sent you a copy of both, but I am sure he sent your friend". Scott replied on October 6 to say that Heber had told him that he had the drawing of Leyden for him, but somehow he had forgotten to send it or had mislaid it, so Scott would therefore be delighted to get a copy of it from Berens. "I remember well", Scott added, "sitting to him and Heber reading Milton all the while - since that time my block has been traced by many a brush of eminence" (Scott 'Letters', VIII, p. 392). In a letter of 12 April 1825 he told Mrs. Hughes how grateful he was for the "sketches", particularly for that of Leyden. He had evidently been sent by Berens a copy of both drawings (cf. 'Letters', IX, p. 70). As regards the provenance of the book and portrait there is only an inscription on the title of the book: Harriet Thayer, September 27, 1812. Harriet (d. 1860) was the youngest daughter of Edward Lovenden of Buscot Park, Berkshire, and a friend of Mary Ann Hughes; she later married Baron Paul-Adolphe Thiébault, a French army officer.
|Reference Sources||H. Grierson (ed.) 'The Letters of Sir Walter Scott', vols 8-9, London, 1935;
F. Russell, 'Portraits of Sir Walter Scott', London, 1987 (no. 20, p.29)