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 697 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 661 to 675 of 697:
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|Author||[Le Wright, John]|
|Title||Two Proposals Becoming England at this Juncture to Undertake. One, for securing a Collony [sic] in the West-Indies... And the other, for advancing Merchandize|
|Date of Publication||1706|
|Notes||This proposal for a new English colony near Darien has some curious features. Nationalistic and somewhat naive, the writer explains that his project will be much more successful than the ruinous Spanish colonies or the feeble Scottish enterprise. On the Scots efforts he writes 'the Scots Company made nothing of it, true; but what could a single ship do in so great an affair? And we now are addressing to the English, between who and the Scots, we allow no comparison in point of trade.' Wright (not in DNB) sees his proposed colony as a part of the struggle for international political supremacy. He concludes with a promise to reveal a new method for preserving ships against worms.
Details: ESTC T167866, 4o, pp. , ii, 1-8; sig. ?2, A4, in folding case. Imprint partly cropped. Author's name appears at foot of introductory epistle to the Merchant Adventurers of England, p. ii. Like all the other copies, the final page has the catchword 'By', although the page also has the word 'Finis' and the work appears to be self-contained. There does not appear to be a connection with the other work Wright published in 1706, Captain le Wright's Warrant (ESTC T34125). Possibly, the text as we have it was only intended to be the first proposal, and 'Finis' indicates the end of the proposal rather than the end of the work as a whole. Was the printing interrupted for some reason before Wright could get down to a detailed description of his plans for 'advancing Merchandize'?|
|Title||History of the kingdoms of Scotland & Ireland.|
|Date of Publication||1685|
|Notes||Nathaniel Crouch who wrote under the pseudonym of R.B. Richard or Robert Burton, was a prolific author of books for both adults and children. He is credited with writing, editing or rewriting over 40 books during his long life (c.1632-c.1725). These included emblem books, fables, riddle books, travel narratives and histories. The simplicity of his prose style was praised by Samuel Johnson and he is regarded as one of the first authors to attempt to provide children with entertaining as opposed to purely moralistic reading matter.
Crouch had already written about the recent history of the three kingdoms as well as a more exhaustive history of England. In his preface he stated he aimed at 'plainness and brevity' in describing the history of Scotland and Ireland, with particular emphasis on the late medieval period. The book is illustrated with crude woodcuts, some of which are repeated in the text.|
|Author||[Lothian, Marchioness of]|
|Title||Catalogue of household furniture, &c, which belonged to the late Marchioness of Lothian ... which will be sold by Roup, at Lothian House ... Monday the 3d March 1788 ... Mrs Bowie, Auctioneer.|
|Date of Publication|||
|Notes||An extremely rare printed sales catalogue of the household belongings of Jean, Marchioness of Lothian, sold by auction after her death in December 1787.
Lothian House, at the foot of the Canongate, was the family's Edinburgh town house and was leased after her death to the philosopher Dugald Stewart, eventually becoming the headquarters for Youngers brewery. The site is now to be occupied by the Scottish Parliament building and the sales catalogue gives a direct source of evidence to the Parliament's eighteenth century precursor.|
|Title||[Volume containing 25 items, mainly chapbooks, relating to William Wallace and Robert the Bruce]|
|Date of Publication||c.1800-1865|
|Notes||This volume, which formerly belonged to the poet Sydney Goodsir Smith, includes 21 chapbooks telling the tales of the exploits of Sir William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce in prose, verse and song. These items date from 1801 to 1861 and include imprints from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Montrose, Dumfries, Kelso, Newcastle, London and Belfast. The publication and distribution of chapbooks in Scotland reached its height between 1775 and 1825. Subsequently the market for this kind of material was absorbed by commercial publishers, examples of whose output is contained in this volume.
With their simple wood-engravings and straightforward narratives, they would have been avidly read by children, at whom they were primarily aimed. It is interesting to note the similarities, and in some instances the exact copying of the text of the stories from one publisher to another.|
|Title||Third Part of the Bible ... Containing Five Excellent Books, Edinburgh: by Robert Young, 1637|
|Imprint||Edinburgh: by Robert Young, 1637|
|Date of Publication||1637|
|Notes||Bound with: The New Testament, London: Robert Barker & Assigns of John Bill, 1638; and: The whole booke of Psalmes, London: I. L[egat]. F. the Company of Stationers, 1640.
The first work in this volume is not found in STC, apparently an Edinburgh edition of STC 2334.5. Details: 24o, [288 pp.], sig. A-M12, slightly stained. Sig. H4 missigned G2. The two following works are STC 2954.3 and STC 2698. The main interest of this volume is, however, the elaborate embroidered binding. The design on front and rear boards is a silver wirework crown above a lily executed in green, pink and gold silks, enclosed within an oval surrounded by foliage. The spine is heavily decorated with formal designs of foliage within six panels. The binding has been restored by a V&A conservator and remounted; the new pink silk ties are dyed to match the originals. The page edges are gilt; the endpapers are Old Dutch marbled. See Cyril Davenport, English Embroidered Bookbindings, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & co., 1899, p. 2. for the claim that embroidered binding is a particularly English art. Davenport provides several useful photographs of seventeenth-century embroidered Bibles and Psalms in chapter IV, 'Books bound in Satin', pp. -110. This acquisition complements the library's existing holdings of embroidered Bibles printed in Scotland, such as the 1626 Aberdeen Psalms at PDP.10/18, the 1638 Edinburgh Bible at Cwn.483 and the fine 1646 Edinburgh Bible at Bdg.m.73.|
|Title||Enquiry into the nature of the Corn-Laws; With a View to the New Corn-Bill Proposed for Scotland|
|Imprint||Edinburgh, Mrs Mundell|
|Date of Publication||1777|
|Notes||8vo pp. 60  author's apology,  blank with an inscription 'To Barond de Podmaniesky, From the Author' on the verso of the flyleaf facing the title.
Yet another key text composed by a Scot that explained for the first time one of the main components of economic theory. According to Schumpeter, Anderson 'invented the 'Ricardian' theory of rent' and 'had to an unusual degree what so many economists lack, Vision'. Further praise came when in 1845, J. R. McCulloch wrote 'Though published nearly at the same time as the 'Wealth of Nations', Dr Smith, to whom they might have been of essential service, did not profit by them in revising any subsequent edition of his great work; and so completely were they forgotten, that when, in 1815, Mr Malthus and Sir Edward West published their tracts exhibiting the nature and progress of rent, they were universally believed to have, for the first time, discovered the laws by which it is governed [however] the true theory of rent had been quite as well and as satisfactorily explained by Dr Anderson in 1777 as it was by them in 1815.'
Anderson was born in 1739 in Hermiston At age 15 he began working on a farm in Aberdeenshire where he invented the Scotch plough. In 1780 he took an LL.D degree at Aberdeen. In 1783 he had privately printed observations on fisheries in the West of Scotland; between 1790-1793 he edited the journal 'The Bee' which contained many informative papers on economic development. He lived in London from 1797 and died 1808.|
|Title||Genuine copy of a letter from a merchant in Stockholm to his correspondent in London. Containing an impartial account of Doctor Alexander Blackwell, his plot, trial, character, and behaviour, both under examination, and at the place of execution|
|Date of Publication||1747|
|Notes||This rare and probably spurious pamphlet, describes the involvement of 'Doctor' Blackwell in the machinations of Swedish politics in the 1740s. It also contains a scaffold speech, which seems also to be a fabrication.
Sweden was divided between a dominant French and a smaller English faction. The pamphlet, written ostensibly by a supporter of Blackwell's, describes the sequence of events leading to his execution. Blackwell 'a petty doctor of physick' was accused of plotting to poison the heir in an effort to alter the succession to the Swedish crown. If the alleged plot had succeeded the Duke of Cumberland would have ascended the throne. The unfortunate doctor 'endured for several days the torture of the pill with great resolution and constancy of mind, but upon the rack he confessed some intercourse with foreign courts'. He managed to put his head on the wrong side of the executioner's block, remarking that 'it was the first experiment he had made in that way'.
Blackwell was born in Aberdeen, and studied medicine at the University of Leyden, though it is doubtful if he ever completed his degree. He spent some time in the Hague and Sweden before working as a printer in Aberdeen and London. On becoming bankrupt in 1730 he spent two years in a debtors prison. Blackwell also worked for the Duke of Chandos as director of his agricultural improvements at Canons, Middlesex and published a pamphlet on 'A new method of improving cold, wet and barren lands' in 1741. He collaborated with his wife Elizabeth in producing 'A curious herbal' in two volumes in 1737. Clearly, a man of many parts, Blackwell was employed as a physician by the Swedish king and involved himself in further agricultural projects in Sweden prior to his demise.|
|Author||James VI & I|
|Title||Proclamation ... March.24 ... 1602 |
|Imprint||London: b. Robert Barker|
|Date of Publication||1602/3|
|Notes||This is a fine uncut copy of the second edition of the proclamation in which the English privy council announced that James VI of Scotland succeeded Queen Elizabeth. James's hereditary right to the English throne is described and explained, and the text stresses that in addition to his legitimacy, James comes with 'all the rarest gifts of mind and bodie'. Details: STC 8298, black letter, 2 sheets, horizontal chain lines. Modern portfolio includes a misleading note identifying this work as STC 8297. Setting 2a, with first line of second sheet having reading 'Kingdomes, all'.|
|Author||James VI & I|
|Title||Meditation vpon the Lords Prayer|
|Imprint||London: b. Bonham Norton & Iohn Bill|
|Date of Publication||1619|
|Notes||Attractive copy of the first edition, STC 14384. King James's straightforward exposition of the Lord's Prayer is dedicated to the Duke of Buckingham, as one who has no time to spend on complex and lengthy prayer. Details: octavo, pp. , 146, sig. A-K8, L1. With notably pedantic explanatory annotations in contemporary hand with pointing fingers and underlining. Title page slightly stained; lacks sig. L2 (colophon). For more information, see on the companion volume RB.s.2081(2), Two Meditations of the Kings Maiestie (A Paterne for a Kings inauguration), which is in the same binding and has notes in the same hand; both were apparently in the Royal Library.|
|Author||James VI & I|
|Title||Two Meditations of the Kings Maiestie|
|Imprint||London: b. Robert Barker & Iohn Bill|
|Date of Publication||1620|
|Notes||Despite the rare title page, this work consists of one meditation only, A Paterne for a Kings inauguration. Addressed to Prince Charles as a handbook for kingship, the Paterne is a kind of second Basilicon Doron (written for Prince Henry). James describes the burdens of kingship, comparing them to the sufferings of Christ in his Passion, and using the gospel of St. Matthew as illustration. It seems very likely that King Charles's own conception of martyrdom was influenced by this work. First published 1620, STC 14381.5. The library has a copy of another 1620 issue, STC 14382, shelfmark 2.325(20). Details: STC 14412, octavo, pp. , 84 (p. 84 misnumbered 88), , sig. A8 (-A1), B-G8, H3. Final leaf is colophon. Initials J.R. on title page, probably in James's own hand. Numerous contemporary annotations throughout. This book is bound, as is its companion volume RB.s.2081(1), in calf with a gilt panel design enclosing a central medallion with the armorial design of Robert Day, a previous owner, on front and rear board. Both volumes contain bookplates of Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843), 6th son of George III, William Wrixon Leycester and Robert Day. The folding case which contains both books includes a plaintive manuscript letter to King Charles I from James's wayward doctor George Eglisham, who notoriously accused the Duke of Buckingham of having murdered King James and the Duke of Hamilton.|
|Title||Reminiscences of pleasure trips from Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and other places in Lancashire, Yorkshire, etc. to Liverpool, Fleetwood, Blackpool, the Isle of Man, Ireland, and Scotland, in the summer of 1847|
|Date of Publication||1847|
|Notes||A rare and fascinating account of two of the earliest of Thomas Cook's organised 'pleasure trips' to Scotland. It is prefaced by Cook's 'short defence of pleasure trips' or 'rational pastimes' as the author described them, which he had first organized from Leicester in 1841. Facilitated by the expanding network of railway lines and inspired by the example of Queen Victoria, Cook launched his tours to Scotland with a somewhat accident-prone excursion in the summer of 1846. Cook also comments somewhat critically on the efforts of other tour organisers and some of their excursionists including a party of Newcastle mechanics who were found 'rolling about the streets [of Edinburgh] in a state of intemperance, co-habiting with the scum of the city'. This produced 'a very unfavourable impression of Englishmen' .
This work describes two rather more successful trips in the following year. The first trip lasted a week and brought the excursionists from Fleetwood by steamer to Ardrossan and then by train to Glasgow. The tourists visited Edinburgh, Stirling, Glasgow, Loch Lomond and Paisley. Making use of the recently-constructed high-level rail link from Newcastle to Berwick (and experiencing long delays), the second tour was more extensive, taking in the Highlands, Staffa and Iona as well as the afore-mentioned attractions. The tourists based themselves in Oban 'a pleasant and thriving village of 100 houses', where some of their number were rebuked by the locals for not only for laughing, but also for asking the names of the mountains on the 'Scottish sabbath'. Overall, the visitors came away with a positive impression of Scotland - the climax of the tour being 'the celebrated cave of Fingal'.|
|Author||Wurtisen, Christian (editor)|
|Title||Germaniae historicorum illustrium|
|Imprint||Frankfurt: apud heredes Andreae Wecheli|
|Date of Publication||1585|
|Notes||This intricate and elaborate early 17th century Scottish binding (c.1620-1630) has an interesting history. It is part of a well-known set of early blind-stamped Scottish bindings produced for Sir Thomas Henryson, (or Henrison) Lord Chesters, who was knighted and appointed as an Ordinary Lord of Session, in 1622. The armorial stamp, with the initials 'MTH' on the covers is an early state - the later stamps had an 'S' added, presumably to indicate 'Sir'.
About a century and a half (circa 1778) after the book was first bound, the doyen of Scottish binders, James Scott was commissioned by William John Kerr, 5th Marquess of Lothian, to relabel and embellish with gilt tooling the spines of about 400 volumes in the family library at Newbattle Abbey. It is probable because of the volume of books involved that Scott worked in situ at Newbattle. The book remained in the Lothian family until 1951 and subsequently was sold by Christies and Maggs (twice) and for a few years it was in the collection of J.R. Abbey.|
|Author||Maidment, J[ames], P[itcairn], R[obert], and H[ill], James, editors and publishers|
|Title||Nugae Derelictae, quas colligerunt
|Date of Publication||[1815?-] 1823|
|Notes||A very rare collection of current jeaux d'esprit and reprints of rare pieces brought together by a triumvirate of lawyers led by James Maidment. There may well have been only three copies made, one for each of the collaborators, Maidment, Pitcairn and Hill. Maidement's bibliographer Thomas G Stevenson certainly knew nothing of the collection. This collection should not to be confused with a similar collection brought together by Maidment and Pitcairn in 1822 and comprising 18 separate tracts (Ry.IV.c.11). There are 20 of a possible 21 separartely printed pieces including The Election, a new song; The Fornicator's Court by Robert Burns, The Thimble by Alan Ramsay and Two ancient ballads published in Aberdeen. The missing piece is deduced to be 'Original letter thereanent' comprising two leaves and relating to the foregoing piece (Item XII) a mock broadsheet on Professor Dunderhead.
Given that it is highly likely that the other two copies have long since been broken up for their constituent parts, this may, arguably, be the sole survivor of the three. Hence the want of item XIII is easier to accept.|
|Author||Lüder, August Ferdinand|
|Title||Über die Industrie und Kultur der Portugiesen|
|Imprint||Berlin: bei Duncker und Humblot|
|Date of Publication||1808|
|Notes||This is the first and only edition of this study of the economic, political and social situation in Portugal by Lüder, who was among the earliest popularisers of Adam Smith in Germany. It is not one of Lüder's best known texts. Only two copies have been traced, neither of which are in Britain.
In the introduction he states that he regards the book as an application of Smith's principles to the political history of Portugal. Lüder provides a summary of Portuguese history before focussing on the economic circumstances which shaped the political situation there in the early nineteenth century. The work is amply footnoted and the author supports his arguments with many statistics.
August Ferdinand Lüder (1760-1819) was Professor of History in Brunswick subsequently became Professor of Philosophy at the University of Göttingen and later honorary Professor at Jena. In his most important work Über Nationalindustrie und Staatswirtschaft (1800-1804), Lüder shows how he was influenced by Smith's ideas. He later published widely in economics and statistics, where he exposed the superficiality and narrowness of many statistical treatises.|
|Date of Publication||1502|
|Notes||This volume, an account of the lives of the church fathers by St. Jerome, was acquired primarily because of its intriguing Scottish provenance, which spans either side of the religious tumult in 16th century Scotland. The works of St. Jerome were not unknown in Scotland at the time - Durkan and Ross record nine titles, although not this particular one. The ownership of such a text by two Presbyterian ministers in the late 16th and early 17th century is indicative of a widening of interest in patristic scholarship among ministers following the religious polarisation of previous decades.
There are two pre-Reformation inscriptions one of John Guthrie, dated 1529, - on the final leaf - and David Fothringham on the title page. The surname Guthrie is very prevalent in Forfarshire and a number of John Guthries from Angus attended St. Andrews during the late 1520s and 1530s. Fothringham was possibly a contemporary of Guthrie's; the inscription on the title page reads: 'Ex dono magis. David Fotheringham Rector[-] de Kirk[den] quod nemo aufert sub pena excommunicationis est'. In the same hand, also on the title page 'Ave Maria' has been written, from which can be inferred that the writer was probably a Catholic. On the final leaf is inscribed, 'Braktolo' possibly in Fothringham's and there is a Bractullo in the parish of Kirkden, Forfarshire.
The other people whose names are recorded on the title page, both Presbyterian ministers, are a little easier to trace and identify. The clearest and latest inscription reads: 'Carloi Lumisden ex dono Mri Jacobi Balfour 160[-] 12.IX (29 September). James Balfour, (1540-1613) was a minister in a number of parishes Guthrie, Dunnichen, Kirkden of old Idvie in Forfarshire between 1563 and 1589 before moving to Edinburgh, where he was minister of St. Giles until his death in 1613. There he had a chequered career escaping to Fife in 1596 after refusing to offer thanksgiving for the failure of the Gowrie conspiracy, taking up his duties again the following year, being summoned to London in 1606 and confined to Cockburnspath and Alford in 1607. Charles Lumsden who received the book from Balfour was minister of Duddingston from 1588 to 1630.
There is a long gap of over two hundred years in picking up the threads of the ownership of this volume. The bookplate of David Maitland Titterton dates from the late 19th century and then it became part of the famous library of William Foyle.