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.

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Important Acquisitions 676 to 690 of 727:

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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?]
LanguageEnglish
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.
ShelfmarkRB.el.220
Acquired on04/09/09
AuthorFroude, James Anthony
TitleThomas Carlyle: a history of the first forty years of his life 1795-1835. In two volumes.
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1882
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese four volumes comprise the 'authorised' biography of Thomas Carlyle, (1795-1881) the pre-eminent Victorian essayist, historian and man of letters. Known in later life as 'the sage of Chelsea', he retained his links with his Scottish birthplace, insisting on being buried in his native Ecclefechan rather than in the more prestigious Westminster Abbey. James Anthony Froude, primarily a historian of the Tudor period, was Carlyle's literary executor. He prepared for publication Carlyle's Reminiscences (1881) and Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle (1883). Froude modestly maintained that his biography was 'no 'Life', but only the materials for a Life'. The work was not simply an exercise in hagiography. He refused to overlook Carlyle's well-known defects of character and his somewhat strained relationship with his wife. Part of the private library of the London bookseller William Foyle, these books have been enhanced with the addition of over 400 illustrations, including etchings, engravings and photographs of people and places associated with Carlyle's long and productive life. There are also five autograph letters, including three from Carlyle, one from Cardinal Newman and an autograph of Edward Irving (1792-1834), a charismatic preacher and a close friend of the Carlyles. The Library also holds copies of these volumes with annotations and corrections by Alexander Carlyle, the author's nephew.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2062
Acquired on13/07/00
AuthorFroude, James Anthony
TitleThomas Carlyle: a history of his life in London 1834-1881. In two volumes.
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1885-1884
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese four volumes comprise the 'authorised' biography of Thomas Carlyle, (1795-1881) the pre-eminent Victorian essayist, historian and man of letters. Known in later life as 'the sage of Chelsea', he retained his links with his Scottish birthplace, insisting on being buried in his native Ecclefechan rather than in the more prestigious Westminster Abbey. James Anthony Froude, primarily a historian of the Tudor period, was Carlyle's literary executor. He prepared for publication Carlyle's Reminiscences (1881) and Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle (1883). Froude modestly maintained that his biography was 'no 'Life', but only the materials for a Life'. The work was not simply an exercise in hagiography. He refused to overlook Carlyle's well-known defects of character and his somewhat strained relationship with his wife. Part of the private library of the London bookseller William Foyle, these books have been enhanced with the addition of over 400 illustrations, including etchings, engravings and photographs of people and places associated with Carlyle's long and productive life. There are also five autograph letters, including three from Carlyle, one from Cardinal Newman and an autograph of Edward Irving (1792-1834), a charismatic preacher and a close friend of the Carlyles. The Library also holds copies of these volumes with annotations and corrections by Alexander Carlyle, the author's nephew.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2063
Acquired on13/07/00
AuthorAnonymous
TitleThomas Edwards, England's, and North-Britain's, Happiness
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1709
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis rare pamphlet makes a unique contribution to the debates over the Union of 1707. The writer argues that the great happiness brought by the union can be easily demonstrated by comparing conditions in modern England to, for instance, the reign of Henry III (!). The writer claims that the settlement has clarified the workings of the constitution, particularly as regards the militia, and supports Thomas Orme's Former Prints for a Standing Army (1707). The text goes on to claim that the Church of England is now freer from popery than at any time since the reign of Henry VIII, and warns solemnly against tolerating the Dissenters. In order to make this point further, the editor goes on to reprint the epistle from Thomas Edwards' Gangraena (1646) in which toleration is denounced. The 'imprimatur' from James Cranford on p. 32, which precedes the extract from Edwards' work, is simply an imprimatur from an edition of Edwards. At p. 33 the writer continues to discourse on religion and the state of the church, quoting from other sources to suggest that the Kirk of Scotland should conform to the Church of England. The writer clearly feels that Scotland has failed to make a proper contribution to the Union, remarking on the last page that only divine intervention prevented the Pretender from successfully taking Scotland in 1708, when 'North-Britain was so out of capacity to resist an invading Foe'. As a political argument, this work is amusingly illogical and disordered, but its references to other pamphlets create an interesting picture of literary debates in Britain in the early eighteenth century. This copy is striking for its condition, being uncut, unopened and stitched as issued. ESTC records just eight other copies (ESTC T32653). Collation: 4o, A-D4, a-b4, E-G4
ShelfmarkRB.s.2074
Acquired on17/01/01
AuthorHamilton, David
TitleThorn tree clique, a new analysis of Mathieson's poem The Goff
ImprintKilmacolm: Partick PressStandard edition 60/28Deluxe edition 36/50
Date of Publication2001
LanguageEnglish
NotesDavid Hamilton operates one of the few private presses surviving in Scotland. He uses a Vandercook proofing press and does all of the research, writing, and most of the presswork himself. All in limited editions and printed to a high standard, the books are about or relating to golf. Since 1985 the press has published nine books. The present volume is a fine example of the careful attention to detail that has become a mark of the press. The work contains a well written introduction to Mathieson's The Goff 1743, the first complete book about golf, followed by a reprinting of the text with supporting footnotes. Mathieson's text is also illustrated with a suite of elegant wood engravings by Kathleen Lindsley of the Isle of Skye. The book is printed on Zerkall paper and bound in quarter leather. A high quality facsimile of the original 1743 edition of The Goff is secured in a pocket attached to the lower board. The standard edition was supplied by David Hamilton for Copyright; the deluxe edition, with a specially commissioned binding showing inlay themes from the book (the Links, the Tree, the long-nosed-club, and a feather ball) was purchased.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.883
Acquired on25/09/02
AuthorOdyniec, Antoni Edward
TitleTlomaczenia Antoniego Edwarda Odynda. Tom Czwarty [-szosty i ostatni]
ImprintVilnius: Jozef Zwadski
Date of Publication1842
LanguagePolish
NotesIn this book are bound volumes 4-6 of the Tlumaczenia (translations) of Antoni Edward Odyniec (1804-1885). The first three volumes had been published in 1838 in Leipzig; these final three were published in Vilnius in 1842-3. Odyniec was a journalist, poet and translator, who had previously translated Byron's Corsair (1st ed., 1829) while in exile in Paris. The three volumes here show Byron and Scott alongside other great names of European literature, being translated for a Polish audience on whom they would have a great influence. Volume four contains Scott's The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) and volume five Byron's Mazeppa, along with Thomas Moore's Paradise and the Peri and Scott's ballads The Eve of St. John and Cadyow Castle. These last, presumably taken from an edition of Scott's Ballads and Lyrical Pieces (1806), come like The Lay complete with comments by the translator incorporating Scott's own notes. Other translations include poems by Gottfried August Burger, Southey and Puskin, and Schiller's play Jungfrau von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans). COPAC records no copies of these translations outside London.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2737
Reference SourcesBookseller's catalogue
Acquired on27/01/09
TitleTo all householders [4 Edinburgh broadsides]
ImprintEdinburgh
Date of Publication[1808-1816]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese four broadsides published at the behest of the city fathers of Edinburgh between 1808 and 1816 encapsulate the very essence of life in the northern metropolis at the time. Two deal with the Sabbath -- 'the improper practice of keeping open Ale or Tippling Houses, and also Shops, at all hours of Sunday' and 'measures...for keeping the Public Streets clean during the Lord's day'. In the latter case, the inhabitants were encouraged to get their servants to bring out their ashes on Saturday afternoon at the sound of a bell. The other two broadsides deal with the perennial bugbear of public disorder. A reward of 100 guineas was offered to those providing information on the 'knocking down...maltreating and robbing' of 'gentlemen and police officers. The main suspects were deemed to be 'apprentices and youth' and the offences took place on 31st December 1811. Plus ša change... In 1812 the Lord Provost and city magistrates were also berated concerning 'riots and outrages unexampled in any other City in the Kingdom' which occurred on the anniversary of King George III's birthday and another broadside strictly prohibited the citizenry from 'breaking down, cutting, carrying away ... any trees, branches of trees, planting, flowers, shrubbery; or of throwing squibs, serpents, fireballs ...'. Shopkeepers were cautioned against selling fireworks to children and masters urged to caution their apprentices and journeymen from 'intermixing with any tumultuous or disorderly assemblage of persons on the streets'. These items enhance the National Library's holdings of early 19th century ephemera and complements material being used in the RLS project 'Popular Print in Scotland'.
ShelfmarkAPS.4.202.40
Acquired on07/10/02
AuthorMacDiarmid, Hugh [C.M. Grieve]
TitleTo circumjack Cencrastus or The curly snake.
ImprintEdinburgh & London: William Blackwood,
Date of Publication1930
LanguageScots
NotesThe Library has a large collection of examples of fine Scottish bookbinding, from the 15th century down to the present day, and we continue to add to this collection wherever possible. We have acquired this particular copy of the first edition of Hugh MacDiarmid's epic poem because of its binding by renowned Scottish bookbinder Arthur W. Currie (b. 1922), who was overseer of bindings at the Edinburgh-based publishing firm of Oliver & Boyd before becoming a lecturer at Napier College (now Edinburgh Napier University). Currie's work is now regarded as being on a par with other major 20th-century British bookbinders such as Edgar Mansfield and Elizabeth Greenhill. He specialised in the use of coloured inks as well as gold leaf to produce his designs; this binding, dating from the 1950s?, is a blue goatskin with a serpent-like design of interlinked coils in black, blue, grey and tan morocco and with a gilt sunburst pattern. Currie's design of coils reflects the content of MacDiarmid's poem, in which the windings of a snake around the roots of the world are equalled by the tortuous windings of the poetic work. The struggle of the poet to complete a work, described in the poem, was informed by MacDiarmid's own difficulties in the 1920s in trying to produce creative work while trying to earn a living as a small town journalist in Montrose.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.942
Acquired on14/05/10
Author[Erskine, Andrew and Ross, Walter.]
TitleTo the revolution club
Imprint[Edinburgh]
Date of Publicationc. 1788
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis unrecorded pamphlet is a tory satire against the Scottish whigs enthusiasm for the Glorious Revolution. The authors (see below) leave the reader in no doubt at the their unease at proposals that a monument be erected in honour of William III. They sarcastically suggest that it should be located in the Valley of Glencoe! The signature at the end is 'Gibbie Burnet' a very unveiled reference to the historian Gilbert Burnet, one of the key supporters of the Glorious Revolution. The text was re-printed (APS.1.81.45; ESTC T108704) in 1792, at a time when it was feared that the unrest in France would spread across the Channel, as an appendix to a proclamation (ESTC T148691) by King George III warning against attempts at the 'subversion of all regular government'. The preface to this proclamation mentions that this pamphlet was first printed in 1788 with the aim of 'diverting the Northern part of this kingdom from joining in the popular enthusiasm' for the Revolution of 1688. The motives behind the re-printing of this pamphlet are difficult to unravel: the author of the preface seems to favour both the revolutions of 1688 and 1789 and implies that any attempts to suppress them were futile. The pamphlet comes from the collection of Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747-1813), Lord Woodhouselee, Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh, sold at Bonhams, Edinburgh in August 2002. Fixed to the final blank page is a sheet of manuscript possibly with annotations partly in the hand of Tytler, listing 'The King's Advocates since the institution of the Court of Session', from 1537 to 1725. The inscription on the title page, presumably in Tytler's hand, reads 'written by Walter Ross and the honble Andrew Erskine'. The latter, who committed suicide in 1793 was one the closest friends of the young James Boswell and they collaborated on 'Critical strictures on the new tragedy of Elvira' and 'Letters between the honourable Andrew Erskine and James Boswell', both published in 1763. Walter Ross was probably the Writer to the Signet of the same name (1738-1789) who wrote a number of legal works in the 1780s.
ShelfmarkRB.m.509
Acquired on01/10/02
AuthorGrant, John
TitleTo the Right Hon. Charles Townsend
ImprintGlasgow?
Date of Publication1794
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese single-sheet items record the unusual paranoia afflicting a man who describes himself as a journeyman weaver. John Grant believed that he was being chased and tormented by none other than the philosopher David Hume, and wrote to these various public figures to seek their assistance. Both these letters speak of enclosing other papers, which are probably no longer extant. The last item is dated 'Glasgow, Nov. 12. 1794.' and is addressed to the aristocrat and Whig politician Charles Townsend in London. Once again Grant appeals for assistance against Hume, who has made him 'liable to a confirmed Head-ack with Vitriol'. Bitterly, Grant remonstrates that 'it is amazing that my complaints were over-looked in Scotland, where Christianity and Philosophy are protested.' Grant explains that he has printed the letter to Townsend with the intention of sending copies to the magistrates in Edinburgh and Glasgow. It would be pleasant to think that these items are a joke, but it seems more likely that they do indeed represent the work of an articulate but thoroughly disturbed man. Neither printed item is recorded in ESTC.
ShelfmarkAPS.2.201.025
Acquired on20/02/01
AuthorWelsh, Irvine
Title[Trainspotting] The glossary.
ImprintReed Books
Date of Publication1996
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis booklet has been signed by Irvine Welsh and gives a basic insight to the vernacular used in the novel. Examples range from the purely Edinburgh expressions "barry" (great) or "swedge" (fight), include the fairly self-explanatory (to most Scots ears at least) "maist", although the description of "Oor Wullie" (popular Scottish cartoon character (Our William))would boggle the minds of anyone familiar with the works of D.C. Thomson. The novel itself had been published several years previously to great acclaim, however the glossary was published as a tie-in with the recently released film.
ShelfmarkAPS.2.206.050
Acquired on17/11/00
AuthorWilliam Smellie (1697-1763)
TitleTraite de la theorie et pratique des accouchemens, et observations sur les accouchemens ...
ImprintParis : Delaguette
Date of Publication1754-1765
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is a three-volume French translation of William Smellie's classic 'Treatise of the Theory and Practice of Midwifery' published between 1754 and 1768. The man-midwife, William Smellie, was born in the parish of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire on 5 February 1697 and died in 1763. His medical training was prolonged and peripatetic: he received some medical instruction from John Gordon, a Glasgow surgeon and also spent time serving as a naval surgeon (March 1720-November 1721) on the Sandwich before setting up as an independent apothecary in Lanark in 1722. He remained in practice in Lanark for the next fifteen years and it was during this time that Smellie gained practical experience in midwifery. On 5 May 1733 he became a member of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. However, it was not until 18 February 1745, at the age of 48, that he was awarded his MD degree by Glasgow University. Stimulated by his desire for further education, Smellie moved to London in 1739 and set himself up as a teacher with his lectures specializing in all aspects of pregnancy and labour. Over the next ten years he taught over 900 male students and an unknown number of female ones. Based upon records of his cases, Smellie published in 1752 'A Treatise of the Theory and Practice of Midwifery'. This was supplemented two years later by a volume of illustrations entitled 'A Set of Anatomical Tables, with Explanations'. Smellie's treatise describes the physiology of pregnancy and the mechanisms of both normal and abnormal labour with far more exactitude than any previous writer. In addition to French, the work was later translated into German and Dutch and became a classic in obstetric literature thus making Smellie the best-known name in 18th century midwifery.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2670
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on05/07/07
AuthorJames Clerk Maxwell
TitleTraite d'Electricite et de Magnetisme
ImprintParis: Gauthier-Villars
Date of Publication1883
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is the first French translation of James Clerk Maxwell's Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, based on the second edition which was published in 1881, after Maxwell's death. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography records that 'the impact of the Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism was at first muted, but within a few years of his death his field theory shaped the work of Maxwellian physicists ... Maxwell's field theory and electromagnetic theory of light came to be accepted and regarded as one of the most fundamental of all physical theories.' In his preface, French engineer G. Seligmann-Lui explains that this translation includes extra material designed to help French professors and students understand concepts and theories Maxwell uses which are not yet taught in France, but also that it will be useful to practising engineers. He praises Maxwell for writing a book 'with a good number of chapters, easy to read, where [Maxwell's ideas] can be found set out with perfect clarity'.
ShelfmarkAB.4.209.01
Reference SourcesOxford DNB.
Acquired on19/02/09
AuthorDrummond de Melfort, Louis-Hector
TitleTraite sur la Cavalerie
ImprintParis: Guillaume Desprez
Date of Publication1776
LanguageFrench
NotesFirst edition of a rare and extemely handsome book which is in exceptionally fine condition. There are two volumes: one of text with 11 plates, the other an atlas volume with 32 folio-size folding plates. The author, Louis-Hector Drummond de Melfort (1721-1788) was the grandson of John Drummond, 1st Earl of Melfort, James VII/II's right hand man in Scotland, who escaped to France in 1688. The Drummonds became one of the leading Jacobite families at the French court. Drummond spent most of his life involved with cavalry and for his last eight years was Lieutenant-General of Louis XVI's army. He did not take part in the 1745 Jacobite uprising, but served the French king on several military campaigns on the Continent and later commanded the Royal Ecossais regiment in the French army. This book became a important textbook in Europe on cavalry tactics as Drummond de Melfort had some radical opinions on the use of cavalry in battles. His work lays out, with illustrations, the simplified procedures for cavalrymen that he advocated as early as 1748, which had often met with incomprehension and disbelief. The dedication expresses Drummond's hope that this work will assist in making the French cavalry the best in the world and his wish to help the country that his family fled to on their forced emigration from Scotland nearly a century before. The two volumes are bound in contemporary red morocco. The original owner was Armand-Thomas Hue de Miromesnil (1723-1796), Keeper of the Seals from 1774-1787, after having held several other official positions. On his death, at his request, the contents of his library were sold and the profits distributed amongst the poor. According to a bookseller's note the book was also owned by the Vicomtesse de Fontenay and it also contains the bookplate of Richard Penard y Fernandez. The text volume also includes a bound-in letter by the Duchesse de Melfort, dated July 1773.
ShelfmarkRB.el.8
Reference SourcesBrunet II: 842; Cohen-de Ricci pp.326-327
Acquired on23/06/08
AuthorAllen, Peter
TitleTravels in the Cevennes
ImprintWhittington Press
Date of Publication1998
LanguageEnglish
NotesNote: This is no.27 of a limited edition of 50 special copies of this beautifully produced and tastefully illustrated private press book. Printed using 14-point Cochin on Arches mould-made paper it differs from the 'standard' edition of 150 copies with the inclusion of two additional pochoir-coloured illustrations. This hand coloured illustration process was first used in 15th century and revived in France in the late 19th century. A monochrome outline of the design is printed by letterpress or lithography. As many as 20 to 30 celluloid stencils are cut out for the various parts of the design and special brushes with gouache and watercolours are used for the colouring. The book is an account by author and illustrator Peter Allen of his life as a farmhand on a goat farm in the Cevennes and his subsequent travels in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson. There are frequent echoes throughout the text of Stevenson's Travels with a donkey in the Cevennes, but unlike the Scots scribe Allen travelled by car and not by donkey.
ShelfmarkFB.m.614
Acquired on04/07/01
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