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 745 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 706 to 720 of 745:

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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
AuthorStevenson, Robert Louis,
TitleTreasure Island.
ImprintBoston : Roberts
Date of Publication1884
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an attractive copy of the first American edition of Stevenson's classic adventure story. Significantly, it is also the first illustrated edition, published in February 1884 with a print run of 1,000 copies, only two months after the first British edition was published by Cassell & Co. in London. The first illustrated British edition was not published until August 1885. In addition to the famous frontispiece map based on Stevenson's own design, the American edition had four plates drawn by F.T. Merrill. Stevenson, however, himself didn't think much of them, describing them in 1887 as 'disgusting' when contemplating another American edition to be published by Charles Scribner. Consequently, for the 21 plates of the British illustrated edition only 2 of Merrill's illustrations were used. 'Treasure Island' was first published in the weekly magazine 'Young Folks' during 1881 and 1882. Unlike one of his later and less famous novels, 'The Black Arrow' it did not contribute to any rise in the paper's circulation. Stevenson was initially opposed to the illustration of the work, though the success of numerous illustrated editions particularly those published in the early decades of the 20th century, proved how wrong he was.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2631
Reference SourcesSwearingen, Roger G. The prose writings of Robert Louis Stevenson. London, 1980.
Acquired on25/09/06
AuthorMacpherson, Alistair
TitleTreubhantas na'n Gaidheal Albanach. The valour of the Scottish Gael
Imprint[Scotland?]
Date of Publicationc.1918
LanguageGaelic
NotesThis seems to be the only known copy of this book of Gaelic poems. Macpherson, a former soldier himself, wrote these poems 'in praise of the bravery of the Scottish Gael from time immemorial', in the language which he calls 'the most expressive in recording the actions of the bold, the valorous, and the true of any living language'. His preface criticizes those 'Highlanders into whose hands this volume may fall, and whose mother tongue is the Gaelic', who 'know less of the Gaelic than they do of the English language'. The volume is dedicated to Lady Macdonald of the Isles: Macpherson's only other known work is Welcome to Alexander Somerled Angus, the son of the Heir of MacDonald, Prince of the Western Isles, published in Gaelic with an English translation in 1918 (shelfmark NG.1526.a.11).
ShelfmarkHB1.208.8.74
Acquired on02/06/06
TitleTryal of Sr. Godfrey McCulloch, Vindicated, Edinburgh: 1697 (+10 other pamphlets bound in one volume)
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis volume of pamphlets was purchased primarily for the work whose title is given above. This title was entered in Aldis (3677) but no holdings information was provided: this work has not been traced in Wing, ESTC or in any library catalogue. It is therefore most pleasing that a copy of this elusive seventeenth-century Scottish work has finally been located. This work concerns the trial and execution of McCulloch, a hereditary baronet of Nova Scotia, for the murder of William Gordon in 1690. McCulloch had tried to claim the estate of the family of Cardiness as his own after a long feud. For an excellent account of the whole sordid affair, including the rumour that McCulloch was rescued by fairies, see http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Heritage/FSCNS/Scots_NS/Clans/MacCulloch/Clansfolk_MacCulloch/EC_Sir_Godfrey.html This purchase complements the library's existing holding of The last speech of Sir Godfrey M'Culloch at L.C.Fol.76(23). There are some indications of provenance: on the title-page are practice notes apparently by one Thomas Heriot. On the final blank verso are other practice notes, including a passage which begins 'George Grant Cordiner'. The whole volume comes from the sale of the Birmingham Law Library, and the binding has the society's stamp and bookplate. The other pamphlets in the volume are also of much interest: as several of them relate to the radical writer and political leader John Lilburne, the Mary Robson Lilburn fund has been used to contribute £1200 towards this purchase. List as follows: (1) The Triall, of Lieut. Collonell John Lilburne, [imprint cropped, 1649], pp. 168 (not NLS) (2) The Triall of Mr. John Lilburn, London: Printed, 1653, pp. 44 (NLS) (3) The Exceptions of John Lilburne, London: f. Richard Moon, 1653, pp. 8 (NLS) (4) The Tryal of Lieutenant Colonel John Lilburn, London: f. & s.b. H[enry]. Hills, [colop: 1710], pp. 132 (NLS) (5) Vox Plebis, London: 1646, pp. 68 (not NLS) (6) The Cry of the Innocent for Justice, Printed, 1662, pp. 45 (not NLS) (7) A True and Exact Relation, London, Printed, 1662, pp. 22 (not NLS) (8) A Hellish Murder committed by a French Midwife, London: f. R. Sare, pub. b. Randal Taylor, 1688, pp. 39 (not NLS) (9) The Peoples Ancient and Just Liberties Asserted, in the Tryal of William Penn, and William Mead, Printed, 1670, pp. 62 (NLS) (10) The Tryal of Sr. Godfrey McCulloch, Vindicated, Edinburgh: Printed, 1697, pp. 22 (not NLS) (11) A True Relation of the Unjust Accusation of Certain French Gentlemen, London: b. J. Darby f. Richard Chiswel, 1671, pp. 44 (NLS) Conservation: this volume will need to be rebound and boxed. Some items discoloured as a consequence of being bound with others much larger or smaller.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2098(10)
Acquired on25/10/01
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleTwo Meditations of the Kings Maiestie
ImprintLondon: b. Robert Barker & Iohn Bill
Date of Publication1620
LanguageEnglish
NotesDespite 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. [30], 84 (p. 84 misnumbered 88), [2], 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2081(2)
Acquired on04/10/00
Author[Le Wright, John]
TitleTwo Proposals Becoming England at this Juncture to Undertake. One, for securing a Collony [sic] in the West-Indies... And the other, for advancing Merchandize
Imprint[London]: Printed
Date of Publication1706
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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. [2], 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'?
ShelfmarkRB.s.2078
Acquired on19/10/00
AuthorIsham, Charles Edmund, Sir
TitleTyrant of the Cuchullin Hills
Date of Publicationc. 1860?
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis poem about a ferocious golden eagle terrorising the Cuillin mountains of Skye appears here in what seems to be a brightly-coloured, even garish lithograph. The borders of the text are attractive, and the elaborate initial letters are executed with some success. The Library has a photocopy of what is probably an earlier version of the work, which has different ornamentation (XP.461). As an artist's book, this is a work of some quality. Its poetic merits are another matter. As a sample, here is the eagle's dream of lamb-killing: 'He dream't he first tore out their eyes, Enjoying much the feeble cries. And when he'd finished all the flock, He watched from some convenient rock, Exhibiting intense delight When heartrent mothers came in sight. He then returned and tortured more The lambs which still remained in store At dawn of day we will suppose The tyrant from his bed arose Quite vexed at finding but a dream All that reality would seem.' It is one thing to project human emotions onto a bird, but to describe it getting out of bed after a pleasant dream opens up new possibilities for (unintentionally) comic verse.
ShelfmarkRB.m.515
Acquired on04/03/02
AuthorCassina, Ubaldo
TitleUbaldi Cassina in Parmensi Lyceo Moralis Philosophiae Regii Profressoris De Morali Disciplina Humanae Societatis.
ImprintParmae : Ex Typographia Regia
Date of Publication1778
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is a rare first edition of Ubaldo Cassina's comprehensive survey of ethics. Cassina (1736-1824) was a professor or moral philosophy at Parma. This work is intended primarily as a guide for students, and is divided into two sections, each of which deals with one of the main concerns of moral philoso[hy of the period. The first part discusses man in the "state of nature". Cassina cites Locke, Grotius, Gerdil, Malebranche and also the Scottish philosophers Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746) and David Hume (1711-1776). The second part examines the development of society, and discusses the reasons for the formation of human societies, the nature of the fundamental laws which govern them, the importance of justice, temperance, work and the love of glory. Again, Cassina draws heavily on the work of other philosophers, in particular Plato and Aristotle, but also citing Hume's Essays Moral and Political (1741). Cassina's work clearly documents the transmission of Scottish philosophical thought throughout continental Europe in the 18th century.
ShelfmarkAB.2.204.06
Acquired on23/10/03
AuthorLüder, August Ferdinand
TitleÜber die Industrie und Kultur der Portugiesen
ImprintBerlin: bei Duncker und Humblot
Date of Publication1808
LanguageGerman
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkAB.1.200.008
Acquired on18/08/00
AuthorSteuart, James, Sir
TitleUntersuchung der Grund-Satze von der Staats-Wirtschaft als ein Versuch uber die Wissenschaft von der innerlichen Politik bey freyen Nationen
ImprintTubingen: Johann Georg Cotta
Date of Publication1769-1772
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the very rare first German edition of Steuart's 'An inquiry into the principles of political oeconomy' first published in English in 1767(RB.m.451). Another German edition was published in Hamburg in 1769 (A.109.d). It seems that two editions were published almost simultaneously in Germany, as the publishers in question were in a race to translate this work and so gain de facto copyright. Steuart was a friend of both the translator Christoph Friedrich Schott and the publisher Johann Georg Cotta. He had also lived for three years in Tubingen in the 1760s - as a Jacobite he was exiled after Culloden until 1763. It would appear that the Hamburg edition took precedence over the Tubingen one. However the Tubingen edition is more faithful to Steuart's writing - chapter 28 in this work appears in its entirety, while it was abridged in the Hamburg edition. Steuart's work was popular for a few years, but was completely overshadowed by Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations' (1776). Smith was himself somewhat disparaging about Steuart stating that he understood 'Sir James's system better from his conversation that from his volumes'. Neverthelesss, German scholars of the 19th century hailed Steuart - not Smith - as the true founder of economic science. It is regarded now as the first fully-fledged economic treatise. Only three other copies of this edition have been located - one in Germany and two in the U.S.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2318
Reference SourcesDNB http://cepa.newschool.edu/het/profiles/steuart.htm
Acquired on23/02/04
AuthorAdam Smith
TitleUntersuchung ueber die Natur und die Ursachen des Nationalreichthums[Wealth of Nations]
ImprintFrankfurt and Leipzig: [s.n.]
Date of Publication1796-99
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is one of three German-language editions of Smith's "Wealth of Nations" published in the 1790s, which is a testament to the impact the work had on continental Europe. The translation is by Christian Garve, revised by August Doerrien.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2728
Acquired on14/11/08
AuthorBrulefer, Etienne
TitleVenerabilis magistri fratris Stephani Brulefer ... Formalitatum textus unacum ipsius commento perlucido
ImprintBasel : Jakob Wolff von Pforzheim
Date of Publication1501
LanguageLatin
NotesThree early Duns Scotus-related volumes (others at RB.s.2065, RB.s.2066), bought at the most recent sale of books from the Donaueschingen Court Library in Germany. All three volumes are in contemporary blind-stamped pigskin bindings and in fine condition. All of them bear the ink stamp of the Fuerstliche Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen on the verso of the title page, but also show earlier marks of ownership. Bound with (in front): Brulefer, Etienne. Reportata clarissima in quattuor sancti Bonaventure ... Sententiarum libros Scoti subtilis secundi. Basel : Jakob Wolff von Pforzheim, 1501 (imperfect) Note: Following several incunable editions, this is a rare early 16th-century edition of Brulefer's Formalitates in doctrinam Scoti, printed by the Basel printer Jakob Wolff, who began his business in ca. 1489. He printed the same work again in 1507, an edition that seems to be slightly more common. (The present edition not in Adams). His large and attractive printer's device -- an angel holding the Basel coat of arms and the printer's mark -- appears on the title pages of both works in the volume. The copy is bound in contemporary blind-stamped pigskin over wooden boards with a still functioning central clasp. The binding has been assigend to an anonymous binder in Ulm who has been credited with a number of other bindings. Amongst the tools used on the binding, there is a rather unusual one of a sitting owl. The spine in four compartments, lettered in ink in the second one. The first compartment shows traces of a label. The paper is clean and fresh, and the volume generally in excellent condition.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2067(2)
Acquired on14/06/00
AuthorGregory, John.
TitleVergleichung des Zustandes und der Kraefte des Menschen, mit dem Zustande und den Kraeften der Thiere.
ImprintFrankfurt und Leipzig: J. Dodsley,
Date of Publication1768
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the first German translation of "A comparative view of the state and faculties of man with those of the animal world". The author, John Gregory (1724-1773) was a Scottish physician and writer, best known for his "A Father's Legacy to his Daughters" - a didactic work on the education of girls. "A comparative view" was first published in 1765 and grew out of papers presented to meetings of the 'Wise Club' in Aberdeen, the Aberdeen Philosophical Society, which Gregory had co-founded with his colleague Thomas Reid in 1758. The identity of the translator, mentioned on the title page as "A.M.J.B.St.", is not known.
ShelfmarkAB.1.210.008
Acquired on23/04/10
AuthorBeattie, James
TitleVersuch über die Natur und Unveränderlichkeit der Wahreit; im Gegensatze de Klügeley und de Zweifelsucht.
ImprintCopenhagen and Leipzig: Heineck & Faber
Date of Publication1772
LanguageGerman
NotesJames Beattie's works have not stood the test of time as well as those of his contemporaries, men such as Hume and Smith, but his work was taken very seriously in its day. Beattie (1735-1803) was a poet, essayist and moral philosopher, born in Laurencekirk in Kincardine who studied Greek at Marischal College Aberdeen. From an early age he composed poetry and wrote essays which he contributed to the 'Scots Magazine'. He made a spectacular leap in his career, being a Master at Aberdeen Grammar School and from there appointed to the chair of moral philosophy and logic at Aberdeen. He is probably better remembered as a gifted poet, but it was his 'ungentle diatribe' against Hume that gained him recognition in his lifetime. As a result of his disagreement with Hume's sceptical philosophy Beattie published Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, in opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism (Edinburgh, 1770). It had proved difficult to find a publisher and Beattie's friends, Sir William Forbes and Mr Arbuthnot, arranged for the book to be published and sent fifty guineas to Beattie. As a result of its loose style and pointed attack on Hume, the book found a ready audience and in four years went through five editions. It was also translated into French, German, Dutch and Italian. The present edition is the rare first German edition translated by H.W. Von Gerstenberg. It is a very good copy in full calf contemporary binding with spine gilt in compartments, raised bands.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2070
Acquired on27/12/00
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