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 752 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 721 to 735 of 752:

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AuthorAnderson, James
TitleEnquiry into the nature of the Corn-Laws; With a View to the New Corn-Bill Proposed for Scotland
ImprintEdinburgh, Mrs Mundell
Date of Publication1777
LanguageEnglish
Notes8vo pp. 60 [1] author's apology, [1] 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2084
Acquired on06/10/00
TitleGenuine 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
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1747
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkAB.2.201.01
Acquired on05/10/00
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleProclamation ... March.24 ... 1602 [1603]
ImprintLondon: b. Robert Barker
Date of Publication1602/3
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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'.
ShelfmarkRB.el.5
Acquired on04/10/00
AuthorJames VI & I
TitleMeditation vpon the Lords Prayer
ImprintLondon: b. Bonham Norton & Iohn Bill
Date of Publication1619
LanguageEnglish
NotesAttractive 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. [16], 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2081(1)
Acquired on04/10/00
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
AuthorCook, Thomas
TitleReminiscences 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
ImprintLeicester
Date of Publication1847
LanguageEnglish
NotesA 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'.
ShelfmarkABS.1.201.012
Acquired on14/09/00
AuthorWurtisen, Christian (editor)
TitleGermaniae historicorum illustrium
ImprintFrankfurt: apud heredes Andreae Wecheli
Date of Publication1585
LanguageLatin
NotesThis 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.
ShelfmarkBdg.m.148
Acquired on05/09/00
AuthorMaidment, J[ames], P[itcairn], R[obert], and H[ill], James, editors and publishers
TitleNugae Derelictae, quas colligerunt …
ImprintEdinburgh
Date of Publication[1815?-] 1823
LanguageLatin
NotesA 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.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2291(1-21)
Acquired on24/08/00
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
AuthorJerome, Saint
TitleVitas patrum.
ImprintLyons
Date of Publication1502
LanguageLatin
NotesThis 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. [Adams J144]
ShelfmarkRB.s.2082
Acquired on01/08/00
TitleEngineer and machinist's assistant: being a series of plans, sections, and elevations, of steam engines, spinning machines, mills for grinding, tools, etc., etc., taken from machines of approved construction at present in operation.
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication1856
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a 'new and improved edition' of a book first published by Blackie in 1847. Lavishly illustrated with 138 engravings, it was intended to provide a broad range of information and practical examples for the instruction of the many aspiring mechanical engineers and millwrights to extend what they had learned in theory during their arduous apprenticeships. The scale of the engravings are sufficiently large 'to render them available as working drawings for the reproduction of similar machines' (preface). The plates, with very detailed accompanying explanatory text, are preceded by essays on the steam engine, mill gearing, machine tools and water wheels. Examples of the designs of the foremost British (and some French) manufacturers are portrayed at a time when Britain, in the wake of the Great Exhibition of 1851 was very much regarded as the 'workshop of the world'. The designs of James Nasmyth's steam hammer and steam pile driver and William Fairbairn's corn mills, steam frigates and water wheels are among those of Scots engineers whose work features. Also included are designs by Caird & Co, Greenock, James Smith of Deanston, and Robert Napier, Archibald Mylne, Robert Sanderson & Co. from Glasgow. The book belonged to John Fowler, probably of John Fowler and Co., the Leeds based builder of railway and rolling stock.
ShelfmarkABS.10.201.01
Acquired on26/07/00
AuthorScot, William
TitleRoyaute de Charles Second roy de la Grand Bretagne, &c. reconnuë au parlement d'Ecosse, & proclamée par tout le Royaume
ImprintParis
Date of Publication1649
LanguageFrench
NotesThis item is probably a translation of the proclamation by the Scottish parliament declaring Charles II king of Great Britain. It was first printed as a broadside by Evan Taylor in Edinburgh, days after the execution of Charles I in London. It is signed on the final page by William Scot, also known as Lord Clerkington, secretary to the parliament. Scot was knighted by Charles I in 1641 and from 1645 he represented Haddington in parliament. The proclamation was quite a political statement by the Scottish parliament in proclaiming Charles as king not just of Scotland, but of Great Britain as a whole. It signalled the end of the informal alliance with the English parliament, though it was intended that the new king should be no more than a figurehead. The proclamation marked the beginning of an intense period of negotiation between the new king and the various political and religious factions in Scotland.
ShelfmarkABS.3.200.044
Acquired on18/07/00
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
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
AuthorJohannes de Colonia
TitleQuestiones magistrales in divina subtilissimi Scoti volumina
ImprintBasel : Adam Petrus de Langendorff
Date of Publication1510
LanguageLatin
NotesThree early Duns Scotus-related volumes (others at RB.s.2066, RB.s.2067), 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. Note: Adams J230, which records one copy in Cambridge UL. A very rare compendium of Scotist theses, the second and last edition after one incunable edition. The title page shows an attractive woodcut border created by the Swiss engraver Urs Graf (1485-1529) with his initials, including the Basel coat of arms at the top. The volume is bound in contemporary pigskin over wooden boards, decorated with blind fillets and rolls arranged in a panel design. Remains of two clasps. The spine with five raised bands and a paper label in the top compartment. The initials LCV of the Franciscan Convent at Villingen added later in the top half of the upper board. Ownership inscription (18th-century?) of the Villingen convent on title page. An earlier inscription on the back free endpaper, dated [15]12, records the donation of the volume to a minorite friar Henricus Seratoris.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2065
Acquired on14/06/00
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