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 755 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 755:
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|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.|
|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'?|
|Author||Isham, Charles Edmund, Sir|
|Title||Tyrant of the Cuchullin Hills|
|Date of Publication||c. 1860?|
|Notes||This 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.|
|Title||Ubaldi Cassina in Parmensi Lyceo Moralis Philosophiae Regii Profressoris De Morali Disciplina Humanae Societatis.|
|Imprint||Parmae : Ex Typographia Regia|
|Date of Publication||1778|
|Notes||This 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.|
|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.|
|Author||Steuart, James, Sir|
|Title||Untersuchung der Grund-Satze von der Staats-Wirtschaft als ein Versuch uber die Wissenschaft von der innerlichen Politik bey freyen Nationen|
|Imprint||Tubingen: Johann Georg Cotta|
|Date of Publication||1769-1772|
|Notes||This 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.|
|Title||Untersuchung ueber die Natur und die Ursachen des Nationalreichthums[Wealth of Nations]|
|Imprint||Frankfurt and Leipzig: [s.n.]|
|Date of Publication||1796-99|
|Notes||This 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.|
|Title||Venerabilis magistri fratris Stephani Brulefer ... Formalitatum textus unacum ipsius commento perlucido|
|Imprint||Basel : Jakob Wolff von Pforzheim|
|Date of Publication||1501|
|Notes||Three 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.|
|Title||Vergleichung des Zustandes und der Kraefte des Menschen, mit dem Zustande und den Kraeften der Thiere. |
|Imprint||Frankfurt und Leipzig: J. Dodsley, |
|Date of Publication||1768|
|Notes||This 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.|
|Title||Versuch über die Natur und Unveränderlichkeit der Wahreit; im Gegensatze de Klügeley und de Zweifelsucht.|
|Imprint||Copenhagen and Leipzig: Heineck & Faber|
|Date of Publication||1772|
|Notes||James 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.|
|Imprint||Glogau: bey Christian Friedrich Guenthern|
|Date of Publication||1760|
|Notes||This is the extremely rare German translation of Hume's essays 'The Epicurean', 'The Stoic', "The Platonist' and 'The Sceptic'. Interestingly, the translation was not done from the English original, but from a French translation of 1758 done by Jean Bernard Merian. Now for the first time the German public was able to read the enlarged version of the essay 'The Sceptic' which Hume had produced for inclusion in his 'Essays and treatises on several subjects'. The only hitherto available German translation of 'The Sceptic' was a shorter version of 1748, which had been translated from the third edition of Hume's collected works. There are remarkable differences between the two versions of different length of 'The Sceptic'.
The translator of the 1760 edition tried hard to praise the volume as a comfort in difficult times, almost regarding Hume's essay to be edifying when he says, "It can serve to cheer up the mind during the present sorrowful times, in order to glimpse the glow of merciful predestination, notwithstanding all gloomy shades." The hopes this blurb aroused in the readers would be bitterly disappointed, because the sceptic Hume himself, who has no belief whatsoever in any divine providence, is the actual hero of all four essays.
There are no known copies of this item in Britain or the US. |
|Title||Views in Scotland photographed by John Peat|
|Imprint||[Edinburgh : s.n.]|
|Date of Publication||1865|
|Notes||This is a very interesting album of Scottish photographs taken by John Peat between the years 1864 and 66. Little is known about Peat himself, he appears to have been an amateur photographer who joined the Edinburgh Photographic Society (EPS) in 1863, about two years after the society was founded, and later became its curator. In addition to giving lectures to the EPS, he exhibited in the 9th Exhibition of the Photographic Society of Scotland, held in Edinburgh in December 1864. The album consists of 128 photographs mounted on 56 leaves and has been specially bound in dark-red morocco, with gilt ornamentation. Each photograph has been numbered and captioned in pencil, mentioning location and sometimes the date when the photograph was taken, presumably by Peat himself. Although the album is dated 1865, and there is a hand-written ownership inscription on the front free endpaper "From my friend Tom Clark. London, 16. Nov. 1865. John Peat", the photographs from number 85 onwards are dated '1866'. The album consists of Scottish landscapes, reflecting Peat's travels in the country, with an emphasis on south-east Scotland, as well as some views of Edinburgh. Complete amateur albums from this period - at a time when commercial photography firms were starting to flood the market - are unusual. Moreover, the choice of subjects and landscapes seem to reflect the photographer's own personal taste and are not the traditional commercial fare.|
|Author||Nicholson, Francis, 1753-1844|
|Title||Views in Scotland drawn from nature|
|Imprint||London: Engelmann, Graf, Coindel & Co.|
|Date of Publication||1828|
|Notes||This is a very rare copy of Francis Nicholson's lithographed views of Scotland. Only one other copy in public ownership has been traced - that at Princeton University, New Jersey.
On the title page it is stated that the views have been 'chiefly selected from scenery described by Sir Walter Scott'. Scott's novels and poems were at the height of their popularity - there are views of Loch Katrine and Goblin Cave which featured in the Lady of the Lake. Most of the scenes are of rugged mountain scenery, brooding castles and wild waterfalls. These appealed to a public who had read of such romantic locations in Scott's works.
Francis Nicholson (1753-1844) was a Yorkshire-born artist who specialised in painting landscapes. When he moved to London he was one of the founders of the Society of Painters in Watercolours in 1804 and was a major contributor to its exhibitions. He contributed 14 engravings to Walker's 'Copper-plate magazine' between 1792 and 1801. He made use of the newly invented lithograph to produce 'Six views of Scarborough' (1822) as well as contributing to 'Havel's Aquatints of Noblemen's and Gentlemen's Seats' and 'The Northern Cambrian Mountains,' both 1820.
This copy which is bound in the original lithographed wrappers is wanting the plate titled 'On the Forth, in Aberfoyle'.|
|Reference Sources||Abbey, J.R. Scenery of Great Britain in aquatint and lithography.|
|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.
|Author||Smith, Adam, 1723-1790.|
|Title||Vizsgalodas a nemzeti vagyonossag termeszeterol es okairol [Wealth of Nations]|
|Imprint||Budapest : Pallas Irodalmi es Nyomdai Reszvenytarsasag|
|Date of Publication||1891-1894|
|Notes||The Library has one of the most extensive collections in the world of printed material relating to the 18th-century Scottish economist Adam Smith and his seminal work, "Inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations". This is the rare first Hungarian translation of of the work, translated by the Budapest lawyer Jakab Polya (1844-1897), with a lengthy introduction by the noted economist, politician and banker Gyula Kautz (1829-1909), under whose editorial control the book was published. Polya, although a lawyer, had a particular interest in economics and a sufficient grasp of English through his work with an international insurance firm to be able to cope with Smith's English text. For the present translation, he collaborated with the Hungarian civil servant Lukács Enyedi (1845-1906), who played a significant role in the promotion of economics as an independent discipline in Hungarian universities. The introduction by Kautz, which appears to have also been published separately (NLS copy: ABS.3.206.005) describes Smith's life and work, and his position as the "founder of economic science", putting his work into its historical context and offering a critical appraisal of his significance and his influence on 19th century economics and political theorists. Kautz was governor-general of the central bank of Hungary (the Osztrák-Magyar Bank) from 1893-1900, and the economics department of Budapest University is today named after him. The only other known copy of this translation is located at the Hungarian National Library.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's notes|