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 721 to 735 of 727:

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AuthorFawkes, Francis
TitleWorks of Anacreon
ImprintLondon
Date of Publication1760
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe importance of James Scott in the history of Scottish bookbinding is very great, and through J.H.Loudon's book on Scott the National Library of Scotland is widely recognised as having the pre-eminent collection of Scott bindings. This addition to the collection is notable for the gilt roll-tool border to the covers, with a crisp and attractive floral design, which seems to be wholly unrecorded. The spine is heavily tooled with gilt compartments separated by bars and enclosing a design which is almost identical to that produced by the tool recorded by Loudon as pallet Ro2.7 (here, the diamond has a dotted outline, as in pallet Ro2.14). There is also a red morocco spine label and marbled endpapers. Although there is no binder's label, it seems overwhelmingly likely that this is a new Scott binding. The text, of which we already have a copy, is in good condition, with a manuscript note 'The gift of Doctor Brody 1776'. Most of Scott's binding seems to have been carried out in the 1770s, and it seems unlikely that he bound the book in the year it was printed, 1760. Presumably the generous Dr. Brody had the gift specially bound in 1776.
ShelfmarkBdg.s.919
Reference SourcesJ.H.Loudon, James Scott and William Scott, Bookbinders, 1980.
Acquired on24/05/02
AuthorMacDonald, George
TitleWorks of fancy and imagination
ImprintLondon: Alexander Strahan
Date of Publication1884
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a ten-volume set of the second collected edition of George MacDonald's early prose and verse. It includes his first book, "Within and Without", and his long dramatic poem, "A Hidden Life", covering his upbringing in rural Aberdeenshire and his life at Aberdeen University. MacDonald (1824-1905) had by the 1880s "achieved an international reputation as a poet, novelist, lecturer, and preacher" (DNB). This set comes complete with a rare publisher's clamshell box of red cloth, designed to house the ten volumes, and also includes part of an autograph note signed by MacDonald himself.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2681
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on12/10/07
AuthorGouge, Thomas
TitleWorks of the Reverend and pious Mr. Thomas Gouge, late Minister of the Gospel.
ImprintWhitburn : Printed by and for J. Findlay and J. Main
Date of Publication1798
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is one of only three known Whitburn (West Lothian) imprints extant and is not recorded in ESTC. In the late 1790s the minister Rev. Archibald Bruce (1746-1816) set up his own printing press in Whitburn as he was unable to find anyone who would publish his books and pamphlets (because of their content). In 1786 Bruce had been appointed Professor of Divinity by the Anti-Burgher Secession Synod and the church at Whitburn became a theological college as well. He bought a printing press in Edinburgh, had it transported to Whitburn and hired an old printer to work it. 'The printing was bad, the paper was execrable, but the matter made amends' (quoted in Brucefield Church, see above). The printer was possibly James Findlay, a librarian and stationer, who was working in Edinburgh in 1789-90. The Anti-Burgher Church was an off-shoot of the Secession Church which developed in the 1730s from dissatisfaction with the Church of Scotland on matters of patronage and doctrine. A Secession church was founded in Whitburn in 1766 as a result of the frustration of the parishoners who had contributed financially to the building of the church, but were not permitted to have any say in choosing their minister. The book itself contains the works of Thomas Gouge (1609-1681), a Non-Conformist divine and philantrophist, who spent much of his life evanglising Wales. At the end of the volume is a 5 page list of subscribers, with the names of people mainly from Whitburn, Bathgate, Linlithgow and the surrounding areas.
ShelfmarkABS.3.204.003
Reference SourcesDNB Statistical accounts Brucefield Church, Whitburn: a history of the congregation, 1857-1957 (HP2.91.5154)
Acquired on12/06/03
AuthorArchimedes
Title[Works]
Imprint[Foulis Press?]
Date of Publication[1743-1749?]
LanguageGreek
NotesThe exploits of the Foulis Press are always intriguing, and this latest discovery is no exception. Here is a single, uncut sheet consisting of two identical folio leaves. The text is the half-title and first page of a work by Archimedes, the ancient Greek scientist and mathematician, 'On the sphere and the cylinder'. Clearly the sheet was to be cut in half and then each leaf placed in a volume of Archimedes. But why was this extra leaf printed, and what has this got to do with Glasgow's Foulis Press? At shelfmark K.33.b, the Library has a copy of the first edition of Archimedes, printed at Basle in 1544. This edition was based on a defective manuscript, so the text at the start of 'On the sphere' was not included. At some point in the eighteenth century, an attempt was made to supply this lacuna, possibly by the mathematician and book-collector William Jones (1675-1749). This extra leaf was specially printed, probably by Glasgow's Foulis Press, using the Greek 'Great Primer' font cut for them by Alexander Wilson around 1743. It is not known how many copies were corrected in this way - the copy now at K.33.b. is among those corrected. It was received by the Advocates' Library some time between 1742 and 1776. Perhaps the correction was made for the 200th anniversary of the first printing of Archimedes?
ShelfmarkRB.l.143
Reference SourcesGaskell, Foulis Press Archimedes, Opera, ed. Heiberg DNB
Acquired on16/07/04
TitleWounds o' the Kirk o' Scotland
ImprintDublin: b. James Carson
Date of Publication1730
LanguageScots
NotesThis is a rare edition of a popular and remarkable sermon (ESTC T14610 records only one other copy). In 1638, James Row preached in St. Giles's to persuade the congregation to sign the National Covenant. Row's use of broad Scots and homely expressions seem to have made the sermon famous; in particular, his adaptation of the tale of Balaam's ass includes a colourful description of Balaam's 'Pock-mantle' (travelling bag) which was full of detestable books like the Book of Common Prayer. Several of the editions in the National Library use the term 'Pockmanty preaching' as a generic term on the title-page. It is interesting that the first printed edition, which appeared in 1642 (NLS copy at Ry.1.7.109), was a considerably more English text: it has been argued that the colourful Scots vernacular of the later editions is really an exaggerated adaptation for satirical purposes. See Memorials of the Family of Row (Edinburgh, 1828). Certainly, it seems likely that the popularity of the work in the eighteenth century had more to do with the remarkable language than the reforming doctrinal content. The theory that the sermon was adapted for humourous purposes is supported by the fact that it includes the 'Elegy on the Reverend Mess Sawney Sinkler', a pseudo-Scots satirical poem. Both this sermon and the 'elegy' are included in primarily comic publications such as An appeal to the publick; or, the humble remonstrance of the five-foot-highians (1733, copy of one edition in NLS at Ry.1.5.171). Collation: 8o, unsigned, pp. 16.
ShelfmarkAPS.1.202.026
Acquired on12/03/01
AuthorHume, David
TitleWysgeerige en staatkundige verhandelingen [Political Discourses]
ImprintRotterdam : Abraham Bothall,
Date of Publication1766
LanguageDutch
NotesThis is a rare edition (no copies recorded elsewhere in the UK) of the first Dutch translation of David Hume's "Political Discourses", which was the first work by Hume to be translated into Dutch. The translation was published in Amsterdam by Kornelis van Tongerlo in 1764, with this particular edition appearing two years later in Rotterdam under a different publisher, but with identical collation. The identity of the translator remains unknown. The "Political Discourses", first published in Edinburgh in 1752, was arguably the only one of Hume's works to enjoy immediate commercial success in Britain. In addition to a series of essays on economic matters, Hume also discusses at length a number of other diverse Enlightenment topics such as: whether the ancient world had been more populous than the modern, the Protestant succession to the British throne, and the model of a perfect republic. The work quickly became very influential throughout Europe among the leading economic theorists of the day, including Adam Smith, but Hume does not appear to have appealed to a wider readership within the Netherlands. A translation of Hume's "History of England" appeared between 1769 and 1774, but these seem to be the only Dutch translations of his works in the 18th century.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2785
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on23/04/10
AuthorOgilvy, James, 7th Earl of Findlater and Seafield, and Stieglitz, Christian Ludwig
TitleZeichnungen aus der schoenen Baukunst
ImprintLeipzig: Georg Voss
Date of Publication1805
LanguageGerman
NotesA splendidly illustrated book of engraved architectural plans and elevations of existing and proposed buildings. The work was first published in Leipzig and Paris in nine parts between 1798 and 1800 under the title "Plans et desseins tires de la belle architecture". This is the second, 'improved', German collected edition, published by Voss of Leipzig. It contains an introductory essay by the German scholar and architectural historian Christian Stieglitz, who has been wrongly assumed to be responsible for the whole work. In fact the collection of engravings was compiled by James Ogilvy, 7th Earl of Findlater and Seafield (1750-1811). The plates of existing buildings, including a number of British buildings (amongst them James MacPherson's former home Belleville House, Inverness-shire) were presumably taken from prints and drawings in Findlater's own collection. The plates for proposed designs appear to be Ogilvy's own work. The importance of this work lies in the significant role it played in introducing neo-classical architecture in the style of Robert and James Adam to Germany. The NLS copy is in a contemporary German calf binding, specially bound for Georg Karl von Fechenbach (1749-1808), the last Prince-Bishop of Würzburg. It was formerly in the Fechenbach family library, part of which was auctioned off in 2005. Ogilvy himself was a rather tragic figure. He left Scotland, and his ancestral home Cullen House in Banffshire, for good in 1791, after a series of personal and social misfortunes. He settled eventually in Dresden where he pursued his interests in architecture and built his own palace on the banks on the river Elbe.
ShelfmarkRB.l.235
Reference SourcesA.A. Tait, "Lord Findlater, Architect", Burlington Magazine, vol. 128 (1986), pp. 738-741)
Acquired on05/04/07
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