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 775 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.
Please let us know what you think of this resource, if you have information to add about an acquisition, or if you have rare Scottish books that you would like to donate or sell. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Acquisitions 751 to 765 of 775:
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|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. |
|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.|
|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.|
|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|
|Title||[Volume containing 25 items, mainly chapbooks, relating to William Wallace and Robert the Bruce]|
|Date of Publication||c.1800-1865|
|Notes||This volume, which formerly belonged to the poet Sydney Goodsir Smith, includes 21 chapbooks telling the tales of the exploits of Sir William Wallace and King Robert the Bruce in prose, verse and song. These items date from 1801 to 1861 and include imprints from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Montrose, Dumfries, Kelso, Newcastle, London and Belfast. The publication and distribution of chapbooks in Scotland reached its height between 1775 and 1825. Subsequently the market for this kind of material was absorbed by commercial publishers, examples of whose output is contained in this volume.
With their simple wood-engravings and straightforward narratives, they would have been avidly read by children, at whom they were primarily aimed. It is interesting to note the similarities, and in some instances the exact copying of the text of the stories from one publisher to another.|
|Title||Volume of Edinburgh newspapers, 1759-1770|
|Date of Publication||1759-1770|
|Notes||This volume of newspapers comes from the library of the Writers to the Signet, and also displays the bookplate of Steuart of Allanton. The papers are in generally good condition, with tax-stamps and occasional manuscript notes; there are a few tears and worm-holes. The run of the Edinburgh Weekly Journal is darkened and damaged at the edges, probably because it is notably larger than the other newspapers. It is this run which gives the volume its particular interest, as these editions (from 7 August 1765 to 11 October 1769, with many gaps), do not seem to be represented elsewhere in the National Library, or indeed in any other collections. Published on Wednesdays, the Edinburgh Weekly Journal was sold at the printing-house of William Auld & Co., later Auld, Smellie & Co., in the Lawnmarket at 2˝d. Later editions give details of the price of subscription (10s10d a year for collection from the shop, 11s10d a year for delivery within Edinburgh, 14s a year for post to any town in Scotland). Typically for a journal of this period, it contains extensive foreign news, news from London, Edinburgh and America, and miscellaneous advertisements: for miracle cures, the sale of land and buildings, and for dramatic performances and new books. Storms, explosions, murders and 'remarkable occurrences' are described with gusto. There are also a number of poems and letters. See W.J.Couper, Edinburgh Periodical Press (1908), II. 93-6; M.E.Craig, Scottish Periodical Press (1931), 26.|
|Author||Gmelin, Johann Georg, (1709-1755)|
|Title||Voyage en Sibérie, contenant la description des moeurs & usages des peuples de ce pays, le cours des rivieres considérables, la situation des chaînes de montagnes, des grandes foręts, des mines, avec tous les faits d'histoire naturelle qui sont particuliers ŕ cette contrée.|
|Imprint||A Paris, Desaint, Libraire, rue du foin Saint Jacques.|
|Date of Publication||1767|
|Notes||This is a French translation of a German edition of one of the earliest accounts of Bering's second voyage. It contains some of the earliest material on the discovery and exploration of the Bering Strait and Alaska.|
|Author||Burnes, Alexander, Sir, 1805-1841|
|Title||Voyages de l' embouchure de l' Indus [etc]|
|Imprint||Paris: Arthus Bertrand|
|Date of Publication||1835|
|Notes||French translation of Alexander 'Bokhara' Burnes's "Travels into Bokhara ..." first published in 1834. Burnes, a native of Montrose and relative of Burns the poet, enjoyed rapid success in his career in the army and civil service of British India. In 1832 he was one of the first Westerners to explore the Punjab, Afghanistan, Bokhara, Turkmenistan, Caspian sea and Persia. His aforementioned account of his travels won him fame and awards and an audience with King William IV, "Travels into Bokhara" was also translated into German and Italian. Burnes returned to India in 1835, was knighted, and eventually ended up in Kabul as deputy to Sir William Macnaghten, Britain's envoy to the court of Shah Shujah. His flamboyant and womanising conduct did little to ease the tensions between the Afghans and the British garrison and in the uprising of 1841 he was dragged from his residence in Kabul and hacked to death by a mob.
This particular edition is entirely separate from a one-volume French translation/digest of Burnes's work "Voyages a Bokhara et sur l' Indus" which was also published in Paris in 1835. It includes in a separate volume 11 illustrated plates, which depict Burnes in native dress and also the giant Buddha statues at Bamiyan in Afghanistan which were blown up by the Taliban in 2001. The plates are based on but are not exact copies of the lithographic prints used in the English 1834 edition; the map does not appear in the English edition. The translator of this edition, Jean-Baptiste-Benoît Eyries (1767-1846), is best known for his edition of German ghost stories, "Fantasmagoriana", which had a great influence on the development of the British Gothic novel.|
|Title||W. Blacker's art of angling, and complete system of fly making and dying [sic] of colours|
|Imprint||[London: W. Blacker]|
|Date of Publication||1842|
|Notes||This the first edition first issue of William Blacker's famous book on angling, printed in Edinburgh by Anderson and Bryce, with 38 pages. The author (1814-1857) was born in Wicklow in Ireland. He moved to London in the 1840s where he became a prominent fishing tackle dealer in Dean Street, Soho. Being an accomplished angler himself, his revolutionary methods made this book a key work in the history of fly fishing. A 48-page edition with 6 leaves of plates was also printed in London in the same year, followed by an expanded edition of 130 pages in 1843. The book was deliberately printed in a small pocket-size format so that it could be carried by anglers to the river bank. Surviving copies of the early editions are rarely identical, this particular copy for instance only has 2 plates. Blacker went on to publish in 1855 an expanded edition of the work, with the title 'Blacker's art of flymaking'.|
|Author||Byron, George Gordon, Lord|
|Title||Waltz: an apostrophic hymn. By Horace Hornem, Esq. (The author of Don Juan.)|
|Date of Publication||1821|
|Notes||This rare pirate edition contains not only Byron's poem 'Waltz', first printed in 1813, but also five more of his poems, including 'To Jessy' ('addressed by Lord Byron to his Lady, a few months before their separation'), 'Adieu to Malta', and 'On the Star of the Legion of Honour'. The poems 'Lines to Tom Moore' and 'Lines to Hobhouse', both occasional verse, were first published in this edition or in the other pirate edition of 'Waltz' produced in the same year by T. Clark (NLS shelfmark AB.3.86.15) - it is unknown which was first printed. Unlike the Clark edition, this Benbow edition is not included in the standard Byron bibliography by T.J. Wise. This copy is in the original paper covers, with an inscription dated London, April 1822 on the title page.
There were many pirate editions of Byron's poems in the early nineteenth century. William Benbow, who also printed other poems by Byron and Shelley, was a radical bookseller who 'seized on pirating as a form of proto-class warfare' (Neil Fraistat, 'Illegitimate Shelley: Radical Piracy and the Textual Condition as Cultural Performance, PMLA 109(3), 409-423). Presumably he approved of the satirical 'Waltz', written in the persona of a smug 'country gentleman' but full of Byron's political wit.|
|Reference Sources||Bookseller's catalogue|
|Author||Spence, Elizabeth Isabella|
|Title||Wedding Day, a Novel.
|Imprint||London, printed by C. Stower for Longman etc., .|
|Date of Publication||1807|
|Notes||This work by the Scottish-born writer Elizabeth Spence is extremely rare. Spence (1768-1832) was born at Dunkeld, and produced several sentimental novels and travel books from 1799 onwards. Niece of the Aberdeen-born preacher James Fordyce, Spence ended up orphaned and poor in London, and seems to have written to support herself. The Wedding Day enjoyed little critical success, but does not seem wholly devoid of merit. It is deeply Scottish, full of descriptions of landscapes and buildings from Roslin Chapel to Calton Hill, although most of the action takes place in England. Literary quotations abound; suffering aristocrats write wordy letters; the heroine endures everything from shipwrecks to romantic catastrophe with the same moral resolution.|
|Author||Wood, Lawson, 1878-1957|
|Title||Wee scrap o' paper is Britain's bond|
|Date of Publication||1914|
|Notes||This striking print by the illustator Lawson Wood portrays a Gordon Highlander standing with a rifle on a street corner in a Flemish town. The purpose of the print is not clear - in this case it has been used to advertise 'ceilidh and dance village hall Saturday'. This is written in ink on a slip of paper attached to the foot of the print. Directly underneath the soldier is the phrase 'A wee "scrap of paper" is Britain's bond', referring to Britain's signature in 1830 to the Treaty of London to guarantee the independence of Belgium. Germany wanted Britain to disregard this agreement, describing it as a mere 'scrap of paper'.
The print is signed and dated 'Lawson Wood '14'. Wood was an artist and illustrator and best known for his caricatures, including those of army officers. But there is no hint of the caricature in this instance. He himself served as an officer in the Kite Balloon Wing of the Royal Flying Corps and was decorated for his action over Vimy Ridge.
The Second Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders were recalled from Egypt when the war broke out and made their way through Holland to Loos and Ypres and eventually took part in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The Gordon Highlanders lost a total of 29,000 men during the war.|
|Reference Sources||Dictionary of 19th century British book illustrators / Simon Houfe|
|Title||Weekly miscellany [of instruction and entertainment]|
|Imprint||Glasgow: William Bell|
|Date of Publication||1791|
|Notes||The Weekly Miscellany was published from 1789-1792, but few copies of its later years seem to survive. The NLS already has No. 1 (25th June 1789)-no. 26 (16th Dec. 1789) (NG.1588.b.5); this is a rare copy of the issues for 1791: No. 85 (2nd Feb) to No. 131 (21st Dec). The journal contains articles covering a wide range of subjects - contemporary politics, the anti-slavery debate, and historical articles are mixed with essays, poetry and fiction. While the subjects are world-ranging, there is a special interest in Scottish affairs, such as recollections of the Jacobite rebellion (including an 'Imitation of Psalm CXXVII. by a Scots Gentleman upon his arrival in France, summer 1746' (p. 142). More notably, this particular volume contains what is probably the first appearance in print of Robert Burns' poem 'Written in Friars Carse Hermitage' (p. 382, 31 Nov 1791). (Certainly it is the first surviving appearance, though Egerer conjectures that this poem may have been printed in 1789). It also contains Burns' Address to the Shade of Thomson (p.319, 2 Nov 1791), which had already appeared in the Edinburgh Advertiser.
This particular copy is not perfect, lacking some numbers and with some torn pages, but these imperfections are greatly outweighed by the rarity of the volume.|
|Reference Sources||ESTC P2351
J.W. Egerer: A bibliography of Robert Burns. London, 1964. Item 1260, p.344. (Friars Carse)
Item 24, p. 37 (Thomson)|
|Title||Whiskiana, or, the drunkard's progress. A poem. In
|Imprint||Glasgow: printed by A. Napier|
|Date of Publication||1812|
|Notes||This is a poem in Scots dealing with the "evil of habitual intoxication", which mixes humour with a serious moral message. The anonymous author, 'Anti-Whiskianus', reveals in the preface that he was originally from the village of Ceres in Fife and wrote the poem between 1810 and 1811. "Whiskiana" is in five parts covering the progress of a drunkard from inebriation to redemption: a description of the drunkard, his wife's lament for his "infatuated conduct", his remorse, his repentance, and finally his complete reformation when he swaps the bottle for a prayer book. The author acknowledges Scots popular poet Hector Macneill as an inspiration; Macneill had written a ballad against the evils of drink, "Scotland's Skaith, or, The History of Will and Jean", first published in 1795, which quickly became a popular favourite and which is quoted on the title page. "Whiskiana" can be regarded as a further sign of growing unease among some Scots about the social problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Scotland in the late 18th and early 19th centuries was becoming an increasingly urbanised society due to the Industrial Revolution, with a growing and thirsty population, and there was little attempt to control and regulate alcohol production, illicit spirits being found in most taverns. 'Anti-Whiskianus' has no qualms in his preface about criticising the late Robert Burns, indeed the poem is meant to "counteract the excessive praises lavished on whisky by Burns". The author may have been influenced by James Currie's biography in his four-volume edition of the works of Burns, first published in 1800, in which Currie controversially mentioned that Burns drank to excess. He may also have in mind the traditions of Scottish conviviality exemplified by the male drinking clubs of the 18th-century to which many Scottish literary figures, including Burns, belonged, 'How comes it why ilk Scottish bard/Their sonnets always interlard, Strong recommending drinking hard, Wit to inspire?/Can sober thinking e'er retard/Poetic fire?" For men such as 'Anti-Whiskianus' temperance was the only solution to the problem; such sentiments would lead in the late 1820s to the establishment of temperance societies in Scotland. This appears to be the only published version of the poem, no other copies have been recorded in other major libraries.|
|Reference Sources||Jack S. Blocker, David M. Fahey, and Ian R. Tyrrell eds "Alcohol and temperance in modern history: an international encyclopedia" v. 1 Santa Barbara, Calif., c. 2003.|