Important acquisitions

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Rare Book Collections works to build up the national collections through purchases (through dealers or at auction) and donations. This directory gives details of 864 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 76 to 90 of 864:

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Author[Edward Simms]
TitleStanzas to the memory of Sir Walter Scott.
Imprint[Malvern? : s.n.]
Date of Publication[1839]
LanguageEnglish
NotesA rare elegy to Scott, only one other copy recorded in the UK, which was apparently printed seven years after his death and circulated privately. This particular copy is a presentation copy, inscribed on the title leaf: "J.H. Markland Esqre. with the Author's best respects". Markland has identified the author as 'The Revd. Edwd. Simms ? Curate of Malvern' and dated it to August 1839. Simms was probably the author, as the poem is signed "E.S." at the end, and the recipient ought to have known who had given him the poem. James Heywood Markland (1788-1864) was a successful solicitor, a noted book collector and a very early member of the Roxburghe Club: he was also one of the committee established in 1832 to raise money for a commemoration to Scott. The Rev. Edward Simms was certainly living in Malvern at around this time: his name is on several subscription lists for scholarly theological works of about 1840. He is very likely the man who was born around 1803 and matriculated at Wadham College Oxford in 1822, and was later vicar of Escot, Devon, in 1870-77.
ShelfmarkAP.2.215.16
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on16/10/15
Author[William Sotheby]
TitleTo His Majesty's ship Barham, appointed by the King to convey Sir Walter Scott to Naples.
Imprint[London : s.n.]
Date of Publication1831
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis single sheet poem of 42 lines is by 'W.S.', William Sotheby (1757-1833), a poet and translator. The poem is dated 18 November 1831 at the end, with the address of Fair Mead Lodge, Epping Forest, which had been Sotheby's home since the early 1790s. Sotheby had been in the army in his youth and had been stationed in Edinburgh in the 1770s, where he came to know Walter Scott, then only a boy. The two remained friends; Scott may not have greatly esteemed Sotheby's talents as a poet but he had a sincere respect for the elder man. By the summer of 1831 Scott had suffered three strokes and reluctantly agreed to go on a tour of the Mediterranean to improve his declining health. In the poem Sotheby addresses the man-of-war HMS Barham, which had been provided at the command of William IV to take Scott to Malta and Naples rather than have him undergo an arduous overland journey. The ship had set sail in October, and Sotheby anticipates its return with its precious cargo, hoping, in vain, that the famous author will return restored to full fitness. In fact, Scott had a fourth stroke on the return journey, which was overland, and by the time he reached London in June 1832 he was dying, surviving long enough to return to Scotland and to die in his beloved Abbotsford. Only one other copy of this printing is recorded, in the British Library.
ShelfmarkAP.1.215.03
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on16/10/15
Author[David Whyte]
TitleGlenfinnan
Imprint[Inverness: D. Whyte]
Date of Publication1890?
LanguageEnglish
NotesUnrecorded commercially-produced album by the Inverness photographer David Whyte, containing 9 mounted albumen prints of the Glenfinnan and Loch Shiel area before the construction of the famous railway viaduct.
ShelfmarkPhot.sm.156
Acquired on25/09/15
AuthorAnon
TitleThe business man's note-book for the year 1856.
ImprintEdinburgh: James Hogg
Date of Publication1855
LanguageEnglish
NotesA proof copy of an elaborate forerunner of the 'Filofax', printed for the publisher James Hogg (1806-1888), the son of James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. It contains folding coloured maps and metal volvelle on the inside board which is a perpetual calendar. The proof copy was probably produced to attract orders and as a form of advertising. Hogg jnr. in his preface states that "the aim of this work is to produce in one volume at once a kalender [sic], diary, and commercial directory, specially adapted to the wants of business men." Only one copy of the final version for 1856 is recorded, in the 1874 Advocates Library catalogue, but that is now recorded as missing. This particular copy is described as 'incomplete' at the head of the title page, as it has blank space left for advertisements and two fewer maps than listed in the contents. Moreover, the concluding paragraph mentions that an additional 60 pages were planned as a continuation of the statistical notices of the governments of the world; as a fellow of the Statistical Society of London, this was no doubt a subject close to Hogg's heart. A notebook for 1857 was published but in 1858 Hogg closed his Edinburgh firm down and re-located to London and the "Business man's note-book" was not revived by him there.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.127
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on25/09/15
AuthorJakob Spiegel
TitleLexicon iuris ciuilis, ex uarijs probatorum autorum commentarijs congestum.
ImprintLugduni [Lyon] : Apud Sebastianum Gryphium,
Date of Publication1541
LanguageLatin
NotesThis is work on civil law by the German humanist and scholar, Spiegel (b. 1483). Spiegel served Emperor Maximilian I as his secretary and was also a confidant of Charles V, being influential in imperial and papal politics in the 1510s. This is perhaps his most important work, first published at Strasbourg in 1538 and here revised by the author. There are no recorded editions of this Lyon printing in the UK. The book has been acquired as it bears on the title page the ownership inscription of Adam Bothwell (1529?-1593) bishop of Orkney. Bothwell, son of a prominent Edinburgh family with links to government, had perhaps studied abroad - possibly, like his father, at the University of Orleans - and had already taken holy orders by 1552 when he became a minister. His links with Orkney began in the mid-1550s, and he was appointed to his see when he was only thirty. He played a major role in Scottish politics, and was a member of the privy council to Mary Queen of Scots, officiating at her marriage to the fourth Earl of Bothwell (no relation) in May 1567, and later the same year he anointed the infant King James VI at his coronation. Bothwell was a keen book collector, his library has been described as "impressively large and wide-ranging" (ODNB). It was listed not long after his death (the inventory is reprinted in volume II of The Warrender Papers published by the Scottish History Society in 1931), but this book does not seem to be amongst those listed in 1593, and it may have left the library before that date. The Library already has four books owned by Bothwell in its collections and this book is an important addition to the Library's collection of books printed before the Reformation and owned by Scots. As well as Bothwell's signature, this copy also has the 19th-century bookplate of Robert Graham. This is probably Robert Graham (d. 1815), 12th laird of Fintry, whose son Colonel John Graham (1778-1821) was the founder of Grahamstown, in the Eastern Cape.
ShelfmarkRB.l.286
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; Durkan and A. Ross, Early Scottish Libraries (1961), p. 29; D. Shaw, 'Adam Bothwell: a conserver of the Renaissance in Scotland' in I.B. Cowan and D. Shaw, "The Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland" (1983), pp. 141-169.
Acquired on04/09/15
AuthorNiel Douglas
TitleSlander retorted or L-r's thanks
ImprintGreenock: N. Douglas
Date of Publication1803
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn early, unrecorded, example of Greenock printing. The work is a polemic by Niel Douglas (1750-1823), an outspoken poet and minister of the Relief church, defending himself against his critics, in particular Kenneth Bayne (d. 1821), minister of the Gaelic chapel in Greenock (Douglas himself was a fluent speaker of Gaelic). The work which was printed by and for Douglas ends with a poem "A whip for the bigot". It is not surprising that Douglas moved to Glasgow in 1805, having outstayed his welcome in Greenock.
ShelfmarkAB.2.215.23
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on28/08/15
AuthorJohn Newton
TitleLetters and Sermons
ImprintEdinburgh: Murray & Cochrane
Date of Publication1798
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a 9-volume set, printed in Edinburgh, of the works of John Newton (1725-1807), a slave trader who became a Church of England clergyman. Newton left the slave trade in 1755, and, having already found religion, he became a leading figure in the evangelical wing of the CofE. He is best known now for his collection of 'Olney Hymns' written in collaboration with William Cowper, which included the famous hymn "Amazing Grace". In his latter years he became an important ally of William Wilberforce and the abolitionist movement. This particular set has a Scottish provenance, having belonged to the Harray and Sandwick Free Church library on Orkney.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.100-108
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes; Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on31/07/15
AuthorAnon
TitleAddress by the principal native gentlemen and other inhabitants of Bombay to Sir Charles Forbes, Baronet, on the occasion of erecting a statue of him at Bombay.
ImprintLondon: James Madden
Date of Publication1840?
LanguageEnglish
NotesSir Charles Forbes (1773-1849) was a Scottish politician who had worked in his youth in India in the family firm of Forbes & Co. in Bombay, ending up as head of the firm. On returning Britain he continued to take an interest in India as a member of Parliament. He sponsored charitable work in India, especially improving the Bengal water supply. A statue of him was placed in the town hall of Bombay in 1839, paid for by public subscription. This work commemorates his services to the commercial development of the country and the improvement in the living standards of the local people. Bound with the work is an unrecorded Gaelic pamphlet by Donald Macpherson, "Marb-Rann air Sir Tearlach Foirbeis Jar-Bharan" London, [1849] [An elegy on the death of Sir Charles Forbes, Baronet, paraphrased from the Gaelic, by the author].
ShelfmarkAB.9.215.05(1-2)
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on26/06/15
AuthorJohn Wilson
TitleMusalmani din ka Raddi: or Refutation of Muhammadism, in Hindustani. 2nd edition.
ImprintBombay : [Bombay] Tract and Book Society
Date of Publication1840
LanguageEnglish
NotesJohn Wilson (1804-1875), Scottish missionary and orientalist, studied linguistics, medicine and theology in Edinburgh in preparation for missionary life and mastered the Gujarati, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Hindi, Persion, Arabic and Zend languages. In 1829, a year after graduating, he and his wife went to Bombay as missionaries. There they established a series of successful schools for both boys and girls, secured a printing press by an arrangement with the Bombay Tract and Book Society, and entered into public discussions with Hindu Brahmans, and with Muslims and Parsees. This controversialist work, lithographically printed in the Urdu language, was part of his attempts to convert local people to Christianity. It was first published in 1834 by the Bombay Tract and Book Society and an edition in Persian was also printed, presumably aimed at the Parsee community. Despite his proselytising mission Wilson was also indefatigable collector of oriental manuscripts who sought to preserve Indian historical monuments.
ShelfmarkAP.1.215.21
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on19/06/15
AuthorDaniel Ritchie ed.
TitleThe voice of our exiles or Stray leaves from a convict ship.
ImprintEdinburgh: John Menzies ; London W. S. Orr & Co.
Date of Publication1864
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis work is based on a journal set up on board a convict ship the 'Peston Bomanjee' on a journey to Van Diemen's land (Tasmania) in 1852. The journal ran for 14 weekly issues between 25 April to 28 July and was edited by the Scottish naval surgeon Daniel Ritchie (1816-1865), who had been appointed surgeon superintendent to the 'Peston Bomajee' in that year. Ritchie was a strong believer in the rehabilitation of convicts through discipline and tutoring so that they could eventually become useful members of society, pointing out the financial and social benefits of educating convicts in the introduction to "Voice of our exiles". The long voyage to Van Diemen's Land gave him an opportunity to put his principles into practice by getting the convicts to contribute essays, poems and articles for his ad hoc journal. The articles covered a wide range of topic, including moral ones 'On sin', 'On Swearing' and 'Our gratitude to our Creator' as well as practical tips for surviving life 'down under' with some accounts of travel in Tasmania itself. Each issue was concluded with a weekly record by Ritchie which summarised the events of the previous week on board the ship. The journal no doubt helped to alleviate the tedium of the journey for the officers and 291 convicts on the ship and Ritchie felt its content was of sufficient interest to turn into a publication two years later, presumably to send to friends and fellow advocates of rehabilitation of convicts. This particular copy is a presentation copy from Ritchie to Sir Baldwin Wake Walker (1802-1876), a distinguished naval commander, who in 1854 was serving as Surveyor of the Navy. Ritchie would go on to serve in another convict ship before settling in Australia in 1857. He died in Edinburgh, while on a visit back to his native Scotland.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2917
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on15/05/15
AuthorEdinburgh (Scotland) Town Council
TitleNotice. The Magistrates, in consequence of a complaint by the possessors of shops between the North Bridge and the Stamp Office Close ? hereby give notice ... Given at Edinburgh, this 4th day of March 1814 years.
Imprint[Edinburgh] : Alex Smellie
Date of Publication[1814]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis broadside outlines the regulations affecting street sellers and casual vendors in Edinburgh in response to complaints from shopkeepers in Edinburgh's Old Town. The shopkeepers on the High Street in the area between the North Bridge and the Stamp Office Close were concerned that the pavement in front of their shops was being obstructed by "the number of carts, creels, stands, &c. placed there without any authority". The Edinburgh magistrates therefore decreed that "from and after this date, no stands or creels will be allowed to be placed on the street ... No carts bringing in vegetables, or fish of any kind, will be permitted to remain there after eight o'clock in the morning ... Nor will those exposing gingerbread for sale be allowed to stand on that part of the pavement between the South Bridge and the head of Niddry Street". The broadside warns those flouting these regulations that they would have their goods seized by police officers. Despite this attempt to gentrify part of the High Street, street vendors would continue to be a major presence in Edinburgh's Old Town throughout the 19th century and early 20th century. Gingerbread was a popular street food, particularly at Halloween and during the winter months. William Tennant's mock-heroic poem "Anster fair", first published in 1812, which describes the annual fair held in Anstruther in Fife in 16th-century Scotland, mentions the "market-maids, and apron'd wives that bring their gingerbread in baskets to the fair".
ShelfmarkAP.7.215.04
Acquired on15/05/15
Author[Anon]
TitleItinerary of the Lord Chancellor Broggam and Broomstick.
ImprintEdinburgh: Andrew Shortrede
Date of Publication[1834?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a spoof diary making fun of the prominent whig politician Lord Brougham 'Lord Chancellor Broggam' (1778-1868) and his five-week tour of Scotland in the summer of 1834 when he made speeches in Edinburgh, Inverness, Perth, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee. Written as a first-person account of Brougham's stay in his native Scotland, the anonymous author mocks the politics of the Scottish lawyer turned Westminster-fixer Brougham and his overbearing manner. A typical diary entry reads: "September 6. Met the lang-tongued clam'rous fouk o'Aberdeen-awa, and eat of their fine finnan haddocks. It was here that I displayed one of the completest specimens of my noted knack at eating my own words with unmoved impunity. I put out all my strength to convince the burghers of Aberdeen of my republican bias; because, it is well known, that the landholders of the county are amongst the most attached in Scotland to the monarchical form of government ...". Brougham's tour was part a campaign to preserve his political career and status as kingmaker within the whig party, but his efforts were to have the opposite effect, with his career as a politician effectively over by the end of 1834. "His behaviour throughout 1834 was in many ways bizarre. In the summer he went on a tour of Scotland, where he played to the gallery in a series of speeches which enhanced his popularity but offended his political peers (particularly when he upstaged [Earl] Grey and insulted [the Earl of] Durham at a dinner in Edinburgh) and outraged the king, who was not amused by reports of high jinks with the great seal, nor with the chancellor's portraying himself as the king's representative. Many began to comment that the often dishevelled-looking Brougham was not entirely of sound mind" (ODNB). This pamphlet is perhaps an offshoot of a newspaper campaign in the summer and autumn of that year, led by The Times and supported by King William IV's advisers, against Brougham. The campaign sought to discredit him and to imply that he was unfit for the office of Lord Chancellor by having chosen to leave London for five weeks.
ShelfmarkAP.1.215.20
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on15/05/15
AuthorAnthony Trollope
TitleLinda Tressell
ImprintEdinburgh: William Blackwood
Date of Publication[1880?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis novel written by Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) is a tale or star-crossed lovers and religious fanaticism set in the German city of Nuremberg. First serialized in Blackwood's Magazine in 1867-1868, a two-volume edition was published by Blackwood in 1868, but sold very poorly. The publishers bound up the unsold sheets of the first edition and reissued them as this single volume in c. 1879/1880, but again without any commercial success, making this issue something of a rarity.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.79
Acquired on15/05/15
AuthorFriedrich Eberhard Rambach & Ludwig Tieck
TitleDie eiserne Maske. Eine schottische Geschichte von Ottokar Sturm.
ImprintLeipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth
Date of Publication1792
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the first (and only contemporary) edition of a very rare Gothic novel, "Die eiserne Maske"("The iron mask") by the Berlin schoolmaster Friedrich Rambach (1767?1826), writing under the pseudonym of Ottakar Sturm. Rambach was "a prolific writer of medieval adventures and horror stories and plays" ("Oxford Companion to German Literature"). Among his pupils was the 18-year-old Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853), later to find fame as a poet and translator and as one of the founders of the Romantic movement in German literature in the late 18th and early 19th century. Tieck contributed at least two Ossianic poems to the text of the novel, which were his first published poems and effectively his first literary translations from English. He also wrote a chapter and a half at the end of the novel(the text later published as a stand-alone piece, 'Ryno', in the "Nachgelassene Schriften", 1855). The novel itself is inspired by Friedrich Schiller's play "Die Raeuber" ("The Robbers"), which was first published in 1781. Rambach transplants the action to the medieval Scottish Highlands. The characters are all given Ossianic names such as Dunkan, Malwina, Carno, Toskar, Linuf and Dunchomar, and the author revels in bleak and chilling imagery and depicting the barren landscapes of the Highlands. The two main characters of the novel are the feuding brothers, Carno and Ryno, the sons of Tondal, who are in love with Malwina, the daughter of Toskar. She has promised that she will be given to the one who proves himself the braver, either the noble and brave Carno or the spiteful and sinister Ryno. Tieck's contribution to the novel was part of the seventh chapter and the whole of the following final one, in which his task was to depict Ryno's growing shame for his cruelty towards his brother, and the ensuing destruction he brings upon himself. Although "Die eiserne Maske" was reprinted as recently as in 1984, it has never appeared in English.
ShelfmarkAB.1.215.67
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on06/03/15
AuthorAnon
TitleThe history and love adventures of Roswal and Lillian
ImprintGlasgow: J. & M. Robertson
Date of Publication1788
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded Glasgow printing of a Scottish verse romance "Roswal and Lillian". The tale appears to be medieval in origin, and concerns Roswal(l) a prince of Naples who is forced into exile by his father, but who eventually finds love in his new home and marries the king's daughter Lillian. Sir Walter Scott records hearing the song sung in his youth in Edinburgh sung by an old person wandering through the streets. The first recorded printing of the work was in Edinburgh in 1663, there are then four recorded editions in the second half of the 18th century, printed in Newcastle and Edinburgh. The printers of this Glasgow edition, James and Matthew Robertson, were two of the principal printers of chapbooks in Scotland from 1782 onwards. From at least 1777 they were publishing children's books, most of which are reprints of titles published by John Newbery of London. They also imported them from England.
ShelfmarkAP.1.215.14
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes, Scottish Book Trade Index
Acquired on06/03/15
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