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 rarebooks@nls.uk


Important Acquisitions 76 to 90 of 775:

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AuthorSir Edmund du Cane
TitleAn account of the manner in which sentences of penal servitude are carried out in England
ImprintLondon: H.M.P. Millbank
Date of Publication1882
NotesThis is a presentation copy of a work on the penal system in England. It was given by the author, Sir Edmund Du Cane (18301903), to the 5th Earl of Rosebery, who was then, as a member of Gladstone's Liberal government, under-secretary at the Home Office, with particular responsibility for Scottish matters. The book also includes a brief letter, dated 7 March 1883, from Du Cane to Rosebery. Du Cane was one of the most important prison administrators of Victorian Britain. After serving in the army, where he organised convict labour in Australia, he became in 1863 a director of convict prisons and an inspector of military prisons. A few years later he took on the posts of chairman of the convict prison directors, surveyor-general of prisons, and inspector-general of military prisons. Du Cane "exercised a profound influence on the direction of penal policy between 1870 and 1895" (ODNB). This work printed at the press at Millbank prison, London, is an update of a paper originally prepared for the First International Prison Congress which met in London in 1872. It outlines the increasingly centralised prison system in operation in England, a system which conformed to Du Cane's belief that adult criminals required short, severe prison sentences. The term 'penal servitude' was coined in 1853 with the first Penal Servitude Act, which substituted sentences of imprisonment in lieu of transportation. Under Du Cane's regime prisoners could expect solitary confinement, severe conditions such as a plank bed, a very coarse diet, no visits, no library books or writing materials, and gruelling hard labour, often including oakum picking or the treadmill. The final stage was conditional release under police supervision. It was this Du Cane-influenced system that Oscar Wilde experienced as prisoner C.3.3. in Reading gaol in 1895 to 1897, and which he bitterly criticised in "The ballad of Reading gaol". Since 1877 Scotland's prisons had also been brought under Home Office control and a Prisons Commission for Scotland had been created. Du Cane was no doubt anxious that Scotland moved to a centralised system in line with England, and in the letter accompanying this book he notes that he is "highly flattered" by Rosebery's request for this additional copy of his work, which is in a "prettier" red, half-morocco binding. Du Cane eventually retired in 1895, amid growing disapproval by liberal politicians and civil servants of his methods and imperious manner. Penal servitude, however, was not abolished in England until 1948, Scotland followed suit two years later.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of national Biography
Acquired on03/05/13
AuthorFriedrich von Coelln
TitlePraktisches Handbuch fuer Staats- und regierungsbeamte besonders in den preussischen Staaten: nach Anleitung Adam Smiths Untersuchung ueber die Natur des Nationalreichthums.
ImprintBerlin : G. Hann,
Date of Publication1816
NotesClln's substantial commentary on Adam Smith is one of a handful of early nineteenth century works that helped stimulate his study and appreciation in Germany. This scholarship into Smith was one of the prime factors that led to a general increase in German literature on pure and applied economics in these formative years. The same publisher issued the first edition in 1812 under the title Die neue Staatsweisheit; both editions are rare.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on09/04/13
AuthorSotheby and Son
TitleA catalogue of a most extensive and valuable collection of Greek and Roman coins and medals, in gold, silver, and copper ... formed by the Right Hon. James Earl of Morton,
Imprint[London: Sotheby & Son]
Date of Publication1830
NotesThis is the Sotheby's sale catalogue of the remarkable collection of Greek and Roman coins and medals assembled by the Scottish aristocrat James Douglas, fourteenth earl of Morton (1702-1768), natural philosopher and astronomer. Douglas served on a number of august British scientific bodies; he was President of the Philosophical Society of Edinburgh from its foundation in 1737 until his death. He also became President of the Royal Society (24 March 1764), and was a distinguished patron of science, and particularly of astronomy. A trustee of the British Museum and member of the longitude commission, he was also one of the commissioners of annexed estates between 1755 and 1760, but never attended a meeting. This copy is inter-leaved throughout with details of buyers and prices fetched throughout the six days of the sale and is bound in contemporary red morocco.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on08/03/13
AuthorAlexander Duncan, 1747-1816
TitleA navy sermon delivered on board His Majesty's Ship Venerable of seventy-four guns.
ImprintLondon : J. Marshall
Date of Publication1798?
NotesThis rare pamphlet (only one other copy of this printing is recorded, in the British Library, but none in ESTC) reproduces the text of a prayer of thanksgiving and a sermon given after the naval battle of Camperdown which took place off the Dutch coast near the village of Kamperduin. The author of "A navy sermon" was the Rev. Dr Alexander Duncan (1747-1816), who served as chaplain on the "Venerable", the ship commanded by his cousin and fellow-Scot Admiral Adam Duncan (1731-1804). Admiral Duncan was then commander-in-chief of the British fleet in the North Sea. On 11 October 1797 he attacked the Dutch fleet (the Dutch were allies of France in the French Revolutionary Wars), and after a long and bloody engagement decisively defeated it. Camperdown proved to be the most significant action between British and Dutch forces during the 1790s, giving the British complete control of the North Sea. It was also regarded as the greatest ever victory for a British fleet over an equal enemy force to that date, although it was later overshadowed by Nelson's victories in the Napoleonic Wars. Admiral Duncan was a deeply religious man and in the aftermath of the battle, with the "Venerable" itself severely damaged, he assembled all of those men fit to attend for a church service to "return thanks to Almighty God for all His mercies showered on them and him." Leading the service was his cousin Alexander, a minister in the Episcopal Church, who in 1795 had become rector of Bolam parish in Northumberland, but who also served in the Royal Navy. In a surviving miniature portrait of Dr Duncan there is a quote attributed to King George III inscribed on the back, "Would to God that all my subjects were as loyal as Dr Duncan." Dr Duncan uttered suitably stirring and patriotic words for the occasion, and was prompted to publish the words of his service by a letter from members of the "Venerable"'s company (the text of the letter is reproduced here as well as a letter from Dr Duncan to his cousin). This 1798(?) printing would appear to have been a private printing solely for distribution to various members of the ship's company (a copy of a later 1799 London printing, by a different printer, is recorded in the library of the US Navy Dept.) This particular copy was a presentation copy for Admiral Duncan, who by this time had been created Viscount Duncan of Camperdown and Baron Duncan of Lundie. It is bound in contemporary tree calf with gold tooling and has a leather label on the front board "Lord Viscount Duncan", reflecting his change in status. It has also has a later gilt stamp on it "Camperdown Library" which indicates that it was at one time held in the family mansion of Camperdown House in Dundee, built in 1828 to replace the old family home of Lundie House, which was demolished that year. Dr Alexander Duncan seems to have retired to the quiet life of a minister, publishing one further work in 1799 "Miscellaneous essays, naval, moral, political, and divine". Four of his nine sons are known to have served in the Royal Navy.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; A. Orr, The Duncans of Dundee and Camperdown: followed in the line of the Reverend Doctor Alexander Duncan DD, [Montrose, 2000]
Acquired on08/03/13
AuthorGilles, Nicole.
TitleLes annales et croniques de France
ImprintParis: Barbe Regnault
Date of Publication1560
NotesThis book has been donated from the collection of the late John Buchanan-Brown (d. 2011), author and translator of French books. It includes a typescript article by him on the provenance of the book and in particular of one its owners, John Somer. The book also has a notable Scottish provenance, the contemporary calf binding being gilt-stamped with the name "Franciscus Stevartvs", presumably Francis Stewart, 1st Earl of Bothwell (1562-1612). Francis was a son of John Stewart, Lord Darnley, Prior of Coldingham, who was an illegitimate child of James V of Scotland by his mistress Elizabeth Carmichael. The first owner of the book, however, was John Somer (1527?-1585), an English diplomat, who probably purchased the book when he was in Paris in 1559 to 1562, serving Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, the English ambassador to the French court. Somer has signed the title page of vol. 1 of the book and and also written his motto "Iuste. Sobrie.pie" 'Soberly, righteously and godly' - taken from The Epistle of Paul to Titus in the New Testament. Somer has also made occasional corrections and annotations to the text in a neat and minute italic hand. Somer became a highly-regarded diplomat, being involved in negotiations with the French court during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and was renowned for his skills in deciphering letters written in code, such as the ones written by Mary of Guise to her brothers in France in 1560 which had been intercepted by the English. Ill-health prevented Somer from taking up the post of ambassador to the Scottish court in 1583, but his final job in 1584 was linked to Scotland, namely acting as one the minders of the captive Mary Queen of Scots; his skills as a code-breaker no doubt acting as a deterrent to Mary's supporters trying to send messages to her. He died the following year shortly after having managed to secure release from his job due to his ill health.
Acquired on01/03/13
AuthorJames Maxwell
TitleA poem descriptive of the ancient and noble seat of Hawk-head.
ImprintPaisley: printed and sold for the author
Date of Publication1786.
NotesThis is an unrecorded topographical poem by James Maxwell (1720-1800), the self-styled 'poet in Paisley'. Maxwell worked as a packman, weaver, clerk, school usher, and stone-breaker; in 1787 he was awarded a charitable allowance by the town council of Paisley, which he continued to enjoy until his death. One of the most prolific versifiers of his day, Maxwell issued nearly 60 separate poetical pieces, most of them of not particularly high quality, although his biographer in ODNB notes that he represents "the terminus of the virile strain of poetry of Calvinist pietism in eighteenth-century Scotland". This particular poem is dedicated to the Dowager Countess of Glasgow, Elizabeth (d. 1791), daughter of Lord Ross. The final leaf carries some additional lines, seemingly printed after the poem had been sent to the press, celebrating the ice house with its pineapple and strawberry ice creams, and the pigsties which produce 'charming ham'. The Hawkhead estate, situated just over two miles south east of Paisley, had descended in the Countess of Glasgow's own family and came to her as sole heiress of the Ross barony. In 1914 the house became part of a mental hospital called Hawkhead Asylum (now Leverndale Hospital) before being eventually demolished in 1953. The provenance of this copy is noteworthy. It belonged to Alexander Boswell Dun, the son of James Boswell's tutor, John Dun, as can be seen by the ownership inscription 'Boswell Dun' at the head of the title page. John Dun had been hired as tutor by the biographer's father when he came to Auchinleck in 1749, and a few years later he became minister at the local church, through the patronage of Boswell's father. Alexander Boswell Dun of Rigg was presumably named clearly in honour of the Laird who had done so much for his father.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on22/02/13
AuthorOlin, Valerian Nikolaevich.
TitleSrazhenie pri Lore: epicheskaia poema iz Ossiana [The Battle of Lora: an epic poem from Ossian].
ImprintSt Petersburg: at the Navy Press,
Date of Publication1813
NotesIn 1792 Ermil Ivanovich Kostrov produced the first complete prose version of James Macpherson's Ossianic poems in Russian, based largely Letourneur's 1765 French translation. Over the next 30 years Kostrov's translation of the poems was very influential in Russia, stimulating interest in folk poetry and the national past, and serving as the basis of numerous versified translations in the late 18th and early 19th century by Ozerov, Pushkin and others. In 1813 the St Petersburg translator, journalist, and editor Valerian Olin (1788-1840?) produced this free translation of The Battle of Lora into Russian verse. The Battle of Lora was one of the poems that appeared first in prose form in James Macpherson's "Fingal an ancient epic poem" (London, 1762); an English verse translation by Samuel Derrick being published the same year. Olin in the introduction to his translation defends the authenticity of Ossian, regarding, like other Russians of his generation, the Ossianic poems as models of northern European poetry on a par with the Classical poetry of Greece and Rome. Olin would go on to publish two further adaptions taken from Fingal in 1823 and 1824. The provenance of this volume is particularly interesting as it was formerly in the Russian Imperial Library at Tsarsko(y)e Selo, as is shown by the stamp on the half title, and pencilled shelf-mark '64/1' to front end-leaf. It is bound in a contemporary red morocco binding with a gilt border. Tsarskoe Selo, a country estate 14 miles south of St Petersburg was owned by the Russian royal family and was developed by the empress Catherine the Great, who had the existing palaces and buildings extended and refurbished. Much of the work was carried out under the supervision of the London Scot, Charles Cameron (1745-1812), who was Catherine's chief architect on the site. Tsarskoe Selo served as a primary summer residence of the Russian tsars. It was also the place for official receptions of Russian nobility and representatives of foreign states, who were visiting Russia with diplomatic missions. Following the overthrow of the Tsar Nicholas II in 1917, the Russian royal family were kept under house arrest at Tsarskoe Seloe from March to August of that year. Nicholas II's loyal minister Count Paul Benckendorff, in his account of their captivity at the estate "Last days at Tsarskoe Seloe", noted that the library of the Alexander Palace, which was a very good one, was thrown open to the Tsar's children who were being educated, in the absence of their usual schoolmasters, by their parents and the staff at the palace. After the October Revolution of 1917, the contents of the Imperial Library were dispersed, with many of the books ending up in the USA in the 1920s and 30s. Only two other copies of this translation are recorded in major libraries, in Harvard University in the USA and the National Library of Russia. This particular copy is lacking the leaf of errata and leaf with dedication to the statesman and book collector Count Nikolai Petrovich Rumiantsov; it is possible that both were removed when the book was bound for the Imperial Palace.
Reference SourcesP. France, 'Fingal in Russia' in "The reception of Ossian in Europe" ed. H. Gaskill (London & New York, 2004) The Caledonian Phalanx: Scots in Russia (Edinburgh: NLS, 1987)
Acquired on01/02/13
AuthorIsham, Charles, Sir
TitleThe tyrant of the Cuchullin hills
Imprint[Lamport, Northamptonshire?: s.n.]
Date of Publication[1878?]
NotesThis is lithographed book, privately printed by the rural improver and gardener Sir Charles Isham (1819-1903), probably at his family estate of Lamport, Northanptonshire. Inspired by a trip to the Isle of Skye, the text is a poem about an eagle terrorising the sheep population of Skye. The verse is, as noted elsewhere on this database, of a decidely poor quality; Isham enjoyed producing entertaining doggerel verse to accompany his display of garden gnomes and this poem falls into the category of doggerel. Copies of a pamphlet version, dating from the 1860s?, exist in various states with different ornamental borders and illustrations (e.g. RB.m.515, purchased a few years ago). This is a 'deluxe' edition, bound in morocco, with the text on thick card with gilt edges. Unlike the pamphlet version this copy has no preliminary leaves of explanatory text and consists only of the text of the poem. The text is presented within elaborate ornamental borders and includes illustrations based on water colours by Isham; it is also illustrated with albumen prints of Skye landscapes and sheep. Isham appears to have been an enthusiastic producer of booklets on his estate, using lithography to create brightly coloured books.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary National Biography
Acquired on01/02/13
AuthorAdam Smith
TitleThe theory of moral sentiments. 2nd edition.
ImprintLondon : A. Millar
Date of Publication1761
NotesThis is one of the 750 copies printed of the second edition of the "The theory of moral sentiments". The second edition is notable for the inclusion of replies to criticisms of the first edition by David Hume. Commonly regarded as the work that established Smith's international reputation, he himself always considered it his finest work. First published in 1759, it was an immediate success and eventually ran to six editions, the last of which Smith extensively revised just before he died in 1790. It is often said that we cannot properly understand the "Wealth of Nations" without a knowledge of "The Theory of Moral Sentiments". The other two copies of the second edition in NLS's collections are held in deposited collections, so the purchase of this copy ensures that NLS has its own copies of all the English-language editions of the work printed in the 18th century.
Acquired on25/01/13
AuthorKalley, Robert Reid
Title[6 pamphlets by or relating to Robert Reid Kalley]
ImprintLisbon & Funchal
Date of Publication1845-1875
NotesThis is a collection of six pamphlets, printed in Portugal and Funchal in Madeira, relating to the controversial career of Dr Robert Reid Kalley (1809-1888), a Scottish missionary. Kalley was born and brought up in Glasgow. After qualifying in medicine and surgery at Glasgow University, he practised medicine in Ayrshire, where he refound his Christian faith, lost in his teens, and rejoined the Church of Scotland. Kalley was accepted as a potential missionary by the London Missionary Society in 1837, but was obliged to resign shortly afterwards when he became engaged to be married, without the Society's permission. His wife was found to be ill with tuberculosis, so, seeking a milder, drier climate for her, in October 1838 Kalley and his wife travelled to Funchal, on the island of Madeira, initially to spend the winter there. Funchal had a large colony of British residents, but the devout Christian Kalley was unhappy with what he regarded as the spiritual laxity of the Anglican ex-pat community. He decided to become ordained as a minister, but, rather than spend years of theological study demanded by the Church of Scotland, he went to London where he was ordained in the Congregational ministry in July 1839. However, he renounced the title Reverend and remained throughout his life formally a member of the Church of Scotland. On the way back to Madeira he obtained a medical qualification in Lisbon, which enabled him to practise in Portugal. Kalley subsequently worked as a medical missionary, unsupported by any society and unconnected with any denomination of the church. He learned Portuguese and opened a clinic for Madeiran patients, treating the poor for free. He began preaching to his patients, organized worship in his house for local people and created seventeen schools to teach literacy, so that the Madeiran people could read and understand the Bible. Kalley's evangelizing brought him into conflict with the Catholic Church and the local police. He was eventually arrested and imprisoned in July 1843 on charges of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy, which carried the death penalty. From prison he mounted a campaign for his release in the British newspapers, while the British embassy in Lisbon helped to secure his release in January 1844. Kalley was unbowed by his imprisonment and resumed his work in Madeira despite continued harassment of his local followers and the disquiet of the local British community and consular staff at his activities. He visited Scotland in the summer of 1845, where he addressed the Free Church assembly. A Free Church missionary, William Hewitson, had already arrived in the island and was at this time baptizing his converts. The first pamphlet in this collection, "Revista historica do proselytismo anticatholico" (Funchal, 1845), written by an anonymous 'Madeirense', dates from this period and is an attack on Kalley's work on the island. Kalley's response to this pamphlet was published in Lisbon in 1846 "Observacoes sobre a revista historica do proselytismo". After Hewitson left Madeira, in poor health, in May 1846, Kalley found himself increasingly isolated on the island and again accused of anti-Catholic proselytizing. In August 1846 a crowd headed by a Jesuit priest drove 'Calvinistas' from their homes, and ransacked Kalley's house, burned his books, and demanded 'Death to the wolf from Scotland'. Kalley, fearing for his life, disguised himself as a Madeiran peasant woman, and was carried in a hammock to the harbour, where he and his wife escaped from Madeira on a British ship. Several hundred of his followers were subsequently expelled from their homes in Madeira, settling first in the West Indies and then in the USA. Despite his escape from Madeira, Kalley seems to have maintained links to Madeira. The English-language pamphlet "A few plain words to visitors to the island of Madeira on the present position of the English Church there" written by 'a visitor', published in Funchal in 1848, appears to have been written by him and printed on his behalf. It is a sharply worded attack on the Anglican community there and a "priest of the English Church in this island" who has committed "a most gross act of Schism". Although, Kalley's name is not mentioned anywhere in the pamphlet, it is clearly meant as a vindication of his work on the island. After a period travelling through Europe, the Middle East and north Africa, during which time his first wife died, Kalley settled in Brazil with his new wife, where he continued to work as a medical missionary and prosletytize, this time in a more low-key manner, and without harassment from the more liberal Brazilian government. His turbulent time on Madeira still seems to have exercised him. The collection also contains three different Lisbon printings of a work by him, two dated 1875 from the press of a presumably British printer based in Lisbon (W.T. Wood's Typographia Luso-britannica), the other undated. The work bears the title "Exposicao de factos [etc.]" ("An exposition of the facts relating to the aggression against protestants on the island of Madeira"). It deals with the events of 1843, reproducing official documents relating to Kalley in this period. Not long after the publication of this work, Kalley and his wife retired to Edinburgh in 1876, where he was elected a director of the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society, and where he died in 1888.
ShelfmarkAP.1.213.32 ; AP.1.213.31 ; AP.1.213.30 ; AP.1.213.29(1) ; AP.1.213.29(2)
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; W. B. Forsyth, The wolf from Scotland: the story of Robert Reid Kalley, pioneer missionary, Darlington, 1988.
Acquired on25/01/13
AuthorRamsay, James.
TitleSea sermons: or, a series of discourses for the use of the Royal Navy.
ImprintLondon: J. Rivington
Date of Publication1781
NotesThis is collection of fourteen sermons by the Scottish surgeon and abolitionist James Ramsay (1733-1789), "which reveal a genuine affection for the sailor, an understanding of his character, and an appreciation of his contribution to the nation"(ODNB). Ramsay was born in Fraserburgh and educated at Aberdeen University. He joined the Navy in 1757, serving as ship's doctor on board "The Arundel". When his ship intercepted the British slave ship "Swift" in 1759, Ramsay found over 100 slaves suffering from dysentery, lying in their own blood and excreta, a scene which affected him so profoundly that, on returning to his ship, he fell and fractured his thigh bone. Made permanently lame by the fall, and facing the end of his naval career, Ramsay sought ordination in the Anglican church to enable him to work among slaves. He served as both clerk and surgeon in St. Kitts from 1761 to 1777, then rejoined the navy in 1778 as a chaplain in the West Indies station. "Sea sermons" address the perils and temptations of a life at sea, such as mutiny, desertion, drunkenness, and swearing. His phrase used in the book, "You and your fellow combattants[sic] were a band of brothers engaged in one cause", was a phrase later adopted by Nelson when seeking to inspire his crew. The same year as this book was published, Ramsay returned from the West Indies to live in London, where he was occupied with reform of the Navy Board, the recruitment of surgeons for the first colonising expedition to Australia in 1787 and promoting the abolitionist cause. Only 4 other copies of this book are recorded in ESTC.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on30/11/12
Author[Dodsley, Robert, ed.]
TitleA collection of poems in six volumes.
ImprintLondon : J. Dodsley
Date of Publication1770
NotesThis handsome 6-volume set of English poetry was bound by James Scott of Edinburgh, the most celebrated of 18th-century Scottish bookbinders. It was formerly in the library of Invercauld Castle, Aberdeenshire, one of a number of bindings executed by Scott for the Farquharson family who lived there. Dodsley's first collection of poetry was published in 1748, in three volumes, later editions were expanded to six volumes as a sign of its popularity. These particular bindings are not identified in Loudon's 1980 work on James and William Scott, but can be identified by the use of the Italianate operatic mask tool on the spines, which was one of Scott's tools. The flourish used to decorate the centre of some of the spine compartments can also be identified as a Scott tool, as well as the roll used to edge the boards.
Reference SourcesJ.H. Loudon, James Scott and William Scott, bookbinders (1980); Bookseller's notes
Acquired on16/11/12
Author[Morris, James Archibald]
TitlePhotographs of the auld brig of Ayr (built about fifteenth century)
Imprint[Ayr: s.n.]
Date of Publication1910
NotesThis a rare privately-published photo album documenting, in a series of 28 numbered photographs, the restoration of Ayr's most famous landmark, the Auld Brig. Built in the 15th-century, the bridge featured in Robert Burns's poems "The Brigs o' Ayr" and "Tam o'Shanter". By the start of the 20th-century the bridge was in poor condition and was almost demolished. However, a campaign led by architect and local historian James Archibald Morris (1857-1942), and supported by the Earl of Rosebery, was successful in raising funds for restoring the Auld Brig to its former glory. As the cover of the album informs us, 11,000 was raised from subscribers around the world, with the restoration work taking place between 1907 and 1910. The Earl of Rosebery re-opened the bridge on 29 July 1910. All bar three of the 28 gelatine prints were taken by Morris, who was a keen amateur photographer. Morris presumably arranged for the photographs to be bound in albums (with a leaf of explanatory notes for each photograph) and distributed, presumably to members of the executive committee of the Ayr Auld Brig preservation campaign whose names appear on the back cover.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on16/11/12
AuthorNahum Tate
TitleThe history of King Lear, a tragedy.
ImprintGlasgow : Printed by William Duncan Junior,
Date of Publication1756
NotesR. and A. Foulis had issued 'Lear' in 1753, using Pope's text, including it in their 'works' of 1766. They were following the literary tradition. William Duncan junior chose instead to publish Nahum Tate's adaptation, which was used for performances of the play. Another edition of Tate's version was issued in Glasgow, anonymously, in 1758. Tate's adaptation is not well regarded today. He axes the fool and gives the play a happy ending with Lear surviving to see Cordelia and Edgar marry. Addison disapproved but Dr. Johnson defended Tate's version and it seems to have been popular: the happy ending and exclusion of the weirder bits presumably ensured 'bums on seats'. Tate's version was the version of 'Lear' that audiences almost always saw, from the Restoration through to the Romantic period. It wasn't performed at all when George III began to suffer from mental health problems, and then, after his death, the literary original began to be used again.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on02/11/12
AuthorAudubon, John James
TitleOrnithological biography: or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America
ImprintEdinburgh: Adam & Charles Black,
Date of Publication1831-1849[i.e.1839]
NotesThis is a complete 5-volume set of Audubon's "Ornithological biography" in their original salmon-pink cloth bindings (the existing set in NLS is incomplete, lacking vol. 5). The work was written by Audubon in collaboration with the Scottish naturalist William MacGillivray; it was intended as a text companion to the elephant folio volumes comprising the plates of "Birds of America". Audubon's last three visits to Scotland in the 1830s were primarily devoted to working with MacGillivray in Edinburgh on the book. The text was published separately from the plates to circumvent the Copyright Act, which would have required that Audubon deposit sets of "Birds of America" with the UK legal deposit libraries.
Acquired on19/10/12
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