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.

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 841 to 855 of 864:

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AuthorWalter Scott
TitleCarle, now the King's come: a song: on His Majesty's visit to Scotland.
ImprintLondon : Hebert
Date of Publication1822
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded London edition of a song Walter Scott wrote to commemorate King George IV's visit to Edinburgh in August 1822, the first visit of a reigning monarch to Scotland in nearly two centuries. Scott was in charge of the organising of the festivities surrounding the visit, "Carle, now the King's come" was inspired by the 17th-century song "Carle an the King come" which expressed loyalists' longing for the restoration of the monarchy during the period of the Commonwealth. Scott's song was set to music and published in 1822. It also inspired an anti-monarchy version "Sawney now the King's come" by Alexander Rodger of Paisley. Little is known of the publisher George Hebert and the BBTI does not record the printer, Cox, working at the address given in the colophon "Little Carter Lane, St. Paul's", which would indicate that this was an unauthorised version cashing in on Scott's popularity. This copy has the bookplate of the Ohio industrialist William G. Mather (1857-1951) and has been housed in a silk folder inside a morocco solander case, with gilt tooling, probably by Zaehnsdorf of London, who bound other works of Scott for Mather.
ShelfmarkRB.m.760
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on18/03/16
AuthorWatt, James and John Robison
TitleArticles Steam and Steam-Engines
Imprint[Edinburgh]
Date of Publication[1817-1818?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is one of the most important books dealing with the ground-breaking inventions of the Scottish engineer James Watt. Watt's steam engine made the railway revolution possible, and it is remarkable that this publication seems to be very rare. The book is a separate edition of John Robison's articles on Watt's discoveries written for the Encyclopedia Britannica, printed here with extensive and critical footnotes by James Watt himself. This appears to be the only time Watt ventured into print to discuss his inventions. Eight folding plates in good condition illustrate the processes described (designed by William Creighton and engraved by Lizars of Edinburgh). This is a nice presentation copy, with an inscription to a Dr. Hope in Watt's hand: the book later passed to the Hope Trust, an Edinburgh-based society for the promotion of temperance. The trust's bookplate is inside the front board.
ShelfmarkRB.m.492
Acquired on03/03/03
AuthorWelsh, Irvine
Title[Trainspotting] The glossary.
ImprintReed Books
Date of Publication1996
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis booklet has been signed by Irvine Welsh and gives a basic insight to the vernacular used in the novel. Examples range from the purely Edinburgh expressions "barry" (great) or "swedge" (fight), include the fairly self-explanatory (to most Scots ears at least) "maist", although the description of "Oor Wullie" (popular Scottish cartoon character (Our William))would boggle the minds of anyone familiar with the works of D.C. Thomson. The novel itself had been published several years previously to great acclaim, however the glossary was published as a tie-in with the recently released film.
ShelfmarkAPS.2.206.050
Acquired on17/11/00
AuthorWestminster Assembly
TitleFoirceadul aith-ghearr cheasnuighe [The shorter catechism]
ImprintGlas-gho: Anna Orr
Date of Publication1776
LanguageScottish Gaelic
NotesBooks in Scottish Gaelic are a key part of the National Library's collections, and we acquire such items wherever possible. This is a good copy of an eighteenth-century catechism, which also includes the alphabet, the Ten Commandments, various prayers, and a guide to numbers in arabic and roman. It was clearly designed for educational purposes. The book is particularly interesting as it was printed for a woman publisher, Anna Orr.
ShelfmarkABS.1.205.031
Reference SourcesSBTI Scottish Gaelic Union Catalogue 2769
Acquired on13/09/05
AuthorWilliam Blacker
TitleW. Blacker's art of angling, and complete system of fly making and dying [sic] of colours
Imprint[London: W. Blacker]
Date of Publication1842
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis 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'.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2898
Acquired on23/05/14
AuthorWilliam Blackwood (firm)
Title[Printing blocks]
Date of Publication[1840-1890?]
Notes64 blocks from the Edinburgh printing and publishing firm of William Blackwood, with 43 proofs recently printed at the Tragara Press, in excellent condition. Some blocks have a base of wood, some of metal, but all have a good-quality metal (mainly copper) surface. The images include scenes from a printer's workshop, steam trains and steam agricultural vehicles, landscapes, birds and animals, towns and harbours. Many are signed or initialled by the designer. They probably date from the mid-to-late 19th century.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2729
Acquired on19/06/07
AuthorWilliam Brodie, Aeneas Morison
TitleThe trial of William Brodie wright and cabinet maker in Edinburgh
ImprintEdinburgh: Charles Elliot
Date of Publication1788
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the first issue, in original wrappers, of Elliot's publication of Aeneas Morison's account of the trial, published on 6 September 1788, which does not have the appendix (pp. [261]-279 of subsequent issues) and the frontispiece portrait of Brodie. As indicated in William Roughead's 'Trial of William Brodie' (Glasgow, 1906 - p. 233), in the introductory paragraph to the appendix it states that the inclusion of the extra material, relating to but not actually covered in the trial itself, was the result of a misunderstanding with William Creech. Creech had included this material in his published account of the trial and Aeneas Morison felt that readers of his version of the trial should not be disadvantaged: he is of the opinion, that he intitled to put the purchasers of his account of the trial on a footing with those who have purchased Mr Creeche's [sic], by furnishing them gratis with the following Appendix (p. [261]).
ShelfmarkAB.3.214.146
Reference SourcesW. Roughead, 'The trial of William Brodie', Glasgow, 1906.
Acquired on30/05/14
AuthorWilliam Brown
TitleHonour on crutches
ImprintGlasgow: William Lang
Date of Publication1822
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded pamphlet which resembles something of a modern-day Twitter spat. The text reveals, in full, a brief exchange of letters between William Brown of Greenockmains, Muirkirk, and Alexander Aird of Crossflatt, Muirkirk, in which Aird accuses Brown in a letter, dated 26 November 1821, of uttering defamatory words at the last meeting of the Muirkirk Debating Society. The alleged words were that "clergymen were better adepted [sic] for Justice of the Peace then sheep smearer, or in otherwords, then one whose fingers were dipt in tarr." And Aird assumed that he was "the person intitled the sheep smearer" referred to by Brown. The latter confirms that it was he who spoke the words at the Society meeting and Aird immediately proposes a duel as the only solution. Brown responds with a witty putdown to which Aird does not reply. Aird's letters are printed with a number of spelling mistakes, intended to highlight his lack of education and low social standing. The final two letters of Brown, dated 17 December, 1821 and 17 April, 1822, remain unanswered by Aird, the final letter announcing Brown's intention to publish the correspondence in view of Aird's failure to apologise to Brown. The final three pages of the pamphlet are devoted to "Notes" by Brown explaining the history of the Muirkirk Debating Society (instituted in 1820 with fortnightly meetings to discuss "questions unconnected with religion and politics"), sheep smearing and duelling. Quite why Brown really felt the need to go to the lengths of revealing his dispute with Aird is a mystery, perhaps because Aird felt sufficiently provoked to challenge him to a duel (four years later, in 1826, the last recorded duel in Scotland was fought in Fife).
ShelfmarkAP.2.217.01
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on11/11/16
AuthorWilliam Bruce
TitleEpistola Gulielmi Brussii Scoti. Ad illustrem D. Johannen Gostomium.
ImprintGoerlitz, s.n.
Date of Publication1596
LanguageLatin
NotesBy the end of the 16th-century there was a large number of Scottish emigrants living in Poland and lands adjoining the Baltic Sea. One of the most prominent was the Scottish Catholic William Bruce. Born in Stanstill in Caithness around 1560 and educated in France, William Bruce worked in universities there before moving to Rome and then on to German city of Wuerzburg to take up the Chair of Law. Bruce's academic career was interrupted by a spell serving as a mercenary soldier when he joined the military campaign against the Ottoman Empire on the Slovak-Hungarian front. In 1595 he arrived in Poland and shortly afterwards he accepted the Polish Chancellor Zamoyski's offer of teaching Roman law at his recently inaugurated Humanist academy in Zamosc. During this time he had printed at least three pamphlets, including this one dated Torun, 12 February, attacking the Turks and stressing their threat to the Christian kingdoms of eastern and central Europe - the other two works are: "Ad principes populorum Christianum, de bello adversus Turcos gerendo" (Leipzig 1595) and "De Tartaris diarium" (Frankfurt, 1598). After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, Bruce would became James VI/I's royal agent to Poland, securing trade links between Britain and Poland and protecting the rights of Scottish and English settler in Poland and Prussia.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2843
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes. J.K. Fedorowicz, England's Baltic trade in the early seventeenth century, (Cambridge, 1980).
Acquired on25/05/12
AuthorWilliam Carrick
TitleLes types Russes
Imprint[St. Petersburg: s.n.]
Date of Publicationc. 1860-1870]
Languagen/a
NotesAn album of 24 carte-de-visite photographs pasted onto folding boards, making up a portfolio. William Carrick (1827-78) was born in Edinburgh but moved to Russia the following year when his father set up a timber business in Kronstadt, the port of St. Petersburg. William visited Scotland in 1857 where he met a young professional photographer, John MacGregor, who encouraged him in his plans to set up a photographic studio in St Petersburg. Carrick's studio opened in 1859 and MacGregor joined him to work together in the business. When they were not taking commissioned portraits, Carrick would invite people from the street in to have their photographs taken. He called these portraits his 'Russian types' and he and MacGregor photographed a broad cross-section of Russian society, from nuns, to street hawkers, coachmen and soldiers. These photographs found approval with the Russian court, Carrick getting a diamond ring from Tsar Alexander II. It is unusual to find Carrick 'Russian types' photographs in this album format. The title in French on the front cover suggests that the album may have been produced for the Russian court as French was the main language of the court.
ShelfmarkPhot.sm.130
Reference SourcesF. Ashbee & J. Lawson, "William Carrick 1827-1878" [Edinburgh, 1987] (Scottish Masters series no. 3)
Acquired on20/05/08
AuthorWilliam Gilpin (& John Heaviside Clark)
TitleA practical illustration of Gilpin's day: representing the various effects on landscape scenery from morning till night
ImprintLondon: Edward Orme
Date of Publication1811
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a rare first edition of a book illustrating the effects of light and the weather on the landscape. It reproduces landscape sketches by William Gilpin (1724-1804), an English writer on art, school teacher and clergyman, who is now best known for being one of the first people to put forward the idea of the picturesque in art. In his 1768 "Essay on Prints" he outlined 'the principles of picturesque beauty, the different kinds of prints, and the characters of the most noted masters'. For Gilpin 'picturesque' was 'a term expressive of that peculiar kind of beauty, which is agreeable in a picture'; moreover, beauty could have an improving moral influence which meant that viewing a landscape was a religious as well as an aesthetic experience. Gilpin travelled the length and breadth of Britain, with his notebook and sketching materials, searching out picturesque locations in order to demonstrate his theories. From 1782 a series of works by Gilpin were published with the title "Observations on & relative chiefly to picturesque beauty". In these books, which covered specific areas of Britain, Gilpin's pen and wash sketches of landscapes were reproduced in aquatint plates. His picturesque books proved to be very popular, however his didactic and pedantic tone grated with some authors, and with professional artists such as John Landseer, who dismissed his 'aquatinted smearings & tarnished with false principles of art'. Gilpin was also mercilessly satirised in William Combe's Doctor Syntax books, first published in the 1810s. Despite his critics, there was still a devoted readership for Gilpin's works among amateur artists and they continued to be published after his death in 1804. In 1810, the London print seller and publisher Edward Orme published a work entitled "The last work published of W. Gilpin ... representing the effect of a morning, a noon tide, and an evening sun" (better known as "Gilpin's day"), which reproduced 30 of Gilpin's landscape drawings as monochromatic aquatints, ordered according to the times of day. The success of the work prompted Orme to republish it a year later as "A practical illustration of Gilpin's day", rearranging the order of the plates and with an introduction and descriptive text for each plate by the Scottish artist John Heaviside Clark. In addition, Clark hand-coloured the plates, adding spectacular dashes of colour and dramatic effects, such as rainbows and flashes of lightning, to the rather muted aquatints of the earlier edition. Clark's jazzing up of Gilpin's soft colours reflected a change in popular taste; people no longer favoured standardised depictions of landscapes with universal appeal but rather wanted to see particular landscapes and individual features highlighted. The Clark edition was reprinted in 1824, indicating that it too was a commercial success. This particular copy is in a half-morocco binding by the renowned London bookbinding company, Sangorski and Sutcliffe, which has retained the original upper printed wrapper.
ShelfmarkAB.10.213.02
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography; A. Bermingham, "Learning to draw: studies in the cultural history of polite and useful art" (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000)
Acquired on21/06/13
AuthorWilliam Keith
TitleCase of lodgment, for four months of the breeching of a fowling-piece in the face.
ImprintAberdeen: Printed by G. Cornwall & Sons
Date of Publication1858
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a case study of James Scott, a 19-year-old draper's apprentice, whose gun exploded while he was shooting, resulting in a large piece of metal from the gun penetrating his face, destroying his left eyeball and smashing his nasal bones. After some very basic medical treatment, he consulted the author of this study, William Keith (1802 or 1803-1871), senior surgeon at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, who was able to extract the metal from Scott's skull and repair much of the damage to his face, including fitting an artificial eyeball. Keith first published his case study as an article in the "Medical Times & Gazette" for October 1858, but then republished it as a pamphlet, this time with two albumen print photographs of the unfortunate Scott, one taken before the operation and the other after, to show the efficacy of his surgical work.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.34
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on22/04/16
AuthorWilliam Morris
TitleThe well at the world's end.
ImprintHammersmith: Kelmscott Press
Date of Publication1896
LanguageEnglish
NotesWilliam Morris's fantasy novel the "Well at the World's End" was one of the last works to be printed at the Kelmscott Press in the year of Morris's death in 1896. It is thought to be one of the first examples of an entirely fictional fantasy world, and greatly influenced later fantasy writers such as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The book follows the travels of Ralph, a prince of a tiny country, as he disobeys his father's wishes and runs away from home to adventure in the world, and seek out the fabled Well at World's End, said to grant eternal youth to those who drink from it. The book was christened by Morris as 'the Interminable' as it was in production from 1892-96, longer than any other Kelmscott Press title, which was mainly due to Morris being dissatisfied with the woodcut illustrations produced by Arthur Gaskin and turning instead to his trusted collaborator Edward Burne-Jones to do the illustrations. Limited to 350 copies on paper this particular copy is in its original vellum binding and is in near mint condition. It was formerly in the Library of Appleby Castle, Westmorland (Cumbria)
ShelfmarkKP.70
Acquired on20/05/16
AuthorWilliam Smellie (1697-1763)
TitleTraite de la theorie et pratique des accouchemens, et observations sur les accouchemens ...
ImprintParis : Delaguette
Date of Publication1754-1765
LanguageFrench
NotesThis is a three-volume French translation of William Smellie's classic 'Treatise of the Theory and Practice of Midwifery' published between 1754 and 1768. The man-midwife, William Smellie, was born in the parish of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire on 5 February 1697 and died in 1763. His medical training was prolonged and peripatetic: he received some medical instruction from John Gordon, a Glasgow surgeon and also spent time serving as a naval surgeon (March 1720-November 1721) on the Sandwich before setting up as an independent apothecary in Lanark in 1722. He remained in practice in Lanark for the next fifteen years and it was during this time that Smellie gained practical experience in midwifery. On 5 May 1733 he became a member of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. However, it was not until 18 February 1745, at the age of 48, that he was awarded his MD degree by Glasgow University. Stimulated by his desire for further education, Smellie moved to London in 1739 and set himself up as a teacher with his lectures specializing in all aspects of pregnancy and labour. Over the next ten years he taught over 900 male students and an unknown number of female ones. Based upon records of his cases, Smellie published in 1752 'A Treatise of the Theory and Practice of Midwifery'. This was supplemented two years later by a volume of illustrations entitled 'A Set of Anatomical Tables, with Explanations'. Smellie's treatise describes the physiology of pregnancy and the mechanisms of both normal and abnormal labour with far more exactitude than any previous writer. In addition to French, the work was later translated into German and Dutch and became a classic in obstetric literature thus making Smellie the best-known name in 18th century midwifery.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2670
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on05/07/07
AuthorWilliamson, Susan
TitleDirge or a voice in the night, originally addressed to a clergyman at Edinburgh 1845.
ImprintEdinburgh: Anderson and Bryce
Date of Publication1848
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis work is attributed to one Susan Williamson on the strength of a telling inscription on the verso of the dedication to Queen Victoria which reads: 'The writer of this book was Miss Susan Williamson who resided in Edinburgh with her brother Mr. David Williamson, in some of her ways she was odd, but not considered to be insane'. The 600 or so pages which follow can certainly be considered to be odd if not downright unintelligble to readers in the 21st century. An extract from the introduction sets the tone for what follows: 'And all vitellent spirits revolt or resault over whom was ratified reflection as a whispered word imputave before the perfectability of planatory imparature in the temporal attribute, whose nullity remained in premonitory complex' The book consists of short texts of a religious nature dealing with sin, creation, eternity and so on. The only other copy traced is at the British Library and no other works by Susan Williamson are known.
ShelfmarkABS.1.204.051
Acquired on03/03/04
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