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 749 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 91 to 105 of 749:

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TitleFrancis Garden Lord Gardenstone
Imprint[Edinburgh? : s.n.]
Date of Publication[18--]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis broadside commemorates the eccentricities of Francis Garden, Lord Gardenstone (1721-1793). It is printed on French laid paper with the watermarks Papier a la main and Auvergne with a flower and sprouting heart. However, the quality of printing suggests that the broadside is in fact a product of the mid- to late nineteenth century. It is possible that it was printed as a deluxe version for the centenary of the erection of St. Bernard's Well at Stockbridge in 1789, which had been financed by Lord Gardenstone. Born and educated in Edinburgh, Francis Garden was admitted an advocate in 1743 and appointed a lord of session in 1764. Notwithstanding his convivial propensities during his early practice at the bar, he was characterised by A.F. Tytler as an "acute and able lawyer". As a philanthropist he is remembered fondly for buying the estate of Johnston in Kincardineshire in 1762 in order to build a new village; he also founded a library and museum there for the use of the villagers, not to mention an inn. However, Lord Gardenstone is probably best remembered for his particular taste for social hilarity and his many peculiarities, one of which was an extreme fondness of pigs. Some anecdotes are retold in the broadside; another one recalls the occasion of Garden's involvement in the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion: serving under Sir John Cope, he and a companion preferred wine and oysters to watching and warding, tarried too long in a bar at Musselburgh and were captured by an enemy patrol. About to be hanged, they were released when they were seen to be completely drunk and incapable. Lord Gardenstone died in Morningside aged 72 and is buried in Greyfriars churchyard in an unmarked grave.
ShelfmarkRB.l.227
Reference SourcesOxford DNB, www.electricscotland.com
Acquired on14/06/05
TitleChronicle of Perth: a register of remarkable occurrences, chiefly connected with that city, from the year 1210 to 1668
ImprintEdinburgh Maitland Club
Date of Publication1831
LanguageEnglish
NotesAn apparently unique copy of this Maitland Society publication, printed on vellum. It is not mentioned in the list of the Society's publications listed in A catalogue of the publications of Scottish historical and kindred clubs and societies by Charles Sanford Terry (Glasgow, 1909). The volume is tastefully bound in contemporary morocco, with the borders tooled in gilt with floral designs. The Maitland Club was a publishing society founded in Glasgow in 1828 with the purpose of editing and printing works of Scottish historical and literary interest. It was named after the 16th century poet and editor, Sir Richard Maitland of Lethington. The Club produced over 50 publications between 1829 and 1859.
ShelfmarkFB.m.759
Acquired on22/06/01
TitleA list of the sporting ladies who is [sic] arrived from all the principal towns in Great Britain and Ireland, to take their pleasure at Leith races, on Monday the 3d June 1776.
Imprint[Edinburgh : s.n.]
Date of Publication1776
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an 18th-century broadside containing an 86-line poem about the prostitutes lately arrived in Edinburgh to entertain gentlemen at the Leith races, held on the East Sands. It reviews the names and qualities of the "sporting ladies", recommending some, warning potential customers away from others, beginning with a Miss Clerk plying her trade at the back of Edinburgh's Bess Wynde, then other "ladies" from Aberdeen, Perth, Dunfermline, Inverness, Montrose, Dundee, etc., working Miln's Square, Niddery's Wynd, Gray's Close, and the Lawn-Market, concluding with two who could be found at Castle Wynd. Leith race week, establshed in the 17th century, was an important week in neighbouring Edinburgh's social calendar, sometimes leading to a partial suspension of work and business in the city. "On the approach of the race ... a great many fashionable families ... flocked into the town ... This influx of wealthy and idle people kept the city, during the whole of race week, in a state of feverish excitation, and converted it into one continual scene of gaiety and dissipation." (Campbell, p. 185). It was only to be expected that prostitutes would ply their trade for the benefit of the race-goers. The writer of this broadside concludes, tongue in cheek: "N.B. As there will be published a new List every day during the Races, Ladies who incline to be Booked, will loose no time in giving in their Names." This work is not recorded by the usual reference works, nor online catalogues. The only references to it can be found in Thomas Stevenson's "The bibliography of James Maidment" (Edinburgh, 1883 - p. 30) as having been sold on the 3rd day's sale of the antiquary James Maidment's collection on 29 April 1880 and T. Chapman & Son's catalogue of the sale where it is listed as part of lot 1000 "Collectanea curiosa", which sold for 80 shillings. Lot 1000 also included another Leith races broadside printed for 1777 (not recorded anywhere), and a broadside the "Sporting ladies' reply" (now in NLS - shelfmark: LC.1268(002)). This copy may well be Maidment's own copy but there are no marks of provenance to link it to him.
ShelfmarkIN PROCESS
Reference SourcesAlexander Campbell, The History of Leith, Leith, 1827. Bookseller's notes.
Acquired on17/02/12
TitleAllies Bible in khaki.
ImprintGlasgow: David Bryce and Son ; London: Henry Frowde, Oxford University Press Warehouse
Date of Publication[Between 1901 and 1914?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is one of the most rare miniature Bibles produced by David Bryce and Son of Glasgow. Known as the 'Allies Bible', it is bound in brown khaki and is preceded by 15 pages of text which includes four national anthems (God Save the King, The Marseillaise Hymn, La Brabanconne, and Russian national anthem -- all in English without music) and also 'Recessional' by Rudyard Kipling and 'Evening Prayer of a People' by Neil Munro. It measures only 45 mm. in height and is accompanied by its original dust-jacket which features pictures of the Belgian, British, French and Russian flags in colour.
ShelfmarkFB.s.959
Reference SourcesBondy: page 110
Acquired on29/06/09
TitleThe King Emperor's Indian Durbar tour 1911-1912
Imprint[London?: s.n.]
Date of Publication[1912]
LanguageEnglish
Notes'Durbar' is a Persian term that was adopted in India to refer to a ruler's court. It could also be used to refer to a feudal state council or to a ceremonial gathering. The term was used during the British Raj for special royal occasions. Three imperial Durbars were held in Delhi: the first, held in 1877, marked the proclamation of Queen Victoria as Queen Empress of India; the second, held in 1902-03, marked the coronation of King Edward VII. The last, held on 12 December 1911, marked the coronation of King George V as 'King-Emperor' of India, and was the only Durbar that the ruler attended in person. The 1911 Durbar was "the most spectacular ceremony in the history of the British empire" (ODNB); it cost over 1 million to mount, and was over a year in preparation. Over 200,000 people attended the events taking place in Delhi's Coronation Park, which were captured in print, photography and the relatively new technology of film. As well as providing a clear sign of Britain's commitment to maintaining its grip on India, the Durbar was also used for particular political purposes. George announced the reversal of the unpopular 1905 decision that had partitioned Bengal. He also declared Delhi the new capital and laid its foundation-stone (soon after moved when New Delhi was re-sited). The Durbar was followed by a shooting expedition in Nepal and a visit to Calcutta (Kolkatta), the former capital of British India. The royal party returned home the following year, reaching Portsmouth on 5 February 1912. This lavishly-produced photo album was produced to commemorate King George's Durbar and subsequent tour through India. There are 208 photographic prints with printed letterpress captions pasted beneath them, bound in a full red morocco album with gilt lettering on the front cover. The photographs cover not just the Durbar but the whole of the royal tour, from the departure from Portsmouth, on 11 November 1911, to the thanksgiving service at St. Paul's, London, in February 1912 to mark the safe arrival home of the king and queen. The album also contains a number of memorable images of the elaborate hunting trip in Nepal and of Indian royalty. The photographs are not attributed to anyone but the person taking them clearly had very good access to the royal party. It is possible that the photographer was Ernest Brooks (b. 1878), who photographed the British royal family during this period and who during the War, in 1916, became the first official photographer to the Western Front appointed by the British military (many of his photographs are preserved in the Haig papers in NLS's manuscript collections). It is not known how many copies were produced and whether they were ever intended for public sale; a likely explanation is that a few copies were compiled for people travelling with the royal party as a souvenir of the tour.
ShelfmarkPhot.la.79
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on23/09/11
TitleMacKenzie's Gazette
ImprintNew York and Rochester, NY
Date of Publication1838-39
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Dundonian William Lyon Mackenzie (1795-1861) ran a circulating library with his mother before emigrating to the province of Upper Canada in 1820. He became a politician and journalist, starting with the publication of the "Colonial Advocate" in 1824. Politically he supported the critics of the local ruling class of Tory politicians and colonial administrators. He was elected to the assembly of the new provincial capital York in 1828 but was ejected three years later by the Tories. In 1834, when York became incorporated as the City of Toronto, Mackenzie became its first mayor. He later pushed for greater Canadian autonomy, which led to the armed Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837-8; the revolt was quickly put down by British troops and Mackenzie and his allies fled to the USA. He settled in New York and on 12 May 1838 launched "Mackenzie's Gazette", asserting that the newspaper would defend the cause of Canadian patriots, who, although now based the USA, were still determined to overthrow the Upper Canadian government and remove the British presence in the province. In January 1839 Mackenzie moved to Rochester, New York state, continuing to publish the newspaper from there, but financial support for him and his cause began to dry up; moreover, in June of that year Mackenzie was found guilty of violating America's neutrality laws. He served almost a year in prison, but still managed to publish his newspaper, although issues appeared only sporadically. The last issue was published in December 1840, six months after MacKenzie received a pardon by the US President, Martin Van Buren. Mackenzie later became an American citizen, but he returned to Canada in 1850 when an amnesty for those who took part in the 1837-8 Rebellion was announced. He remained active in politics and journalism for the rest of his life. "Mackenzie's Gazette" was an important, if rather short-lived, literary expression of radical, anti-colonial feeling among Canadians and American sympathisers and contains much valuable historical information for the period. The set acquired by NLS comprises Vol. 1, numbers 27 to 52, covering November 1838 to May 1839; there are no recorded original copies of the newspaper in the UK.
ShelfmarkRB.l.265
Reference SourcesDNB
Acquired on01/04/10
TitleThe state of Kelso Dispensary opened for the admission of patients, on the 5th of December, 1777.
ImprintNewcastle: Printed at the Union Press, by J. Palmer
Date of Publication1788
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a very rare and unrecorded work on the Kelso Dispensary, the first hospital in the town and only the second in Scotland (after the Edinburgh Royal Public Dispensary). The Kelso establishment was founded by the Earl of Haddington in 1777. Dispensaries were served to a large degree by free student labour, and costs were kept down too through a high (working-class) patient turnover. This pamphlet provides us with a lot of information on health care in a provincial town in the late 18th century. We see, from the list of subscribers, that the great and the good gave money to support the dispensary; there is a list of regulations, treasurer's report, a most informative table detailing the diseases of the patients treated (consumption and fever were the most common causes of mortality) and a table of the parishes 'from which patients had been admitted'. Inserted into the pamphlet is a printed circular letter dated 31 October 1788, with a manuscript note from Thomas Scott reminding an eminent subscriber (addressed as your Lordship) that his subscription of 14 guineas was overdue.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2718
Reference Sourceshttp://www.archiveshub.ac.uk/news/03101401.html;
Acquired on19/05/08
TitleTheatre Royal, Adelphi. Unparalleled attraction!
ImprintGlasgow: Robert Donaldson, printer and lithographer
Date of Publication1844
LanguageEnglish
NotesA mid 19th-century theatre poster (50cm x 25cm) for the Theatre Royal, Adelphi in Glasgow. The poster advertises a July 2, 1844 production of 'Aladdin, or The Wonderful Lamp' with the word 'Aladdin' formed from the bodies of 12 Chinese figures in traditional oriental dress. The poster is in excellent condition in spite of its fragility. Near the bottom of the broadside the proprietor is listed as Mr. David Prince Miller. Miller (1809?-1873) was a travelling entertainer who came to Glasgow with his family in the late 1830s. He was well known in Glasgow for his productions of popular entertainment on Glasgow Green. He was briefly jailed for performing without a licence. In 1842 Miller built and became manager of the Adelphi Theatre, a wooden building on the Green, opposite the Jail, at the foot of Saltmarket. It was also known as the Theatre Royal Adelphi, or the Sans Pareil Pavilion and was one of two licensed theatres in Glasgow during the first half of the 19th century. The Adelphi was extremely popular. However, the uninsured theatre burned down in 1848 and Miller ran into other business difficulties. He went back on the road as a travelling showman, returning to Glasgow only near the end of his life.
ShelfmarkAP.5.209.05
Acquired on18/09/08
TitleThe Edinburgh Review, or Critical Journal
ImprintEdinburgh: Archibald Constable
Date of Publication1814-1860
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a collection of c. 130 issues of The Edinburgh Review, covering the years 1814 to 1860. The volumes are in their original state with blue paper wrappers, along with inserts of publishers' advertisements for the later issues. The latter are often missing from bound sets in Library copies, such as NLS's existing set, as they were usually removed prior to binding. These particular volumes were part of the collections found the Northumbrian mansion The Hermitage, described as the house 'that time forgot'. The contents of the house on the outskirts of Hexham were sold at auction in 2013 after the death of last surviving member of the Morant family, who had rented the house since the 1920s. The Morants had thrown very little away in the 90 years they had occupied the house and looked after the existing contents with great care, with the result that the house was full of antiques, memorabilia and ephemera. The Edinburgh Review was published from 1802 to 1929 (the first issue actually appearing in 1803) and quickly established itself as one of the leading and most influential English-language periodicals of the 19th century. The publishers' aim was to select only a few outstanding books in all fields of interest and to examine them with more care than had been customary in previous reviewing. The Edinburgh Review was above all an instrument of political enlightenment and social reform, adopting a pro-Whig stance in contrast to the pro-Tory Quarterly Review and later Blackwood's Magazine. To have a substantial run of this important periodical with the volumes in their original state is a great addition to the Library's collections.
ShelfmarkAB.3.214.09-141
Reference SourcesWaterloo Directory of English Newspapers and Periodicals: 1800 - 1900
Acquired on04/04/14
TitleThe rudiments of architecture; or the young workman's instructor. In two parts ... with twenty-three elegant designs of building, the most of which have been actually executed in North Britain. To which is added. The Builder's Dictionary. Intended for those whose time will not allow them to attend teachers.
ImprintEdinburgh: Printed by William Auld, Turk's close, Lawn market
Date of Publication1773
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is one of the first books of architectural designs produced in Scotland. The first such publication was George Jameson, Thirty-three designs, Edinburgh: 1765, an extremely rare book of which no copies are known in Scotland. In 1772, the first edition of an anonymous book entitled The rudiments of architecture was printed in Edinburgh by Robert Mundell (NLS copy at RB.m.418). This work was based on William Salmon, Palladio Londinensis (1762) and Sebastien Le Clerc, Treatise (1723). Eileen Harris notes 'The success of the compilation is due more to the absence of other such works printed in Scotland and the efforts of the publishers than to the second-hand, second-rate contents' (Harris, p.401). In 1773 this second edition appeared, with an additional 12 plates showing 23 designs for houses in the Palladian manner, modelled on Jameson's work. Despite Harris' disparaging remarks, this book was clearly of use, as the copy we have now acquired has marginal notes and sketches that suggest it was owned by a working architect. This may have been the William Watson whose contemporary inscription appears at the head of the title-page. No other copies are recorded in public ownership in Scotland.
ShelfmarkRB.m.635
Reference SourcesESTC N13160; Eileen Harris, British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785, CUP, 1990
Acquired on29/09/06
TitleThe Holy Bible containing the Old Testament and the new &
ImprintCambridge: Printed by John Archdeacon &
Date of Publication1769
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis two volume set of the Holy Bible, printed in Cambridge in 1769, has been bound in red morocco, probably in imitation of the Edinburgh binder James Scott, who was active during the 1770s and 1780s. Also bound in with the New Testament are the Psalms of David in metre printed in Edinburgh in 1770 by Alexander Kincaid. The Psalms were also printed as part of a Holy Bible published by Kincaid in the same year.This binding is probably contemporary, and given the presence of the Psalms printed in Edinburgh, may have been bound in Scotland. Several of the ornaments used, particularly the scrolls and flourishes (Sc.7.1773 and Sc.13.1774 in Loudon), resemble those used by James Scott, though other prominent ornaments such as the fox and Cupid were not used by Scott. These bindings were part of the collection of Bibles belonging to Lord Wardington (1924-2005).
ShelfmarkBdg.s.916
Reference SourcesJ.H. Loudon, James and William Scott bookbinders. (London, 1980)
Acquired on31/07/06
TitleA comical dialogue between Sawney and Bonaparte.
ImprintNewcastle: D. Bass
Date of Publication[1803-1805?]
LanguageEnglish
NotesA spoof conversation between a Scotsman and Napoleon Bonaparte in which Bonaparte threatens to invade Scotland and bring 'liberty' with him. It is a patriotic dialogue in which the 'Sawney' tells Napoleon that he is not wanted and will be resisted by the Highland Watch. The exchange ends with Sawney saying 'There's no a man in a' Scotland but would fight to the last drap o' his blood for the Land o' Cakes' and daring Napoleon to come. Sawney was an English nickname for a Scotsman, now no longer used. The Library also holds a chapbook along similar lines 'Sawney & Bonaparte a dialogue' printed in Stirling in 1807.
ShelfmarkAP.4.208.14
Acquired on10/03/08
TitleLiving wonder! Never seen in this country before.
ImprintEdinburgh: Oliver & Boyd
Date of Publicationc.1809-1814
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a striking and unusual flyer advertising the exhibition of a 'great serpent or boa constrictor, alive' at Stephano Polito's menagerie, probably in Edinburgh in the early years of the 19th century. Stephano (or Stephen) Polito (1763/4-1814) was born in Italy but spent the bulk of his working life in England. He started his career by exhibiting supposedly exotic human beings at Bartolomew Fair, before establishing a menagerie of 'wild beasts' many of which had been collected from East India merchantmen. He travelled around the country showing elephants, kangaroos and rhinos. Lord Byron visited the collection at Exeter Change, London in 1813 where he remarked on a performing elephant that took off his hat. Polito travelled regularly to Scotland as well as to Ireland. It is assumed that he went to the same place in Edinburgh every year as no exact location is mentioned. Polito also claims to be the first to exhibit this species in Britain. He reassures the public by claiming that his specimen is perfectly secure and that even 'the most timorous may approach it with safety'.
ShelfmarkAP.4.207.24
Reference SourcesFrost, Thomas. The old showmen and the London fairs. London, 1874; Oxford DNB
Acquired on04/06/07
TitleObservations on the culture of the tobacco-plant... adapted to the climate of the west of Scotland.
ImprintGlasgow: Printed by Robert Chapman and Alexander Duncan
Date of Publication1782
LanguageEnglish
NotesDuring the 18th century, Glasgow was a centre for trade between Scotland and North America. This pamphlet, printed just after the American Revolution, shows that Scots were keen to learn from America. The anonymous writer suggests that if the right location can be found, it should be possible to grow tobacco in Scotland as successfully as in Virginia. The book discusses growing the plants, harvesting the crop and curing the tobacco. It suggests that for extra flavour, you should sprinkle the tobacco 'with a little white wine or cider'. There is a long tradition of literature about smoking and tobacco; one of the earliest contributions was by a Scot: King James VI's Counterblaste to Tobacco (1604). This is a good copy of a very rare book; it is not listed in the English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC), and only one other copy in the UK is recorded, in Glasgow University Library.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2622
Acquired on07/06/06
TitleAct of council, regulating the manner of carrying chairs.
Imprint[Edinburgh]
Date of Publication1749
LanguageEnglish
NotesIn modern times, local government concerns itself with seemingly banal regulations concerning parking, litter or public lighting. There is nothing new in this - perceived 'over regulation' was alive and well in Edinburgh over 250 years ago, as this broadside demonstrates. The city authorities were forced into action to ask 'chairmen' - those who carried sedan chairs and their occupants around the city - to ensure their chairs had 'a light fixed upon one of the fore-poles of the chair'. This apparently followed a number of incidents resulting in 'many hurts and inconveniences that have happened to the inhabitants & by the chairmen carrying or resting their chairs without lights under cloud of night'. Furthermore all chairs had to be numbered. If these regulations were not followed, chairmen faced being fined a shilling, imprisonment, loss of hire and the chair impounded! The first sedan chairs for public hire were introduced into Edinburgh in 1687. Horse drawn coaches were often unsuited to the narrow closes and steep hills of Edinburgh's Old Town. In 1687 there were only 6 chairs available but by 1779 there were 180 hackney-chairs and 50 private chairs in Edinburgh. The table of fairs introduced in the regulation dated 1738, referred to in this broadside, specified 6d a trip within the city, 4s for a whole day's rental, and 1s 6d for a journey of half a mile outside town. The majority of the chairmen were Highlanders and this was reflected in the use of tartan for their uniforms.
ShelfmarkRB.m.672
Acquired on14/07/08
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