Important acquisitions

Petri Bembi Cardinalis viri clariss. Rerum Venetarum historiae libri XII.

Author Bembo, Pietro
Title Petri Bembi Cardinalis viri clariss. Rerum Venetarum historiae libri XII.
Imprint Lutetiae [Paris]: Ex officina Michaelis Vascosani, via Jacobea ad insigne Fontis
Date of Publication 1551
Language Latin
Notes This is a fine addition to the National Library's holdings of books with important early Scottish provenance. The book itself is important, the history of Venice by Pietro Bembo (1470-1547), the famous Italian scholar and churchman. The library has two other copies of this finely-printed volume (Nha.B188, BCL.B3451), but both are imperfect, whereas this is complete, including the folding plates at the end. However, this donation is particularly important because it was owned by at least three well-known sixteenth-century Scots. The title-page is inscribed 'Adamus Episcopus Orchaden[sis]' - this is Adam Bothwell, Bishop of Orkney (c. 1526-1593), the bishop who joined the reformers and whose extensive library has been recorded. On folio 1 and on the verso of folio 311 is the inscription 'Hen. Sinclar' - this is Henry Sinclair (1508-1565), Bishop of Ross and another known collector of books, who wrote additions to Boece's History of Scotland. On the recto following the title-page is the inscription 'W Santclair of roislin knecht', which also appears on the verso of folio 311. This is William Sinclair, who succeeded to the estates of Roslin in 1554 (see Lawlor, p.95). The Sinclairs of Roslin are one of the more famous Scottish families, associated in popular memory with Rosslyn Chapel which they founded. It seems likely that the book came to Henry Sinclair soon after it was printed, then passed to William Sinclair, and then into the library of Adam Bothwell. On the cover is the date 'Aug. 18, 1593', five days before Bothwell's death. More recently, the book has the bookplate of Arthur Kay designed by Kate Cameron. The existence of this copy was known, as it appeared for sale in 1814 and 1968 (recorded in our interleaved copy of Durkan & Ross). It is very satisfying to finally add it to the national collections.
Shelfmark RB.m.508
Reference Sources Durkan & Ross, Early Scottish Libraries Cherry, 'Library of Henry Sinclair', Bibliotheck 4 (1963), no. 1 Lawlor, H. J., 'Notes on the library of the Sinclairs of Rosslyn', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1898
Acquired on 24/07/03
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