Here is some information on a sample of items acquired by Rare Book Collections at the National Library of Scotland. Click an image for the full picture (opens in a new window).
This item is a funeral invitation. In Britain printed funeral invitations, called burial letters, were known from at least the late 17th century. Usually printers would produce ready-printed non-specific invitations on which the name of the deceased and the time and place of the funeral would be entered by hand. Here, the invitation is fully printed. Woodcut invitations tended to use stock narrative or allegorical compositions. The images relate not only to the death of the person in question but also serve as a reminder of one's own mortality.
This is a handsome copy of a 1772 edition of the Bible printed in Edinburgh. It is bound in a contemporary binding of straight-grained red leather, with elaborate gilt tooling which suggests the influence of the celebrated binder James Scott.
The central panel includes architectural motifs such as columns and urns, as well as birds and various items of foliage. This panel is enclosed by different border rolls; the board edges are tooled as well. The spine has a black leather title label and more tooling, including a laurel-crowned head, and a greek-key design which seems to be Scott's.
This is one of five engravings from Representation of the high-landers from 1743. All the engravings depict Highland soldiers in various supposedly characteristic postures. In 1743, the Black Watch regiment was sent to London and then on to Flanders, where they distinguished themselves at the Battle of Fontenoy. The Black Watch was the first kilted troops to be seen on the continent, and the interest created probably explains why this publication of plates was trilingual and printed in Nuremberg.
This copy comes from the library of the late Lord Perth, formerly a member of the Board of Trustees for the Library.