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).
Mary I's reign
We have recently acquired an account of the life of Queen Mary I of England and Ireland which dates from 1682. It not only contains a foreword to the Protestant reader, but an account of the Protestants martyred to death during her reign. Executions of Protestant dissenters feature prominently in biographies of Mary I, and engravings of some execution scenes illustrate the book.
Queen Mary (1516-1558) reigned from 1553 to 1558. She tried to restore Roman Catholicism to England. During her reign, around 300 Protestants were burnt at the stake, which earned her the nickname 'Bloody Mary'. One of these martyrs was Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was burnt at the stake in 1556.
A lithographed heading and a colour illustration of flowers introduce each season in a book for flower lovers. It is a fine example of mid-Victorian deluxe book production in Edinburgh. The text consists of a prose meditation on each season followed by an appropriate poem by a contemporary poet: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Jean Ingelow, Richard Chevenix Trench and Edward Bulwer Lytton.
Two significant figures involved in the production of artistic books in mid-19th century Edinburgh produced the book: the lithographer W H McFarlane, and T Alexander Hill (1800-1866), brother of David Octavius Hill and printseller to the Queen.
A 20 horse power touring car is one of many automobiles featured in a sales catalogue from 1912. The catalogue contains illustrations of the Alexandria factory of Argyll cars and a list of models, from the 12 horsepower Doctor's Coupé to the 25 hp Landaulette. Among others, it lists the senior members of the British royal family among its audience.
From small beginnings in the 1890s, Argyll Motors quickly became Britain's largest car manufacturer. In 1906, the company occupied Europe's biggest and most up-to-date motor vehicle factory at Alexandria, on the banks of Loch Lomond. However, the company got into financial difficulties and went into liquidation in 1914.