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 899 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.

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Important Acquisitions 211 to 225 of 899:

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Author[Charles Edward Stuart]
Title C. P de G R. de la G = B. &c., A tous les rois, princes, republiques, &c. ... C. P of W R of Gr. Br. &c. To all kings, princes, republiques, &c..
Imprint[Paris?: s.n.]
Date of Publication1748
LanguageFrench & English
NotesA single sheet proclamation issued on behalf of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie or the Young Pretender) on 16 July 1748, with parallel text in two columns in French and English. Two years after the failure of the Jacobite uprising in Great Britain, Charles found his position in exile in France becoming increasingly precarious after the terms of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle had been agreed between Britain and France. The treaty put an end to the 8-year war of Austrian Succession which had been fought in northern Europe, and which Charles had taken advantage of to launch his uprising in Scotland at a time when British soldiers were fighting on the Continent. One clause of the treaty compelled the French to recognise the Hanoverian succession to the British throne and expel the Jacobites from France. In this proclamation, presumably intended for a British as well as French readership, Charles stated that he regarded as void anything stipulated against his or his father's rights to the throne of Great Britain. In reality there was nothing he could do about the treaty and in December of that year he was finally expelled from France. Only one other copy of this version of the proclamation is known in the UK, the Library also has a French language-only version of it.
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on29/04/17
Author[Currie, John Lang]
TitleA catalogue of books on Australia and the neighbouring colonies: being a portion of the library of John L. Currie of Lawarra (formerly Larra).
ImprintMelbourne: Melville, Mullen and Slade,
Date of Publication1891.
NotesThis is the second edition of a catalogue of one of the great colonial Australiana book collections. The collector, John Lang Currie (1818-1898), was a wealthy pastoralist who was born in the parish of Yarrow, Selkirkshire. At the age of 21 he set off to join his cousins in Australia. In the 1840s he established his own farm at Larra (Lawarra) in New South Wales where he specialised in breeding merino sheep which were prized for the length, fineness and glossy appearance of their wool. Thanks to drainage and land improvement the number of sheep at Larra increased from just over 6,000 in 1846 to over 34,000 in 1879. Currie returned to Scotland several times and was shipwrecked in 1871 and again in 1874. Part of his wealth was used to acquire books on the history of Australia as is recorded by this catalogue, which was printed in limited numbers for distribution to institutions and private collectors.
Reference SourcesAustralian Dictionary of Biography (online edition)
Acquired on07/10/09
Author[David Hume, Samuel Johnson et al.]
TitleMelanges de la litterature angloise, traduits par Madame B****.
ImprintA la Haye: Prault Fils
Date of Publication1759
NotesA very rare anthology of English literature, translated into French, which includes the first recorded French translations of the first three of David Hume's "Essays, moral and political", originally published in Edinburgh in 1741. The three essays translated are: 'Of the delicacy of taste and passion', 'Of the liberty of the press', 'Of impudence and modesty'. The translator "Madame B****" was Octavie Guichard Durey de Meinieres (1719-1804), who at the time this work was published was known as Madame Belot, being the widow of a Parisian lawyer Charles-Edme Belot. Madame Belot was an author in her own right as well as a translator of Samuel Johnson's "Rasselas", Sarah Fielding's "Ophelia", and in 1763 and 1765, of the first two parts of Hume's history of England. She appears to have been in correspondence with Hume and most likely met him when he was living in Paris in the 1760s. It is not clear why she chose to translate only three of Hume's essays for this volume. She may have been discouraged from doing more by Hume himself, or she may have felt these were the most important ones and sufficient for the anthology, which also includes translations of excerpts of works by Samuel Johnson, Matthew Prior and Edmund Burke. The Hague place of publication, given in the imprint of the Parisian bookseller Prault Fils, is probably false and was probably used to circumvent French government censorship; unsurprising given that one of the works translated concerns Hume's thoughts on freedom of the press.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on14/12/17
Author[David Morison (1792-1855)]
TitleCatalogue of the Gray Library at Kinfauns Castle
Imprint[Perth?: D. Morison]
Date of Publication1827
Notes An unrecorded copy of the catalogue of the library of Baron Gray in Kinfauns Castle, Perthshire. This copy is unique in that it is entirely lithographed; 12 copies of the catalogue were produced the following year (1828) which had lithographed border designs on it but letterpress text. David Morison, the compiler and printer of the catalogue, belonged to the famous Perth family of printers and he had worked as a librarian as well as printer, which meant he was the ideal person to produce a catalogue of Baron Gray's collection. He also appears to have been one of the first people in Scotland to master the art of lithography, which had been introduced to Scotland some 10 years before and was being widely used in book illustrations and jobbing printing. Although the contents of Baron Gray's library were largely unremarkable, Morison's catalogue is remarkable for its elaborate lithographed borders printed in red. A comparison of the two versions of the catalogue suggests that this 1827 version was an experiment or trial run by Morison, possibly done for Baron Gray. It is not as complete as the 1828 version and there are a number of differences in the border designs. Morison must have decided against producing further copies with lithographed text in favour of letter-press. From the dedication page it would appear that the catalogue was actually printed in Perth, where Morison would have had the printing stones for the lithography, rather than in Kinfauns Castle itself - although there is evidence of Baron Gray having had a printing press in Kinfauns Castle. This copy was formerly in the collection of the famous New York-based bookseller and collector, Bernard Breslauer (1918-2004).
Reference SourcesAntony Lister "David Morison & the catalogue of Lord Gray of Kinfauns" Antiquarian Book Monthly Review (ABMR)vol. XIII (1986), pp. 416-421. D. Shenck, Directory of the lithographic printers of Scotland, 1820-1870, Edinburgh, 1999.
Acquired on15/04/05
Author[David Whyte]
Imprint[Inverness: D. Whyte]
Date of Publication1890?
NotesUnrecorded commercially-produced album by the Inverness photographer David Whyte, containing 9 mounted albumen prints of the Glenfinnan and Loch Shiel area before the construction of the famous railway viaduct.
Acquired on25/09/15
Author[Dodsley, Robert, ed.]
TitleA collection of poems in six volumes.
ImprintLondon : J. Dodsley
Date of Publication1770
NotesThis handsome 6-volume set of English poetry was bound by James Scott of Edinburgh, the most celebrated of 18th-century Scottish bookbinders. It was formerly in the library of Invercauld Castle, Aberdeenshire, one of a number of bindings executed by Scott for the Farquharson family who lived there. Dodsley's first collection of poetry was published in 1748, in three volumes, later editions were expanded to six volumes as a sign of its popularity. These particular bindings are not identified in Loudon's 1980 work on James and William Scott, but can be identified by the use of the Italianate operatic mask tool on the spines, which was one of Scott's tools. The flourish used to decorate the centre of some of the spine compartments can also be identified as a Scott tool, as well as the roll used to edge the boards.
Reference SourcesJ.H. Loudon, James Scott and William Scott, bookbinders (1980); Bookseller's notes
Acquired on16/11/12
Author[Edward Simms]
TitleStanzas to the memory of Sir Walter Scott.
Imprint[Malvern? : s.n.]
Date of Publication[1839]
NotesA rare elegy to Scott, only one other copy recorded in the UK, which was apparently printed seven years after his death and circulated privately. This particular copy is a presentation copy, inscribed on the title leaf: "J.H. Markland Esqre. with the Author's best respects". Markland has identified the author as 'The Revd. Edwd. Simms ? Curate of Malvern' and dated it to August 1839. Simms was probably the author, as the poem is signed "E.S." at the end, and the recipient ought to have known who had given him the poem. James Heywood Markland (1788-1864) was a successful solicitor, a noted book collector and a very early member of the Roxburghe Club: he was also one of the committee established in 1832 to raise money for a commemoration to Scott. The Rev. Edward Simms was certainly living in Malvern at around this time: his name is on several subscription lists for scholarly theological works of about 1840. He is very likely the man who was born around 1803 and matriculated at Wadham College Oxford in 1822, and was later vicar of Escot, Devon, in 1870-77.
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on16/10/15
Author[Erskine, Andrew and Ross, Walter.]
TitleTo the revolution club
Date of Publicationc. 1788
NotesThis unrecorded pamphlet is a tory satire against the Scottish whigs enthusiasm for the Glorious Revolution. The authors (see below) leave the reader in no doubt at the their unease at proposals that a monument be erected in honour of William III. They sarcastically suggest that it should be located in the Valley of Glencoe! The signature at the end is 'Gibbie Burnet' a very unveiled reference to the historian Gilbert Burnet, one of the key supporters of the Glorious Revolution. The text was re-printed (APS.1.81.45; ESTC T108704) in 1792, at a time when it was feared that the unrest in France would spread across the Channel, as an appendix to a proclamation (ESTC T148691) by King George III warning against attempts at the 'subversion of all regular government'. The preface to this proclamation mentions that this pamphlet was first printed in 1788 with the aim of 'diverting the Northern part of this kingdom from joining in the popular enthusiasm' for the Revolution of 1688. The motives behind the re-printing of this pamphlet are difficult to unravel: the author of the preface seems to favour both the revolutions of 1688 and 1789 and implies that any attempts to suppress them were futile. The pamphlet comes from the collection of Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747-1813), Lord Woodhouselee, Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh, sold at Bonhams, Edinburgh in August 2002. Fixed to the final blank page is a sheet of manuscript possibly with annotations partly in the hand of Tytler, listing 'The King's Advocates since the institution of the Court of Session', from 1537 to 1725. The inscription on the title page, presumably in Tytler's hand, reads 'written by Walter Ross and the honble Andrew Erskine'. The latter, who committed suicide in 1793 was one the closest friends of the young James Boswell and they collaborated on 'Critical strictures on the new tragedy of Elvira' and 'Letters between the honourable Andrew Erskine and James Boswell', both published in 1763. Walter Ross was probably the Writer to the Signet of the same name (1738-1789) who wrote a number of legal works in the 1780s.
Acquired on01/10/02
Author[Fergusson, Thomas.]
TitleThe weeping christian; or The six vices of man.
ImprintGlasgow: James Duncan
Date of Publication1729
NotesThis is an unrecorded, earliest known printing of a collection of six moral and devotional poems relating to the vices of mankind, namely: malicious envy, pride and insolence; excess of drinking; notorious, and vain swearing; lewd and wanton living; disobedience to parents. The work is anonymous and there is no clue in the text as to who the author is, but the imprint of a later (London? 1760?) printing of the work states that it was printed for one Thomas Fergusson "late a soldier in the Thirty-Third Regiment of Foot". Fergusson has been assumed to be the author but the existence of this Glasgow printing, possibly 30 years earlier than other known printings, calls this attribution into question.
Reference SourcesESTC
Acquired on03/06/11
Author[Fettercairn Cricket Club]
TitleRules of the Fettercairn Cricket Club 1865
ImprintMontrose: [Fettercairn Cricket Club]
Date of Publication1865
NotesThis appears to be the earliest surviving printed rule book of a Scottish cricket club; indeed it may well be the earliest known surviving printed item relating to cricket in Scotland. It is a small four-page pamphlet printed in Montrose at the press of the local newspaper, the "Montrose Standard", for the cricket club of the nearby village of Fettercairn in Kincardineshire. Among the rules listed here is bye-law 4 which states that 'no spirituous liquors shall be brought on to the ground at any time; and no profane language shall be permitted.' Although the population of Fettercairn was relatively small (only 339 inhabitants were recorded in 1861), in the "Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland" published in 1882-85 the village is recorded as having quoit, cricket, and curling clubs. The patronage of nearby landowners such as the Gladstones at Fasque may have played a role in the establishment of cricket in the area, indeed this particular copy was originally part of the library at Fasque; but organised cricket matches were being played in Scotland long before the national game, association football, was established. The first cricket match for which records are available was played in September 1785 at Schaw Park, Alloa. The game was introduced to Scotland by English soldiers garrisoned here in the 18th century after the Jacobite uprisings. The influence of English workers in the textile, iron and paper industries led to clubs being established in places such as Kelso in 1820, and Penicuik in 1844. By the middle of the 19th century the game was firmly established in certain regions of in the south and east of Scotland, particularly in Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire. Teams representing Scotland have played matches since 1865, the same year as this rule book was printed.
Acquired on09/03/09
Author[Friendly Society of the Heritors of Edinburgh]
Title[Five printed documents relating to the Friendly Society of the Heritors of Edinburgh and suburbs thereof, Canongate, Leith, &c. for a mutual insurance of their tenements and houses &c. from losses by fire.]
Imprint[Edinburgh : s.n.]
Date of Publication[1720-1730]
NotesFire was an ever-present danger in the Old Town of Edinburgh and in 1703 the city suffered a series of devastating fires, which led to the appointment of 'firemasters' who could recruit men to fight fires, the forerunner of a municipal fire brigade. Fire insurance companies, first established in London, were also introduced. The first fire insurance society in Scotland is thought to be Friendly Society of the Heritors of Edinburgh, which was founded in 1720. Contributors to the Society paid a small percentage of the total value of their properties in return for perpetual insurance and were entitled to interest from stock and profits of the insurance fund. This collection of five documents relating to the Friendly Society span the first ten years of its existence. It consists of three receipts: one for payment of a premium by the advocate Thomas Gordon, and two for "annual rent"; there are also two forms for transferring Gordon's policy to two men, Alexander Marjoribanks and George Falconer, who had presumably purchased the insured property.
Acquired on24/11/09
Author[Gilchrist, Archibald]
TitleEdinburgh sold by Arch. Gilchrist & Co. at their warehouse behind the city-guard ....
Imprint[Edinburgh ; Archibald Gilchrist]
Date of Publication[1781]
NotesThis is a fascinating piece of late 18th-century printed ephemera. It is an engraved trade card for the Edinburgh haberdasher Archibald Gilchrist which provides a list of goods that he sold at his "warehouse behind the city-guard". Around the middle of the eighteenth century Gilchrist had moved from Lanarkshire to establish his business in Edinburgh. At that time he was one of only two haberdashers in the city, the other being John Neil. The business became Archibald Gilchrist & Co. when two of his nephews named Mackinlay became partners. On Gilchrist's death the company was dissolved and around 1788 his son, also Archibald (c.1766-1804), set up as a haberdasher on the South Bridge.
Acquired on29/05/10
Author[Glasgow Cape Club]
TitleBe it known to all men that we Sir Ride the super eminent sovereign of the Capital Knighthood of the Cape... being well inform'd ... of Walter Buchanan Esq.r... create, admit & receive him a Knight Companion of this most social order ...
Imprint[Glasgow?: s.n.]
Date of Publication1777
NotesThis is a membership certificate, printed on vellum, for the Glasgow branch of the Cape Club, or Knights Companions of the Cape. The Cape Club was a gentleman's club, formally constituted in Edinburgh in 1764, and which had the motto 'concordia fratrum decus'. The Glasgow branch, though less well-known than its Edinburgh equivalent, was active by 1771 and continued until well into the 19th century. Like other male social clubs of the period, the club's activies revolved around ceremonies which involved singing and copious drinking. Members of the Cape Club called themselves 'knights' - in this certificate the name of Walter Buchanan has been added in MS to the relevant space and he has chosen the title "Sir Hedge". Membership was drawn from a wide range of society from literati to local tradesmen. The "Glasgow Cape Hall", where they met, was in fact Mrs Scheid's tavern in the Trongate.
Reference SourcesJ. Strang, Glasgow and its clubs, 3rd ed., Glasgow, 1864, p.463
Acquired on24/11/09
Author[Gregor MacGregor]
TitlePoyaisian land grant. 500 acres : Class G. No. ... grant of 100 acres.
Imprint[Edinburgh: s.n.]
Date of Publication1834
NotesA purported land grant of 100 acres in the "Republic of Poyais," a fictional territory on the Mosquito Coast of Central America that General Gregor MacGregor claimed to rule as "Cazique" or Prince. The Scottish con man MacGregor (1786-1845) had a long and colourful career as soldier of fortune in Central America, taking part in the Simon Bolivar-inspired wars of liberation against the Spanish, then re-locating to London, then France, and back to Scotland where he sold land grants in Poyais to gullible investors.
Reference SourcesD. Sinclair, The land that never was: Sir Gregor MacGregor and the most audacious fraud in history, London, 2003.
Acquired on28/07/17
Author[John Adair]
TitleAdvertisement, anent the surveying of all the Shires of Scotland, and making new mapps of it.
ImprintEdinburgh: John Swintoun
Date of Publication1681
NotesOnly two other copies of this Scottish broadside are recorded. It advertises the fact that John Adair (1660-1718) had been granted on 4 May 1681 a licence by the Scottish Privy Council "to take a Survey of the whole Shires in the Kingdom [ Scotland ], and to make up Mapps thereof, describing each Shire, Royal Burgh, and other Towns considerable." In the broadside Adair asks for assistance from the "Nobility, and Gentry, the Magistrates of Royal Burghs ... to give me all the best information they can ... and in so doing, they shall not only do that good service to their Countrey ? they shall have honourable mention made of them in the proper places of Work." Adair's mapping work was important because it represented the first survey-based mapping of Scotland since Timothy Pont's work of the late sixteenth century. His first known work, a map of Clackmannanshire, dates from 1681, the same year as this advertisement. In 1686, by act of parliament, Adair's mapping was funded from an annual tonnage levy on native ships and foreign ships, to be paid annually for five years.
Acquired on30/09/16
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