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 46 to 60 of 899:

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Author[Miscellaneous]
TitleNouveaux melanges de poesies grecques, auxquels on a joint deux morceaux de litterature angloise.
ImprintAmsterdam : Chez la veuve Merkus
Date of Publication1779
LanguageFrench
NotesThis French-language anthology contains translations of Greek poetry by one Scipion Allut of Montpellier (d. 1786), from works by Theocritus, Moschus, Bion, Homer, Musaeus, Coluthus and Triphiodorus. There are also "deux morceaux" of English literature which happen to be a translation of Oliver Goldsmith's ballad 'The hermit' which appears in the "Vicar of Wakefield" and David Hume's essay 'The Epicurean' which was first published in the second volume of his "Essays, Moral and Political" in 1742 and which was first translated into French in 1764.
ShelfmarkAB.2.217.19(1)
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on16/12/16
AuthorRichard Johnson
TitleThe illustrious and renowned history of the seven famous champions of Christendom.
ImprintGlasgow
Date of Publication1772
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe only known copy of this anonymously published romance. The Seven Champions of Christendom are the patron saints of Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy and Spain. Their deeds had been popular in Europe for over a thousand years before being set down in this form by Richard Johnson (active 1592-1622) in 1596. Johnson's entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography describes the work as containing "a heady mix of romance, adventure, Christian crusading high-mindedness, and misogynist, vindictive, and racially directed violence.". The saints are depicted in simple woodcuts of the type commonly found in broadside ballads and chapbooks. The book bears the armorial crest bookplate of Peter Forbes and shows Glasgow provenance in the form of the ownership inscription of David Murray and the bookseller's label of Kerr & Richardson.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2931
Acquired on12/12/16
AuthorWilliam Brown
TitleHonour on crutches
ImprintGlasgow: William Lang
Date of Publication1822
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is an unrecorded pamphlet which resembles something of a modern-day Twitter spat. The text reveals, in full, a brief exchange of letters between William Brown of Greenockmains, Muirkirk, and Alexander Aird of Crossflatt, Muirkirk, in which Aird accuses Brown in a letter, dated 26 November 1821, of uttering defamatory words at the last meeting of the Muirkirk Debating Society. The alleged words were that "clergymen were better adepted [sic] for Justice of the Peace then sheep smearer, or in otherwords, then one whose fingers were dipt in tarr." And Aird assumed that he was "the person intitled the sheep smearer" referred to by Brown. The latter confirms that it was he who spoke the words at the Society meeting and Aird immediately proposes a duel as the only solution. Brown responds with a witty putdown to which Aird does not reply. Aird's letters are printed with a number of spelling mistakes, intended to highlight his lack of education and low social standing. The final two letters of Brown, dated 17 December, 1821 and 17 April, 1822, remain unanswered by Aird, the final letter announcing Brown's intention to publish the correspondence in view of Aird's failure to apologise to Brown. The final three pages of the pamphlet are devoted to "Notes" by Brown explaining the history of the Muirkirk Debating Society (instituted in 1820 with fortnightly meetings to discuss "questions unconnected with religion and politics"), sheep smearing and duelling. Quite why Brown really felt the need to go to the lengths of revealing his dispute with Aird is a mystery, perhaps because Aird felt sufficiently provoked to challenge him to a duel (four years later, in 1826, the last recorded duel in Scotland was fought in Fife).
ShelfmarkAP.2.217.01
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on11/11/16
AuthorScott, Walter & Douglas, David, ed.
TitleThe journal of Sir Walter Scott from the original manuscript at Abbotsford, + Familiar letters of Sir Walter Scott.
ImprintEdinburgh: David Douglas
Date of Publication1891 & 1894
LanguageEnglish
NotesDavid Douglas (1823-1916), described in his newspaper obituary as one of Edinburgh's "oldest literary patriarchs", was a publisher who worked for Blackwood's before forming the firm of Edmonston & Douglas. As a keen admirer of Walter Scott's works, and someone who personally had known some of Scott's friends and acquaintances, he was the first to edit and publish a collection of Scott's correspondence and his journal to meet the demand of scholars and fellow Scott devotees around the world. These are Douglas's own proof copies of these works with extensive annotations by him, showing the care and attention he devoted to his work.
ShelfmarkAB.3.217.10-11 & AB.3.217.14-15
Acquired on04/11/16
AuthorDu Val, Michael.
TitleRosa Hispani-Anglica seu Malum Punicum Angl' Hispanicum.
Imprint[London: s.n.]
Date of Publication1622
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe first edition in English of an elaborate and curious pro-Spanish tract concerning the long-running negotiations from 1614 to 1623 for the proposed marriage between the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, and the Infanta Maria Anna, daughter of Philip III, King of Spain. The preliminaries are signed by a 'Michael du Val', a pseudonym for an unidentified author, who was clearly a supporter of Count Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador to England between 1614 and 1618 and 1620 and 1622. Gondomar's mission was to promote the Spanish marriage as a means of keeping King James VI/I from allying with other European Protestant states against Spain in the Thirty Years' War. The negotiations for the 'Spanish Match' eventually resulted in an ill-fated embassy of Charles and the 1st Duke of Buckingham to Madrid in 1623. The wedding never took place despite the signing of a marriage contract by James. Maria Anna was strongly against marrying a non-Catholic, and the Spanish would never have agreed to the marriage unless James and Charles pledged to repeal the anti-Catholic penal laws in England. The widespread opposition to the match in England led instead to the dissolution of Parliament. Charles went on to marry Princess Henrietta Maria of France and Maria Anna married Ferdinand III, then king of Hungary, who went on to become Holy Roman Emperor.
ShelfmarkRB.s.2929
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on28/10/16
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
LanguageEnglish
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.
ShelfmarkRB.m.766
Acquired on30/09/16
AuthorDavid Erskine
TitleFavorites [sic], beauties, and amours, of Henry of Windsor. An historical and biographical apicula.
ImprintLondon: Sherwood, Neely and Jones,
Date of Publication1817
LanguageEnglish
NotesBy a so-called "Verderer [judicial officer] of Windsor Forest", the author was in fact Sir David Erskine (1772-1837), writer and antiquary and illegitimate son of David Steuart Erskine, eleventh earl of Buchan. After serving as an army officer, Erksine was based at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, as captain of a company of gentlemen cadets. This 'apicula' is ostensibly about the life of Henry VIII, but is in fact a ramble through the history of 16th-century England with a juvenile readership in mind, as befitting the teacher of young cadets. This copy is a presentation copy from the author to Harriet Ellis, presumably a relative of Erskine's second wife, Ann Ellis. The manuscript inscription is on the recto of the front free endpaper of all three volumes. All three volumes also have the book label of "Edward and Ruby Thalmann".
ShelfmarkAB.2.216.19
Acquired on16/09/16
AuthorJohn Moncrief
TitleThe poor man's physician, or the receipts of the famous John Moncrief of Tippermalloch, 2nd edition.
ImprintEdinburgh: George Stewart
Date of Publication1716
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is the rare second edition, "very much enlarged and corrected", of a self-help manual for men and women who were not sufficiently wealthy to afford a doctor. The contents of the work are arranged according to the various parts of the body and the particular diseases affecting them. The author, John Moncrief/Moncrieff/Moncreiff, a "worthy and ingenious gentleman", was a physician and 5th baronet of Tippermalloch in Strathearn, Perthshire. He recommends cures based on folk remedies, using herbs, spices, food, drink and other substances likely to be found in the average household, as well as toe-curlingly awful treatments involving animal parts, blood and excrement, such as washing the head in dog?s urine to make hair grow on bald heads. This particular copy has the armorial bookplate on the front pastedown "The Right Honble. Patrick Hume Earl of Marchmont Viscount of Blasonberry Lord Polworth of Polwarth &c Lord High Chancelor [sic] of Scotland 1702".
ShelfmarkAB.1.216.62
Acquired on09/09/16
Author[Samuel Smiles]
TitleHappy homes and the hearts that make them.
ImprintChicago: US Publishing House
Date of Publication1882
LanguageEnglish
NotesThe Scottish author Samuel Smiles (1812-1904) became famous throughout the world for his didactic biographies and his Self-help book. Happy homes was a selection of excerpts from Smiles's existing published works, with some of the other biographical sketches changed to American historical figures to suit the tastes of an American readership. This copy is an 1882 salesman's sample book for a 644-page edition published in Chicago by the U.S. Publishing House. The sample book contains approximately 56 sample pages including the frontispiece and six other engravings. At the back of this sample book there are printed testimonials from satisfied customers and examples of the marbled end papers and of the four kinds of bindings a customer could get his/her copy bound in, once the subscription was completed. Of particular interest are the 20 blank pages to record subscriptions, of which 11 pages have been filled in by hand with the subscribers' names and the kind of binding they wished to order. The salesman has also pasted a printed slip on the first page of subscribers? names with the blurb, "its inspiring pages, rich steel engravings, and substantial binding all combine to make this beautiful volume a gift that will speak long after the lips of the giver are sealed and the voice hushed", which might have influenced his sales pitch on the doorstep.
ShelfmarkAB.3.216.09
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on26/08/16
AuthorWalter Scott
TitleMatylda Rokeby romans poetyczny
ImprintWarsaw: Jozef Pukszty
Date of Publication1826
LanguagePolish
NotesThis is the first edition in Polish of Walter Scott's narrative poem "Rokeby", translated by Wanda Malecka (1800-1860) an author, translator, journalist and publisher, who is claimed to be the first Polish woman to publish a newspaper. Rokeby was first published in English in 1813, like all of Scott's work, it had a major influence on contemporary Polish literature and the new Romantic style which became popular in the 1820s.
ShelfmarkAB.1.216.51
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on26/08/16
AuthorM.G.
TitleScotland.
ImprintLondon: Castell brothers
Date of Publication1892?
LanguageEnglish
NotesA rare survival of a shape-book for children, with colour-printed lithograph covers and illustrations printed in Germany (Munich) for the London publisher. The interior features charming illustrations and rhyming verse describing Scottish traditions and characters including the bagpipes, golf, fishwives, hunters, and the sword dance. The back cover lists the counties, major rivers and mountains of the country. The book is one of a series of five shape-books (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, South Africa) published by Castell Brothers.
ShelfmarkAP.1.216.49
Acquired on26/08/16
Author[John Patrick]
TitlePhotograph of Scotland v England rugby match at Raeburn Park Edinburgh. March 5th 1892.
ImprintEdinburgh: John Patrick
Date of Publication1892
LanguageEnglish
NotesThis is a large cabinet print, taken from a high vantage point near the half-way line, of a Calcutta Cup game between Scotland and England and Raeburn Park (Place), in Stockbridge, Edinburgh. Raeburn Place hosted Scotland rugby internationals until the mid-1920s when the Scottish Rugby Union acquired the Murrayfield site in Edinburgh. Both Scotland and England had won their first two games in the 1892 Home Nations Championship when the two nations met for the match which would decide the outcome of the Championship. In front of a crowd of 15,000 England won the game 5 - 0, with one try and one conversion. The photograph comes from the studio of John Patrick (1831-1923), who set up his first studio in Fife in the 1860s, having previously worked as a baker and bookseller. He moved to Edinburgh, opening a studio in 1884, specialising in portrait and landscape photography, as well as sporting scenes such as this one. A similar print for the 1894 Calcutta Cup game in Edinburgh is held in the collections of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
ShelfmarkPhot.la.89(1)
Acquired on12/08/16
AuthorJane Porter
TitleThaddaus Constantin Graf von Sobieski. : Novelle.
ImprintDresden: P.G. Hilschersche Buchhandlung
Date of Publication1825-1831
LanguageGerman
NotesThis is the first edition in German of Jane Porter's (c. 1776-1850) hugely popular novel "Thaddaeus of Warsaw" first published in English in 1803. Jane Porter was born in England but moved to Edinburgh with her family in 1780, after the death of her father. She was formally educated in Edinburgh but she would later claim she also received an informal education from listening to tales of Scottish history about the lives of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce as told by the servants in her home and by an elderly neighbour. These tales would inspire later when she came to write historical fiction. Porter's mother was acquainted with Walter Scott's mother, and he is said to have played with the girls when he was a boy (Scott, however, makes no reference to the family in his letters or journals). The family later moved to London where Jane began her literary career. "Thaddaeus of Warsaw" was inspired by the Polish patriot Tadeusz Kosciuszko (1746-1817), who had fought unsuccessfully to preserve Polish-Lithuanian independence from Russia. In the novel Porter creates the fictional character of Thaddeus Sobieski, who takes part in the unsuccessful nationalist struggle in Poland in 1794?5. Thaddeus flees to London, where he has further adventures, and falls in love and is reunited with his long-lost father. The success of the novel was immediate and Porter followed it up with an even more successful one "The Scottish chiefs". A footnote to the 1831 introduction of "Thaddeus of Warsaw" states that it was after the publication of "Thaddeus" and "The Scottish Chiefs in German" that Jane Porter was made a lady of the Chapter of St. Joachim and received the gold cross of the order of Wuerttemberg for her representation of virtuous Christian heroes.
ShelfmarkAB.1.216.46
Reference SourcesOxford Dictionary of National Biography
Acquired on29/07/16
Author[William Hugh Logan & Robert Henry Wyndham]
TitleLittle Bo-Peep; or, Harlequin and The Little Girl that Lost her Sheep. A Pastoral Pantomime + St. George & ye Dragon; or, Harlequin and Ye Seven Champions of Christendom. A Grand Comic Christmas Pantomime, 1857-58
Imprint[Edinburgh]: Theatre Royal
Date of Publication1857-58
LanguageEnglish
NotesThese are two unrecorded printed scripts of Christmas pantomimes, each produced for one of Wyndham's two Edinburgh theatres and written by Logan. Both works contain early lithographed illustrations by Keeley Haswelle (1832-1891), an English artist and book illustrator whose work for the Illustrated Shakespeare of Robert Chambers took him to Edinburgh. Henry Irving (1838-1905), later to become the most famous actor in Victorian Britain, appeared in both plays. He was then a 19-year-old and only a year into his long, 15-year theatrical apprenticeship, having first appeared on the Edinburgh stage earlier that year. ,Although not given credit in the dramatis personae, Irving played "Captain Scruncher, of the Wolves" in the production of Little Bo-Peep. What role he played in St. George & ye Dragon is unclear. He remained with the Wyndhams as "juvenile lead" until September 1859.
ShelfmarkAB.3.216.04(1-2)
Reference SourcesBookseller's notes
Acquired on22/07/16
AuthorAnon.
TitleThe balance of public favor [sic].
ImprintLondon: Thomas McLean
Date of Publication1827
LanguageEnglish
NotesA lithographic satirical print depicting Sir Walter Scott and Thomas Moore, two friends but also literary rivals, sitting on opposite ends of a giant set of scales. The scales are not balanced: Scott is seated on the higher scale, looking gloomy, clutching the nine volumes of his biography of Napoleon, while Moore, the Irish poet, is on the lower scale, looking pleased, and confidently holding up a single small volume for Scott to look at. The print refers to the fact that Scott's "The life of Napoleon Buonaparte" was due to be published on the same day in 1827 as Thomas Moore's prose romance, "The epicurean, a tale", based on his unfinished poem "Alciphron". However, Moore managed to beat Scott to the punch by getting his book published a day earlier. Scott's biography was subsequently a commercial success but met with a very mixed critical reception, whereas Moore's first novel was an immediate commercial and critical success, hence "the balance of public favo[u]r" falling in Moore's favour.
ShelfmarkAP.5.216.11
Acquired on22/07/16
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