A richly illustrated book published this week celebrates the extraordinary and varied nature of the Scottish collections of the National Library.
'Rax me that buik' presents a selection of the most fascinating, intriguing and historically significant material among our Scottish holdings. Some items may be surprising in a national collection, but they indicate that the collection's scope goes far beyond the obvious 'treasures'.
Personally chosen by Dr Iain Gordon Brown, NLS Principal Curator in Manuscripts Collections, the selection reflects many aspects of Scottish history, life and thought. It also illustrates the history and development of the Library from its 17th-century origins.
Among the carefully chosen highlights are:
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- A facsimile (1809) of the first English newspaper, reporting the Battle of Flodden (1513)
- A letter saying that newly independent America would make 'but a ridiculous figure in history' (1777)
- A lithograph showing fossilised raindrops (1851-1853)
- An invoice for a supply of chocolate by an Italian to the Viceroy of India (1907)
- A verse letter from George Bernard Shaw to would-be Scottish writer James Kennaway (1947)
- A Gaelic text-messaging guide (2003).
Priced £16.95, the book is published in paperback by Scala, specialists in high-quality books on arts and heritage topics.
And the title? For those unfamiliar with Scots, the closest English translation is 'Reach (or 'hand') me that book'.
15 October 2010