A Scottish penny wedding

We have bought a Belfast-printed broadside (AP.el.214.02) entitled ‘A Scottish penny wedding’ dating from the 1840s. It contains a large wood engraving printed from nine individual blocks. The illustration shows a lively wedding scene in a barn with the bride and groom dancing to fiddle music and guests eating and drinking merrily. There were three […]

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Famous Britons in the French Revolutionary War

We have recently bought a collection of biographical sketches and anecdotes relating to famous Britons who had distinguished themselves during the French Revolutionary War (1793-1802). Among the 24 men described in ‘Neuer brittischer Plutarch’ (AB.2.214.37) are the Scots Adam Duncan, Viscount Duncan;  Henry Dundas, first Viscount Melville; Thomas Erskine, fisrt Baron Erskine; and Sir John […]

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Images of Ossian

We recently had an opportunity to buy a rare copy in original wrappers of a portfolio of six lithographs and a leaf of descriptive text by the German artist Carl Harnisch (1800-1882). The illustrations are inspired by the poems of Ossian, the legendary Celtic bard. The work is entitled ‘Bildliche Darstellungen in Arabeskenform zu Ossians […]

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Stevenson family affairs

The famous Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson was plagued by chronic lung problems and spent the winters of 1880-1 and 1881-2 with his family in Davos-Platz in Switzerland on medical advice. Stevenson, his stepson (Samuel) Lloyd Osbourne (1868-1947) and Lloyd’s mother Fanny, since 1880 Stevenson’s wife, passed some of their time in the Alps with […]

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A satire about a Prime Minister

We have bought an very unusual satirical broadside (AP.6.213.06): it attacks the unpopular Prime Minister John Stuart, third Earl of Bute (1713-1792). It’s written in the form of a letter from Beelzebub, or the Devil, to the Earl of Bute. At the top is a portrait of Lord Bute, which, unusually, is not a caricature but is a faithful representation of […]

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Ex libris David Hume

Recently we had an opportunity to acquire a volume with five works by the French writer, historian and philosopher Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) (1694-1778). They were printed between 1766 and 1769. But the really exciting thing about the volume (RB.s.2875(1-5)) is not its contents, but its provenance: it was formerly in the library of the eminent Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776)! We […]

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