A Scottish philosopher in Italian

We are always thrilled to find items we can add to our already quite comprehensive collection of works by the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume. This two-volume set, Saggie filosofici sull’umano intelletto de David Hume (RB.s.2913-2914) contains the first Italian translations of three of his works: of his Enquiry concerning Human Understanding (first published in […]

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Burns in the States

We have just bought the first collected American edition (AB.1.215.40-43) of Robert Burns’ poems. The four-volume set was published in Philadelphia in 1801. Philadelphia has lots of early associations with the poet: it’s the place where some of Burns’ poems first appeared in print in the USA, namely in the Pennsylvania Packet newspaper between 1787 and […]

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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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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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Skye-inspired verse

We recently bought a privately printed book with lithographed illustrations of some wildlife and albumen prints of landscapes and sheep on the Isle of Skye set in beautifully ornamented borders.  The author, illustrator and printer all in one was the rural improver and gardener Sir Charles Isham (1819-1903). He probably produced the book at his family estate of Lamport, […]

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A picturesque marriage proposal

A picturesque scene from Lady Anne Barnard’s 1772 ballad “Auld Robin Gray” is depicted in this hand-coloured mezzotint print (AP.5.213.13). Robin, an older Scotsman, is asking for a young girl’s hand. The girl, Jenny, is sitting at a spinning-wheel and Robin, wearing a kilt and tartan hose, and her mother are standing close-by outside a cottage. While Robin and Jenny’s mother are looking at her […]

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