Douglas Collection


Douglas Collection


A collection of books formed by Lord George Douglas, youngest son of the 1st Duke of Queensberry, who died a young man in around 1693. There are over 800 items (so far identified as being from the bequest) of the 16th and the 17th century, mostly continental printings. Lord George had studied law during his extended Grand Tour on the Continent, which lasted from April 1686 to January 1693. His stay abroad gave him the opportunity to acquire large numbers of books at reasonable prices, some of which are recorded in manuscript in the books, which were later sent back to Scotland. Legal works predominate, followed by Italian, Greek and Latin literature, and works on classical antiquities.


At some point during the 18th century the Douglas books ceased to be kept together as a separate collection. 159 volumes, chiefly French and Italian books, are now placed at the shelfmark 'Hall.292'. Other books from the collection were distributed to other Advocates Library shelfmarks. Books from the donation are inscribed on a front fly-leaf 'Lib: D: D: Georgij Douglas Bibliothecae Facultatis Juridicae Edinburgi Donat:'.


The collection was presented to the Faculty of Advocates by the Duke of Queensberry and received by the Library in 1695. The Duke had some of the bindings stamped with his own arms before presenting them. In 1925, on the formation of the National Library, the collection was divided, with the law books being retained by the Advocates Library and the rest going to the National Library.

Related collections

A record of the Faculty of Advocates (FR 198) contains a manuscript catalogue of the donation, which included two manuscripts now held in the Library's manuscript collections: an Italian copy of Virgil's 'Eclogues' and 'Aeneid' of 1467 (Adv.MS.18.4.14); and a history of the Reformation in the Palatinate (Adv.MS.33.5.5).


'Lord George Douglas (1667/1668?-1693?) and his Library' WA Kelly, The Stair Society, Miscellany three (edited by W.M. Gordon), Edinburgh, 1992, 160-172.

'The Library of Lord George Douglas (ca. 1667/8?-1693?): an Early Donation to the Advocates Library', WA Kelly, Cambridge, 1997.




French history, language and literature

Greek language and literature

Italian language and literature

Latin language and literature