Some key books in the printed collections in the National Library of Scotland

The books are arranged in chronological order by year of publication. This is not a comprehensive list, but selected highlights from our collections which relate to James, the Union and the culture of the period. Where there are multiple copies available, we have given all the relevant Library shelfmarks.

Other references: STC = 'Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland & Ireland and of English Books Printed abroad 1475-1640', A W Pollard and G R Redgrave, 2nd edition, London 1976-1991
Aldis = 'A List of Books Printed in Scotland before 1700', H G Aldis

'Germanicarum rerum quatuor celebriores vetustioresque chronographi'
Printed in Francoforti ad Moenum, 1566. A history of Germany, bound with Scottish royal arms in gilt.
Library shelfmark: Bdg.m.104

'Essayes of a prentise'
By James VI and I
Edinburgh, 1584. James's first volume of poetry
Shelfmarks: H.29.c.17; RB.s.51; Bdg.s.741
Other references: STC 14373;  Aldis 191

'His Maiesties poeticall exercises'
By James VI and I
Edinburgh, 1591. The copy with shelfmark Ry.II.f.22 is perhaps a proof copy, with corrections.
Shelfmarks: H.29.c.18; Ry.II.f.22
Other references: STC 14379; Aldis 225

By James VI and I
Edinburgh, 1597.
Shelfmarks: H.32.d.35; L.C.1499 - an excellent copy
Other references: STC 14364; Aldis 236

'Questions to be resolvit'
By James VI and I
Edinburgh, 1597. This is bound with other works, including James's 'Declaratioun', 1585 (STC 21948), about the Reformation.
Shelfmark: Ry.III.e.29
Other references: STC 21891; Aldis 301

'True lawe of free monarchies'
By James VI and I
Edinburgh, 1598. An excellent copy of the first edition.
Shelfmark: F.6.f.11
Other references: STC 14409; Aldis 309

'Basilicon Doron'
By James VI and I
Edinburgh, 1599. A handbook on kingship for James's eldest son, Prince Henry. One of two surviving copies of this private first edition, of which only seven were ever printed. With manuscript notes on title-page. In a vellum binding with a gilt design centring on a thistle. [See note]
Shelfmark: Ry.II.e.11
Other references: STC 14348; Aldis 311

'Disputationum Roberti Bellarmini'
Ingolstadii, 1601. Bound for King James; Paris binding of red morocco, with elaborate 'fanfare' gold tooling, possibly by Simon Corberan. With the Scottish royal arms and 'I. R.' ['Iacobus Rex' = King James], possibly added to blank spaces in the binding later.
Shelfmark: Bdg.m.89

'[Proclamation of accession]'
By James VI and I
London, 24 March 1602/3. The proclamation declaring that James was now King of England.
Shelfmark: RB.el.5
Other reference: STC 8298

'Basilicon Doron'
By James VI and I
Edinburgh, 1603. The first public edition.
Shelfmarks: H.32.f.15; RB.s.754
Other references: STC 14349; Aldis 364

'Basilicon Doron'
By James VI and I
London, 1603. The first London edition. Many variants.
Shelfmarks: Kk.7/2; AB.1.201.03; Nha.O220(3); RB.s.1614
Other reference: STC 14350

'Basilicon Doron'
By James VI and I
London, 1603. An unauthorised ediition, for which the printer was punished.
Shelfmark: H.32.f.18
Other reference: STC 14354

'Basilicon Doron'
By James VI and I
'Edenburgh: Henry Charteris', 1603. Apparently a unique copy; really printed abroad? The printer Henry Charteris had died in 1599.
Shelfmark: RB.s.516
Other reference: STC 14349.5

'Ane verie excellent and delectabill treatise intitulit Philotus'
Edinburgh, 1603.This anonymous play has been attributed to various writers, including King James, and (more plausibly) Alexander Montgomerie.
Shelfmark: H.29.c.33
Other references: STC 19888; Aldis 377

'The miraculous and happie Union of England & Scotland'
[By William Cornwallis, but published anonymously]
Edinburgh, 1604.
Shelfmark: H.32.d.31(1)
Other references: STC 5783; Aldis 383

By James VI and I
London, 1616 (1617?). The copy with shelfmark Ry.III.a.11 has an elaborate, heavily stamped, gold-tooled binding, with the arms of Great Britain in the centre of the panel. Hand-coloured. With other items added, e.g. a portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, a guide to coins at the end of the 'Discourse of the powder-treason'.
Shelfmarks: H.37.a.12; Jolly.2850; BCL.C252; Nha.M45; Ry.III.a.11
Other references: STC 14344

'The muses welcome'
By John Adamson
Edinburgh, 1618.With a binding similar to James's 'Workes' (Ry.III.a.11).
Shelfmark: Ry.III.c.12
Other references: STC 140.5; Aldis 531

'Declaration … concerning lawfull sports'
By James VI and I
London in 1618. First edition of the 'Book of Sports'.
Shelfmark: 1.581(2)
Other reference: STC 9238.9

'Mediation upon the Lords Prayer'
By James VI and I
London, 1619. James's own copy, with his initials on the title-page.
Shelfmark: RB.s.2081(1)
Other references: STC 14384

By James VI and I
London [1620]. A re-issue, including two additional works: the 'Meditation upon the Lords Prayer' and 'A paterne for a Kings inauguration'.
Shelfmark: RB.m.48
Other references: STC 14345

By James VI and I
A speech given on 26 March 1621. Bound up in a volume with Civil War pamphlets.
Shelfmark: 1.431(22)
Other references: STC 14399

'Historiarum de rebus Ungaricis libri XXXIV'
By Isthvanfius, Nicolaus
Coloniae Agrippinae, 1622. A history of Hungary, with a binding for James with his arms, attributed to the royal binder, John Bateman.
Shelfmark: Bdg.l.43

'Basilicon Doron' note: The only seven copies of the first edition of this handbook, printed in 1599, were intended as private printings for the royal family and the inner circle of the court. The book was leaked, however, and a furore followed when it became known what James had written about Puritans. A new, revised edition was produced by James and went on public sale in 1603.

Consulting our books

All these books are available for consultation in our Special Materials Reading Room. Other printed books written by or about James are noted in the main catalogue. You will need our shelfmark to consult a book if you visit the Library.

NLS visitors can also access books we do not hold through Early English Books Online. If you have registered to use our licensed digital collections, you may also have remote access to this resource.

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