David Erskine 1742-1829

From Book Owners Online

David ERSKINE, 11th Earl of Buchan, 1742-1829

Biographical Note

Son of Henry David Erskine, 10th Earl of Buchan (1710-1767). He was educated at home and then at St Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities. He had a long-standing interest in political reform and in Scottish antiquarianism. His friends included John Wilkes and Benjamin Franklin. He was a keen sponsor of the arts and scholarship.


Buchan's library was sold at auction by Mr. Nisbet in Edinburgh in 1859, some thirty years after his death. The library contained many 18th century books, especially from Foulis Press. The auction was comprised of 282 lots of books, with lots 256-282 composites of many volumes. Additionally, 17 prints, and 153 pictures were sold in addition to the books.

The collection contained encyclopedias, religious volumes, and histories. Notable examples include:

Beattie's Essays (1766) (Lot 197)

Maitland's History of Edinburgh (1753) (Lot 243)

Euclid's Data, Glasgow University Library [Sp Coll BE5-e.27]

Extract of orders and regulations for garrison and camp duties, Glasgow University Library [Sp Coll Mu53-d.21]

Characteristic Markings

Used an engraved bookplate:

Franks 9918 (Erskine), The Right Honourable David S., Earl of Buchan, Lord Auchterhouse and Cardross, &c. (David Stewart, 11th Earl of Buchan, succeeded 1767; died 1829. The plate of the 9th Earl with inscription altered.


  • Catalogue of the collection of books and pictures, belonging to the estate of David Stuart, Earl of Buchan also another property: A select collection of pictures, by ancient and modern masters which will be sold by auction by Mr. T. Nisbet, in Edinburgh, on Friday and Saturday, December 9 and 10, 1859, etc. Edinburgh, 1859 (copy in National Library Scotland, K.R.16.f.5(5)).
  • Gambier Howe, E. R. J. Franks bequest: catalogue of British and American book plates bequeathed to the ... British Museum. London, 1903.
  • Macleod, Emma Vincent. "Erskine, David Steuart, eleventh earl of Buchan (1742–1829), antiquary and political reformer." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.