William Stewart d.ca.1815

From Book Owners Online

William STEWART d.c.1810

Biographical Note

William Stewart Esq. of Spoutwells is unidentified.


Stewart's library was sold at auction after his death, in Perth by the bookseller David Morison Junior, over an unknown number of days beginning 28th July 1817. It comprises 6612 lots of books, including 140 bound volumes of sermons and tracts. Of these books, 2421 were listed as duodecimo and smaller, 2436 were listed as octavo (with some smaller), and the rest about equally quarto and folio. Lot 37, page 5, is recorded as an incunabula, Sermones er Epistolae Leonis, cura Johannis Andreae Episcopi Aleriensis, printed between 1464-1471. Minto writes that 'This was at the time the largest private library ever dispersed in Scotland'.

The largest collections by subject were "Modern Foreign History, Voyages, Travels, &c", with 1152 lots, including 38 volumes of tracts; "Divinity and Ecclesiastical History," with 1068 lots, including 25 volumes of tracts; poetry and drama, with at least 287 lots; and dictionaries and bibliography, with 266 lots. The library also held a significant number of books on coins and medals (174 lots), and on British "History, Topography, &c." (203 lots). Within the lots marked as miscellaneous there is a notable theme of texts on antiquities, which the introduction mentions as "principally imported directly from the Continent". The library also held a collection of rare Bibles, 16th-18th century. Most of the books were in English, but there were 959 in other modern languages (mostly French, with some Italian), and over 350 Latin books.

The catalogue notes that the section of "Books of Prints, on Architecture, Drawing, &c", with 149 lots, is noteworthy because of "the greater part [of that section] having been in the Museum of the late Lord Haddo, who collected them himself during his travels on the continent." (59) The introduction also notes that Mr Stewart was an active "collector during the 60 years in which he had ready access to London and the Continent."


  • Catalogue of an extensive and valuable collection of books and prints, chiefly old: being the entire library of the late William Stewart, Esq. of Spoutwells, Perth. (Perth: David Morison, 1817). [NLS: T.465.f]
  • Carter, J. and J. Pittock (eds.), Aberdeen and the enlightenment, (Aberdeen, 1987), 306-307 with note 31.
  • Minto, John, "A notable publishing house: the Morisons of Perth", The Library, Volume s2-I, Issue 3, December 1899, Pages 254–263. https://doi.org/10.1093/library/s2-I.3.254.