Bookplates, Bookplates and more Bookplates

October 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

A bookplate, also known as ex-librīs (Latinfrom the books of..’)is usually a small print or decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover, to indicate its owner. Simple typographical bookplates are termed “booklabels”.When books were first printed they were rare and expensive and bookplates were used to identify the book’s owner. Bookplates typically bear a name, motto, device, coat-of-arms, crest, badge, or any motif that relates to the owner of the book, or is requested by him from the artist or designer.Over time, they have become an expression of the user’s personality and interests. Famous artists have designed them and some have become collector’s items.

The earliest known marks of ownership of books or documents date from the reign of Amenophis III in Egypt (1391–1353 BCE).The earliest known examples of printed bookplates are German, and date from the 15th century. One of the best known is a small hand-coloured woodcut representing a shield of arms supported by an angel, which was pasted into books presented to the Carthusian monastery of Buxheim by Brother Hildebrand Brandenburg of Biberach, about the year 1480—the date being fixed by that of the recorded gift. In France the most ancient ex-libris as yet discovered is that of one Jean Bertaud de la Tour-Blanche, the date of which is 1529. Holland comes next with the plate of Anna van der Aa, in 1597; then Italy with one attributed to the year 1622. The earliest known American example is the plain printed label of John Williams, 1679.

 Currently, we have an extensive bookplate collection for sale which features prominent artists such as Brett Whiteley, Norman Lindsay and Pixie O’Harris.  On Thursday the 1st of November from 5pm we will be hosting a bookplate and bubbles evening in which you can purchase these unique bookplates, or just come for a look and a glass of wine. It’s going to be a great night….


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