Thursday, February 25, 2010

Little Bits of the Graver's Art

You know it was the golden age of illustration when even bookplates had a magical essence.

This is what was said about the subject in a 1902 book:

The book-plate designers of today are legion because they are many. Almost every one who can draw, and many who cannot, have ventured into the field of book-plate designing; and the result has been that many of the book-plates that are current have little to commend them to critical observers. The present increasing interest in these little bits of the graver's art has greatly encouraged the production of them, and new ones arise daily. It is desirable, therefore, if we are to have book-plates at all, that they shall be as artistic as may be; and it is important, from an art standpoint, to all those who are about to adopt the use of these marks of ownership that they shall have, as they may have, the artistic flavor about them.

Designer: Alexandre de Riquer

Designer: DH Smith

Designer: Henry Ospovat

Designer: Henry Ospovat

Designer: Jessie King

1 comment: said...

Unsurprisingly, I've picked-up a number of these “ex libris” book-plates; and, unsurprisingly, I agree that the earlier examples typically have far more to commend them.

In my 'blog, I offered a scan of one in color by Karel Šimůnek (1869 – 1942) that I particularly like.