Sunday 21 August 2011

The Aneurin Williams Bookplate Collection

Printed by Messrs. Hughes and Son, Principality Press, 1938
It's a rainy Sunday afternoon and I'm pretty much stuck indoors for the day, so it seemed like a good time to browse through some of the recently arrived bookplate and book history literature.  As usual, not much of it is Canadian focused, but rather American or British.  So until I can find more Canadian publications on the subject, the next few book reviews will likely deal with bookplates from other countries.

One simple yet interesting book I scored off the Internet was a work titled National Library of Wales Catalogue of the Aneurin Williams Collection of Bookplates.  Authored and compiled by Herbert M. Vaughan, then Chairman of the Books Committee of the National Library of Wales, this publication offers a concise overview and listing of the 854 bookplates in Mr. Williams' collection.

Aneurin Williams (1859-1924) was a British Liberal Party politician who stood as a member of parliament for Plymouth, North West Durham, and Consett.  A life long interest in literature and the formation of a good private library encouraged his collection of bookplates, which was wide and general in its scope but also containing a small number of ex libris not previously known or listed in Franks at the time.  What interested me in particular was the listing of bookplates associated with University of Oxford, a place with which I am happily familiar with.

The catalogue itself is straightforward, offering heraldry and biographical notes of the various owners of the bookplates.  The entire list is also cross-refernced with the Franks catalogue, which is helpful.  The book itself is clothbound, 142 pp., illus. and was published in a limited edition of 500 unnumbered copies in 1938.  Though hardly a rare volume it seems, my own copy smells like it's been sitting on a dusty shelf of some private study for a long time, and one does wonder how many copies have actually survived.  Regardless, it's a good reference added to my slowly growing library of books on ex libris.  For your notes.  

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