Sunday 26 February 2012

Spring Cleaning = New Opportunities for books and bookplates

Another season of book hunting is here
Ah, spring.   It's one the best times of the year to get out and go looking for new books and bookplates.  People have been cooped up all winter staring at the piles of "clutter" on their shelves and in their attics, and armed with new year's resolutions and a renewed sense of cleanliness, countless new finds will soon appear on the market for the taking.

This past week I opted to start the ball rolling slowly, and scout out a number of book shops and thrift stores (which often have good book sections and very cheap prices) not too far from home.  Admittedly it was slow going indeed, as some of the shops have yet to put out new holdings while others have trimmed back on what they take in, and also what they will put out in the store.  One of my favourite haunts has now stopped buying paperbacks altogether, and now deals only in hardcovers.  Even then, their best items end up on their ABE listings while lesser quality and damaged items are put on the shelves in the store to be sold at a premium.  I'm a hardcover collector, so the focus doesn't bother me, only the quality of what is being offered.  This is a disappointing trend, but sadly it seems to be happening more and more around here.

Dr. Robert Lang?
Still, despite small setbacks I managed to pick up a couple of interesting things.  One of the most intriguing finds was this traditional armourial book plate that appears to be Canadian from the context in which I found it, but it could also be British - so many books were transplanted here from the UK it's hard to tell sometimes - I'm not sure yet.  The motto at the top seems familiar but I've yet to crack it without my Latin dictionary, which is buried somewhere downstairs in boxes.  It says roughly, "not hasty or... ?" (someone help me out).

T.J. 1903 ?
Still, I really like the design of this bookplate.  It's not a traditional armourial ex libris although it borrows from the classical relaxed shield designs.  The mantling is exceptionally ornate, and the tower helm is provocative. The bookplate was engraved and printed on a watermarked paper, and measures 6.5x11cm.   The artist's initials and date of design is just to the right of the tower and looks like 'T.J. or G. and the date 1903'.  Unfortunately, I have no idea who the artist was.  As an admitted novice to the subject, I appreciate that every bookplate discovery reminds me that I have just that much more to learn about the hobby. So this year, I'm committing myself to uncovering the artists - both famous and less well known - that created these pint-sized masterpieces.  In the meantime, if you learn anything at all about this bookplate, please email me.  Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. This is probably your man:
    Intresting that he was Scotish, because every time (I mean twice) that I have run down a name that has been latinized, the plate belonged to a Scot.
    And the moto: