Wednesday, 31 October 2012

2012 Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair

Time to break out the debit card!
I stumbled upon this event last year and highly recommend it if you're in the area.  The Ottawa Antiquarian Book Fair is Canada’s oldest book fair. This year it will include over 40,000 items, dating from the 15th century to the present day, displayed for sale by 40 dealers from across Canada and the United States. The fair will be held on Sunday, 4 November, at Tudor Hall, 3750 North Bowesville Rd.  10:30am – 5:30pm Admission: $5.00  Free Parking.

There is a great range of subjects covered at this show, some great book dealers, and obviously something for all manner of interests and budgets.  I am certainly looking forward to what might turn up here.

Have a great Halloween everyone and I'll report back on this event next week!  Until next time...

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The Bookplate of Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine

Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine (1807-1864) 
It's been a rather busy year for me, and always the hobbies must come last.  That said, however, there's nothing like a cold rainy Sunday in October to create some downtime for casual collecting and research.

One area of my bookplate collection that has been growing nicely lately is my section on Canadian political leaders.  Fortunately, many of these men were originally merchants, lawyers, doctors, businessmen or similar professionals, which meant that they often had reference libraries and thus a tendency to have bookplates made for themselves.  One that I recently acquired from Tomas G. Boss Fine Books was a bookplate for the great Canadian politician Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine.

Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, 1st Baronet, KCMG, was the first Canadian to become Prime Minister of the United Province of Canada and the first head of a responsible government in Canada.  Born in Boucherville, Lower Canada in 1807, he was a jurist and statesman, being first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada in 1830. He was a political supporter of Louis Papineau and member of the Parti canadien. After the severe consequences of the Rebellions of 1837 against the British authorities, Lafontaine advocated political reforms within the new Union regime of 1841.  He has been immortalized in statue more than once, and is perhaps one of the most significant political figures in early Canadian history.

Lafontaine's bookplate
Lafontaine lived, worked, and acquired books for his library at at time when, according to Prescott's study on Canadian bookplates, "the most tiresome and inartistic style, the die sink armorial, was popular in England."  Prescott also suggested that there were practically no pictorial plates produced in Canada for book owners during this period but as my own collection continues to grow I would begin to argue that his assessment may have been incorrect.

Lafontaine's bookplate is a classic example of an early nineteenth century die-sunk Canadian pictorial label.  It is possible he chose a pictorial rather than an armorial de-sink simply as a reflection of the mood of the period - in post-revolutionary France any references to royalty and heraldry were out, even on bookplates (see Walter Hamilton's book on French bookplates for more detail on this trend). Nevertheless, it is a very attractive plate for its age and it does stand out nicely against my other Canadian political armorial ex libris.

I'm always on the look out for other Canadian bookplates like these, so if you have something you want to part with don't hesitate to get in touch.  Until next time....

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Modern Bookplate - An Example

Modern Ex Libris
Living where I do I often come across discarded military history and other defence studies books.  Every now and again I'm pleased to find that some of these books include bookplates.  Recently I picked up a couple of items that contained what could be considered very modern bookplates by typical standards, even though these ex libris appear to have been created during the 1970s or 1980s.

The plate on the left represented the library of the Canadian department of national defence's operational research division, whereas the plate on the right was for the DND Operational Research and Analysis Establishment.  A bit of research has suggested that neither of these libraries still exist, so I don't think I'll come across these ex libris again anytime soon.  I would still like to pin them down to a more definitive date, but in the meantime I'm glad I was able to pick up good specimens for my collection.

I don't know why exactly, but I find it interesting that the bookplate on the left appears to have been created with a dot matrix printer.  It gives the whole bookplate a very specific early computer tech look, which seems appropriate given the library the plate was made for.  Meanwhile the bookplate on the right clearly demonstrates the bilingual nature of the country's armed forces, as well as the connections to the commonwealth by the inclusion of the official crest.

Two modern bookplates, rather different from the usual fare that appears here.  Makes me wonder what other organizations were using bookplates well beyond the 'golden era'.  Until next time...

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Bookplate Journal - Spring 2012 Reprint

Spring 2012 - Reprint
Earlier this summer members of the Bookplate Society received a replacement copy of their spring 2012 journal as a result of printing errors in the original edition.  The following caveat was posted on the Bookplate Society Website:

Members please note that we discovered that some copies were defective. This issue was mailed direct to members by our printers, who have apologised for, and have rectified, the error. In some copies (we think about half of those sent out) there are pages where the paper is tinted cream and is glossy on one side, but is white and matt on the other.
In mid-August we sent to ALL members a reprinted journal, together with our Summer Newsletter. Please now destroy your copy of the earlier issue.

Needless to say this was a very thoughtful gesture and speaks highly of the bookplate's society commitment to bringing its members the best possible journal on the subject.  For those non-members who may be acquiring an individual copy by means other than through subscription, you'll know you have a corrected version if the word reprint appears on the last page of the journal.  Until next time...