Friday 29 March 2013

Bookplates Exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada
March is typically a very busy writing month for me - end of the fiscal year at work related activities, research reports to close off, as well as the start of a busy conference season, which means papers to prepare, etc.  As such, I haven't had much time for blogging this month, but I have been pursuing the hobby through exchanging research notes with a new colleague who is preparing an exhibition on Canadian bookplates from the Collection of the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

The exhibition is scheduled to run from May 8-August 30, 2013, and presents a selection of Canadian bookplates from the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives, beginning with an assortment from the nineteenth century, including those of two former prime ministers, John A. Macdonald and Robert Borden.

Most of the early examples that will be shown are known as armorial bookplates, featuring heraldic devices such as crests and shields to denote pedigree. Also on display will be works by seven artists who are widely acknowledged as Canada’s leading bookplate designers: William Walker Alexander (1870–1948), Morley Ayearst (1899–1983), Alexander Scott Carter (1881–1968), Stanley Harrod (1881–1954), Alfred Harold Howard (1854–1916), J. E. H. MacDonald (1873–1932) and Leslie Victor Smith (1880–1952). All were part of the bookplate revival that began in Canada in the 1890s and continued into the 1930s.

Needless to say I'm very excited to see the opening of this exhibition and encourage everyone to make a trip to the gallery to see it as well.  Until next time...


  1. We should plan a day where followers of the blog can meet up at the exhibit.

  2. Sounds like a great idea! Any other followers of this website interested in meeting at the exhibit? If so, post a comment here!

  3. Well, I made it. Pretty small but what a concentration of talent. I have a few Stanley Harrod plates, but the quality of the ones on show were a revelation. After seeing this, and a recent trip to the Rockwell Kent museum in Plattsburg, I'm amazed again at the jem like quality that is possible in the small print...