Saturday, 11 April 2015

More 19th Century Bookplates

My two favourite things
The pile seems endless. As I sit here at stare at coat of arms after coat of arms, I must admit that I did not realize there was so much heraldry in nineteenth century Canada. Morley, Ayearst, and Harrod actually noted in their introduction in Prescott's catalogue that much of the nineteenth century Canadian ex Libris consisted of die sink armorials. Perhaps they were right after all.

These are the type of bookplate I often see sitting in shoe boxes at book fairs. Somewhat abandoned to be bought for a dollar or two each because, frankly, no one has a clue who these people were or what their shields and crests mean. Mottos are proudly displayed in cryptic Latin, a language of sophistication all but lost on most folks today. Thankfully, in Canada at least, the language provides a convenience for most - no need to write things twice in English and French when it could be presented once in Latin.

And behind each bookplate is a story. A library. A person. And as a result I continue to sift through the pile, looking for clues that lets me unlock the biographies of their owners and designers. Unfortunately, most armorials lack a designers initials or mark, and as such, one is left to consult other sources to determine their origin. I've had some luck in looking through advertisers of the period in question.

Below, as promised, are a few mentioned in Prescott that I'm currently researching further. If you anything about the owners of these plates or their designers, please feel free to comment. Otherwise, enjoy, and I'll write more about them once the research has progressed a but further.

Until next time...

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