Bookplate

I absolutely love books, and I absolutely hate it when I lose them. My little office/studio is lined with shelves, all filled floor to ceiling with books on everything from calligraphy to psychology to literature to creativity. I sometimes think know I keep Amazon in business.

I also lend out books left, right and centre. Mostly they find their way back, like homing pigeons. Some however, roost elsewhere. I quite like the old-fashioned habit of putting bookplates in the front of books to indicate where they belong.

Some of the older examples of bookplates are miniature works of art in their own right. I bought a book (naturally) on the subject based on a collection held by The British Museum. (It includes works by Albrecht Dürer, Aubrey Beardsley and Eric Gill.) The little labels are full of symbolism and allegory, and often incorporate some kind of pun on the owner’s name.

So, I decided I’d like to design my own. The brown owl is a reference to my surname and a hint at my addiction to learning/quest for wisdom. It’s also a nod to my kids’ observation that when I laugh, I hoot like an owl. Unkind perhaps, but true.

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8 thoughts on “Bookplate

  1. Lovely! Ah, the times when people used bookplates (in Poland we just call the stamp / sign “ekslibris”). I can still find those in some older family books, but they seem to be no longer popular, as you just cannot place your bookplate in an electronic version of a book, can you? I’d love to have one myself – a bookplate with my name or initials, and some meaning ornament. Maybe one day? For now I stamp my books with my initials. One of my friends is a graphic artist and a few years back I got this stamp from her as a b-day gift. She did a really great job turning my initials (J.R.) into something a bit more fancy than just J.R.

    Have a great day!

  2. OH my what a wonderful idea. I am thinking I could get some large labels at an office supply store and make a few as Christmas gifts. They would fit so nicely into a Christmas card to mail! Thank you for the inspiration!

  3. I still use them. Years ago I found small packages of them (one design for me and one for a child’s book) and I always put one in when giving a book as a gift. For some reason, I hadn’t thought of them as being little pieces of art, and they really are. Now I’ll have to work on my own design. Great idea!
    🙂

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