Friday, November 12, 2010

First Bookplate Blog Post!

I will volunteer to start this meeting.  Hi, my name is Brian and I am a "Bookplate Addict"!

Every year or so I seem to find a way to get myself involved in another new hobby.  But when I step back and boil each hobby down to its base form it always has something to do with art.  This time around I have been bitten by what I call the "Pocket-Size Print" bug.  About 3 weeks ago I was surfing eBay for Japanese Woodblock prints.  I love Asian culture and have a few around the house already but felt it was time to treat myself to a new graphic image.  Well, in my searching I stumbles on a beautiful little piece by some Czech dude named Jan Konupek.  I was so intrigued by this image that I started researching this man named Konupek.  To my great surprise I learned of not only Konupek but of Kobliha, Váchal, Hodek, and on and on and on.  After I stopped drooling on my desk it struck me that these bookplates were basically "pocket size prints", many of a limited number, many over 75 years old, and gosh I just have to get some!

And so it started!

After more research on not only Czech artists but American artists as well I found that one could select 3-4 artists or 3-4 styles or 3-4 subject matters.  That person could have one heck of a good time searching books for just what they wanted.  I decided to give it a go!

My wife and I went up to Atlanta last week for business and I took the occasion to drag her into two dusty ol' antique bookstores.  The first stop was at Atlanta Vintage Books (  Super nice folks who tolerated me digging through their stuff.  I was amazed at how many covers I opened only to find really nice bookplates (some of which were even discussed in Charles Dexter Allen's book entitled "American Book-Plates: A Guide To Their Study with Examples".  The problem was that nearly all of these books were in the $50-200 dollar range.  Still it was a pleasant surprise to see so many "famous pocket-size prints" in person.  I did finally manage to find 2 books with nice plates that were affordable.

Here was the first.  Richard Hughes Armorial.  My research on Richard Hughes indicates that this was the famous British author. 

Taken from Wikipedia:
"Richard Arthur Warren Hughes OBE (19 April 1900 – 28 April 1976) was a British writer of poems, short stories, novels and plays."
My guess is that the bookplate was used from early 20s through his death.  If anyone can offer additional details I would love to hear them!
The next bookplate found at Atlanta Vintage Books was a neat little pictorial plate as shown below.  The only thing I can find on Ms. McRae right now is that she was probably a prominent lady in Atlanta in the early part of the 1800s.  She has a horticultural award given in her name as we all as an endowment in her name by the The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.  Dated 1924.  The plate, however, was engraved by a well-known artists named Ralph Fletcher Seymour.

                                                            Taken from Wikipedia:

"Ralph Fletcher Seymour (18 March 1876 – 1 January 1966) was an American artist, author, and publisher of the late nineteenth and the twentieth centuries.[1][2] Though long based in Chicago, he was also noted for his work in the American Southwest; he studied, wrote about, and portrayed the Native American cultures of the region." 
Our second stop in Atlanta was a nice little store called Books Again (  We were running out of time so we made this a quick stop.  The owner helped me dig through a few racks and we actually came up with several plates but most were of no interest to me.  I was about to walk out when he said "Hey, here is one more".  I opend the cover and BAM.....there was one heckuva nice armorial plate.  This unsigned engraving (again, any help here will be MOST appreciated) was for Baron Marcus Rosenkrantz.  Here is what I have learned about the Good Baron:  Armorial bookplate - based on my research about the Baron (he is a Danish noble) this plate is somewhere between his birth in 1871 and his death in 1933.  My guess is that it is 1890 or so.  Very beautiful.  I wish I knew who engraved it.  Any guesses?  He was living in Virginia (USA) at the time.
Well, my first "hunting trip" was filled with a lot of learning and 3 nice bookplates to boot!  Stay tuned for my next post where I will show off my 4th bookplate!


  1. Hey Brian,

    Congratulations for your blog, which I will follow regularly.
    You are off to a great start and I look forward to sharing the pleasure of bookplate collecting with you.


    Luigi Bergomi

  2. Dear Brian,
    Congratulations on your new blog.
    I look forward to the next posting.
    Lew Jaffe