Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My friendly neighborhood bookbinder comes through again!

If I were not a believer in bookbinders being a solid source for good material then I surely am now after receiving today's mail!  My second package from a bookbinder here in Georgia came today and it was loaded with goodies.  21 plates in all and some are shown below.  The choicest pieces were a P. Maverick, 2 E.D. French plates (a Crear Library was in the package but it is a duplicate so it is available for trading), a nice Ames & Rollinson plate, and several other armorials of important people!  Here they are:


Maverick plate - my first one ever and it is a beauty!  The only good information that I could find on the good de Rham was from a Sotheby's auction of his belongings.  It is as follows:

The desk-and-bookcase was made for Henry Casimir De Rham, (born 1785 in Brunswick, England, died 1863, New York) and his wife Maria Moore De Rham, of New York. Henry Casimir De Rham served as the Swiss Consul General and was deeply involved in many of the French and Swiss immigrants in New York. Upon his arrival in New York in 1805 he founded a mercantile firm of De Rham, Iselin and Moore with offices at 114 Washington Street. The De Rhams lived at 24 Fifth Avenue, in a home that remained in the family into the twentieth century. Their daughter, Julia, married into the Schmidt family, and it is her printed label that appears on the interior of the desk section. For more information on the De Rham and Schmidt families please see the 1899 book, Smaller New York and Family Reminiscences; De Rham, Schmidt, Bache, Barclay, and Paul Richard.

John Chandler Bancroft Davis , as taken from Wikipedia:
John Chandler Bancroft Davis (December 22, 1822 – December 27, 1907), commonly known as Bancroft Davis, was an American lawyer, judge, diplomat, and president of Newburgh and New York Railway Company.

This one is also a duplicate and available for a trade!

I am not 100% sure but I do believe this plate to belong to the Joseph Hodgson as described in the following Wikipedia entry.
Joseph Hodgson (1788–1869) was a British physician, former president of the Medical and Chirurgical Society of London, surgeon at Birmingham General Hospital and author of the treatise On Wounds and Diseases of Arteries and Veins. He was a well-known Quaker.
Hodgson is best known for his description of Hodgson's disease, an aneurysmal dilatation of the proximal part of the aorta, often accompanied by dilatation or hypertrophy of the heart.
He is buried at Highgate Cemetery, London.

More biographical information from the Wonderful Wikipedia:
William Handy Ludlow (April 2, 1821 Yonkers, Westchester County, New York - September 26, 1890 Oakdale, Suffolk County, New York) was an American politician.

He was the son of Ezra Ludlow and Rachel Seguine. He married Frances Louisa Nicoll, heiress of the Nicoll estate around Islip on Long Island, New York. Their sons were Nicoll Ludlow and General William Ludlow.

He was a Democratic member from Suffolk County of the New York State Assembly, and was Speaker in 1853.  In 1854, he ran for Lieutenant Governor of New York on the ticket with Horatio Seymour, but was defeated.  He was a delegate to the 1860 Democratic National Convention.  In 1889, he sold "Oakdale Farm", a 400-acre (1.6 km2) estate, to Frederick Gilbert Bourne.

Unknown bookplate - I wish I could figure this one out.  Something about it is very cool though!  Maybe the impaled head?

Lucy Wharton Drexel - bio information taken from

Lucy Wharton Drexel (1867-1944), an heiress from Philadelphia, was the second daughter of Joseph W. Drexel, the philanthropist and co-founder of Drexel, Morgan & Co., and Lucy Wharton. In 1890, Lucy Drexel married Eric B. Dahlgren, a son of Admiral John A. Dahlgren, the famous naval officer who made his fortune from the design and patents for the "Dahlgren Gun" used in the Civil War. Following their society wedding, which was performed by Archbishop Corrigan in the Philadelphia Cathedral, the Dahlgrens moved to New York City where Eric would have a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. The Dahlgrens raised eight children in their residence at 812 Madison Avenue, and also maintained a country home in Lawrence, L.I. In January 1912, Lucy Dahlgren's conservative and staunchly Catholic mother died. Two months later, on March 23, 1912, Mrs. Dahlgren sued her husband for a decree of absolute divorce, charging that he was guilty of misconduct on March 13 and 14 of the previous week with an unnamed co-respondent in an apartment house at 54 East 59th Street. To avoid further unpleasantness during the highly-publicized and scandalous divorce proceedings, Mrs. Dahlgreen left the case in the hands of attorneys and took her children abroad.

Mr. Libbey was quite the Renaissance Man and I am proud to have his plate in my collection!

William A. Libbey III  (March 27, 1855 – September 6, 1927) was an American professor of physical geography at Princeton University. He was twice a member of the U.S. Olympic Rifle Team, and rose to the rank of colonel in the New Jersey National Guard. He is also known for his first ascent of Mount Princeton in 1877.

I couldn't find details on V.D. Galton.  The plate is signed with initial "JB".  Any help on this would be appreciated!

OK, the only bio info I could find on Mathias Noheimer was from  I'm not convinced it is the same person but that is such an unusual name that maybe it just is thew same guy.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, he studied at the University of Cincinnati and the Art Academy of Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Museum, 1932, 1934
San Francisco Museum of Art, 1935
Cincinnati New Group, 1935, 1936
American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1945
Direct Mail Advertising Association, 1944 Prize winner
His work is in many public and private collections, mainly in the Cincinnati area.  Noheimer illustrated several books, including Any Day Now, 1938, A Baker's Dozen, 1939, and Ali Baba, in 1943.
Who's Who 1947

And last but not least is the fantastically hip bookplate for one Clarence Brown.  No info could be found but this is one groovy plate!

I probably won't get another entry out until after Christmas so to all of you out there.....Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Chanukah, and Happy Hunting!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bookplate - noun

As a way to kill some time before my next post, and it shoukld be a good one, here is's definition of a bookplate:

book·plate [book-pleyt] – noun

a label bearing the owner's name and often a design, coat of arms, or the like, for pasting on the front end paper of a book.

1785–95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.
Stay tuned as I try to get some really nice, new things scanned and up for your viewing pleasure!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Collector Profile

Last month Lew Jaffe (Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie) asked me to put together a Collector's Profile for his blog.  I finally got around to doing it yesterday and he published it on his regular Sunday update.  Thanks Lew!  Lew runs a fantastically informative blog.  It can be accessed by pointing your browser here:

I figured I'd include on my blog as well.  Here it is!

Collector Profile Brian Whitley

My Background:
I’m a Southerner, born and bred, through and through. I was born in Newnan, GA in 1973 but have lived in Macon, GA the last 8 years. Trish is my very patient and indulgent wife. We have 2 wonderful little boys. Sam is 6 years old and Brice is 3 1/2 years old. I attended the University of Georgia and obtained a degree in International Business. My wife and I own and operate Rainbow International Restoration & Cleaning ( which is a disaster restoration company as well as carpet/upholstery cleaning. Being small business owners affords me the opportunity to pursue my hobbies which include all outdoor activities (camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, sports) and art collecting. Something most people don't know about me is that we own a dirt track race car and I have a lot of fun racing it on Saturday nights!
How I Started Collecting Bookplates:
I have way too many things that I like to collect! But when I step back and boil it all down the common denominator is art. I started collecting comic books when I was 13 years old and that eventually led me to buying original comic book art. I have a fairly large collection with several important pieces. In my young adult years I became fascinated with Japanese art, particularly woodblock cuts. In late October of this year I had an itch for some new art so I started searching for Japanese woodblock prints on eBay. Well, one thing led to another and I found myself looking instead at some wood engravings by a Czech artist named Jan Konupek (he is now one of my favorite graphic artists). Literally 8 hours later, I felt like I half-way understood what an Ex Libris bookplate was and I haven't been the same since. A month and half into collecting bookplates I find myself richer in the knowledge of bookplates and poorer in the wallet.

What I Collect:
My collecting interests are fairly scattered ,which will continue to pose a problem to my wallet. I am mostly interested in pictorial plates in all manners of production. However, the more I see and learn the more I find myself drawn to woodcuts, wood engravings and etchings. Like many others, I am sure, I really enjoy plates by the "American Masters" such as E.D. French, J.W. Spenceley, A.N. Macdonald, W.F. Hopson, & S.L. Smith. Other notable artists that I really enjoy are J.J. Lankes, Asa Cheffetz, Paul Landacre, Claude Bragdon, Dan Burne Jones, Carl Junge, & Allen Lewis to name a few. European artists that I enjoy are Jan Konupek, F. Kobliha, J. Hodek, Bruno Bramanti, Adolfo de Carolis, & Emil Doepler. I am on the verge of heading down the path of collecting Presidential bookplates. My heart says "GO!" but my wallet says "Listen to The Ventures and Walk, Don't Run!"

Themes or topics that I like are: pictorials of outdoors activities (particularly fishing and hunting), Greek/Roman mythology, World War II, science fiction, political themes, bookplates that have ties to the State of Georgia, and Gothic imagery to name a few

For now my collection is arranged in binders by country, then artists, then owner. I have separate binders for American Masters and for my favorite European artists. I do have plans to mat and frame some of my favorites.

I am also doing my best to amass a reference library. In some instances , this is a more difficult challenge than finding bookplates!

My Contact information is

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New arrivals this week!

It's been a few days since my last post so I thought I'd share 2 new pieces that came in this week.

The first image is a tasteful nude by Henno Arrak.  All I can find out on Henno Arrak is that he is a modern-day bookplate artist from Estonia.  What drew me to this plate was the excellent contrasting of black & white.  The creepy eyeballs are kind of cool too!

The second plate of the week is a very nice, large print by one of my favorites....Jan Konupek!  This print is what I have come to learn to be pretty typical of Konupek in that the imagery is very odd.  I would love to have been a fly on the wall, fluent in the  Czech tongue, when Konupek was discussing this commission with his client.  "So Dr. Novotny, what do you think about the idea of having some really nasty-looking harpies flying down with books in their claws while a helpless sailor, tied to the mast, looks on with fear?  Is that pretty close to what you were hoping for in this new piece?"

Anyway, I hope that next week brings more treasures to my door step!  Until then, have fun looking at my small but growing collection!

By the way, both plates above came from Rob Reilert on eBay. He seems to be a super-nice guy who sells at very fair prices.

Check him out at:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Small Packages = Big Smiles!

For those of you who actively collect Ex Libris Bookplates, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  No matter how bad my day might be going the joy I get when I see a package in the mail is borderline euphoric!  Such was the case today!  For some reason I have been feeling a bit blue the last few days (probably having to do with being a small business owner and things being a little too quiet around the office for my tastes).  Well, in the mail today was my first J.J. Lankes plate and man, this day just got a heck of a lot better!  This is Robert Frost's personal plate and has probably been seen a million times on eBay, which makes me wonder if this not a reprinted version.  I sure hope not!  Nonetheless I love it.  And the longer I am involved in collecting and studying these miniatures beauties them more I find myself drawn to wood engraved and woodcut pieces.  J.J. Lankes is quickly rising into my Top 10 for that reason!  If you have any Lankes plates (or Asa Cheffetz) and want to sell or trade, let me know!

Have a great day, I know I will now!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My small representation of American Masters (and others that are close to being Masters)

My representation of American Masters (and those that are borderline Masters) has finally materialized.  Although small now, I look forward to seeing it grow over the remainder of my days.  Please enjoy these images as much as I do!

Left image by A.W. Aikman                             Right image by W.F. Hopson 



Left image by S.L. Smith                              Right image by J.W. Spenceley 

See you on the flip-side!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My own Ex Libris!

It's been a few days since I last made a post so for the 3 people in the whole world that may be reading this, this post is for y'all!

I finally finished my first Ex Libris.  It is a linocut and is one of my favorite gothic images, the gargoyle!  It will be editioned for trade in just 25 prints.  2 prints are already spoken for so you if you would like to trade with me shoot me a reply through this post or by email and I will get your mailing details!

Anyway, this was really a lot of fun to to do.  In fact I am working on a small Christmas card for friends and family.  I will but and print it and my wife (Trish) plans to watercolor it.  I'll post it when I have a proof done.

More bookplates to be posted over the weekend!