Monday, February 14, 2011

Lankes - Woodblock Master

So after about 3-4 months of being in this crazy game of bookplate collecting I have learned a two things about my tastes:

#1- Although the copperplate engravings are delicate, beautiful and full of gorgeous details it is the heavier, chunkier woodblock cuts that I most admire.  A lot of this probably has to do with my love of Japanese woodblock prints.

#2- J.J. Lankes, in my opinion, is certainly one of the finest American woodblock cut artists around.  His sense of nature and his "salt of the Earth" mentality reverberates throughout his art (not just in his bookplates).

So, that being said, I am aggressively seeking any and all J.J. Lankes plates that I can lay my hands on!  As of now I have just seven pieces but these are some mighty fine pieces as you can see below (posted in order as found in the 1937 booklet A Descriptive Checklist of the Woodcut Bookplates of J.J. Lankes by Mr. Burl N. Osburn (Millersville, PA: The Serif Press).

David Hand, # 19 (1922)

Julius J. Lankes, #21 (1922)

Sarah Heyliger Church, #31 (1923)

Robert Frost, #35 (1923)

Gertrude Morgan Hawley, #62 (1930)

Touchstone, #79 (1934)

Indianapolis Public Library, not listed in Osburn catalog
so it must have been produced after 1937

With many thanks to the grandson of Mr. Burl Osburn I do have a scanned copy of the checklist from 1937.  I would happy to share this with any fellow collector who is interested in the works of Lankes as cataloged through 1937.  Just email me at

And don't forget to contact me if you have any Lankes plates available fro trade or sale!

Have a good evening!

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