The Project Gutenberg EBook of Book-Plates, by William J. Hardy This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Book-Plates Author: William J. Hardy Release Date: October 22, 2012 [EBook #41142] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK BOOK-PLATES *** Produced by Chris Curnow, Emmy and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
The desire to possess a book-plate of one's own is in itself commendable enough, for in fixing the first copy into the first book the owner may surely be assumed to have registered a vow that he or she at least will not join the great army of book-persecutors—men and women who cannot touch a volume without maltreating it, and who, though they are often ready to describe the removal of a book-plate, even from a worthless volume, as an act of vandalism, do infinitely more harm to books in general by their ruthless handling of them. No doubt, also, the decay of interest in heraldry, which is mainly responsible for the eccentricities of modern 'fancy' examples, has taken from us the temptation to commit certain sins which were at one time attractive. Our ancestors, for instance, may sometimes have outraged the susceptibilities of the heralds by using as book-plates coats-of-arms to which they had no title. Yet their offence against the College of Arms was trivial when compared with the outrage upon common-sense committed by the mystical young man of to-day, who designs, or has designed for him, an 'emblematic' book-plate, or a 'symbolic' book-plate, or a 'theoretic' book-plate, in which the emblem, or the symbol, or the theory, is far too[vii] mystical for any ordinary comprehension, and needs, in fact, a lengthy explanation, which, however, I am bound to confess, is always very willingly given by either owner or designer, if asked for.
It is, perhaps, needless to say that I am very far from including all modern book-plates under this condemnation. The names of the artists—Sir John Millais, Mr. Stacy Marks, Randolph Caldecott, Mr. Walter Crane, Miss Kate Greenaway, and others—who have found time to design, some of them only one, some quite a considerable number of really interesting marks of ownership, suffice to rescue modern book-plates from entire discredit. Here and there, too, a little-known artist, like the late Mr. Winter of Norwich, has produced a singularly fine plate. Above all, the strikingly beautiful work of Mr. Sherborn, as seen in the book-plates of the Duke of Westminster, in that of Mr. William Robinson, and in many other fine examples, forms a refreshing oasis in the desert of wild eccentricity. But the most ardent admirer of modern book-plates cannot pretend that amid the multiplicity of recent examples any school or style is observable, and as I have aimed at giving in this little hand-book an historic sketch, however unpretentious, of the different styles adopted in designing book-plates from their first introduction, I hope I may be excused for not[viii] having attempted to trace their history beyond the early years of the present century, after which no distinctive style can be said to exist.
As I have said elsewhere, it has been no part of my object in writing my book to advocate indiscriminate collecting. But for those who are already collectors I have one word of advice on the subject of the arrangement of their treasures. Some enthusiasts advocate a chronological arrangement, others a genealogical, others a topographical: and the advocates of each theory paste down their specimens in scrap-books or other volumes in adherence to their own views. Now there is a great deal to be said in favour of each of these classifications: so much, indeed, that no system is perfect which does not admit of a collection being arranged according to one plan to-day and another tomorrow—i.e. no arrangement is satisfactory which is necessarily permanent. Let each specimen be lightly, yet firmly, fixed on a separate sheet of cardboard or stout paper, of sufficient size to take the largest book-plates commonly met with. These cards or sheets may be kept, a hundred or a hundred and fifty together, in portfolios or boxes, which should be distinctly numbered. Each card or sheet should also be paged and bear the number of the portfolio to which it belongs. The collector can by this[ix] means ascertain, when he pleases, if all his portfolios contain their proper number of cards or sheets, and he can arrange his specimens according to the particular point of interest in his collection which from time to time he may desire to illustrate. In addition to this, the system of single cards has obvious advantages for the purpose of minute study and comparison.
In conclusion, it only remains for me to express my warm thanks to Lord De Tabley and to Mr. A. W. Franks, C.B.; to the former for allowing me to make use, without oft-repeated acknowledgment, of the matter contained in his Guide to the Study of Book-Plates, a second, and much amplified edition of which we may hope will, before long, make its appearance; to the latter, not only for constant advice and assistance, but also for the loan from his collection of nearly all the book-plates with reproductions of which this volume is illustrated.
During the three years that have elapsed since the first publication of my book, the ranks of those taking an intelligent interest in book-plates have been largely increased; yet they have suffered some serious losses, and foremost amongst these must be placed the death of Lord De Tabley. That he died ere the completion of the promised new edition of his Guide to the Study of Book-Plates is a matter of sincere regret to every student of the subject;[xii] all we can now hope for is that Sir Wollaston Franks—the one man really capable of bringing out a new edition of Lord De Tabley's book—will some day undertake the task.
As before, I have again to express my sincere gratitude to a great number of collectors for the kindly help they have given me; and I must not pass without special thanks the kindness of Mr. Everard Green, F.S.A., Rouge Dragon, for allowing me to illustrate this preface with his own book-plate, designed and engraved for him by Mr. George W. Eve; it is in every way an excellent specimen of modern work in book-plates, being both appropriate and artistic, and, above all, rational.
St. Albans, 1896.
|The early use of Book-Plates in England,||20|
|'Styles' in English Book-Plates,||48|
|Allegory in English Book-Plates,||72|
|English 'Picture' Book-Plates,||98|
|The Book-Plates of France and other Countries,||135|
Inscriptions on Book-Plates in condemnation of Book-stealing
or Book-spoiling, and in praise of Study,
|Personal Particulars on Book-Plates,||178|
|The more prominent Engravers of English Book-Plates,||200|
|Odds and Ends,||216|
|Richard Towneley, 1702,||Frontispiece|
|Everard Green, Rouge Dragon. By G. W. Eve,||x|
|I.||Sir Thomas Isham. By Loggan,||9|
|II.||Francis de Malherbe,||25|
|III.||Sir Nicholas Bacon,||27|
|IV.||Sir Thomas Tresham, 1585,||29|
|V.||Gore. By Burghers,||35|
|VI.||Marriott. By Faithorne,||37|
|VII.||St. Albans Grammar School,||41|
|VIII.||Charles James Fox,||45|
|IX.||Thomas Knatchbull, 1702,||51|
|X.||Sir Thomas Hare, 1734,||61|
|XI.||James Brackstone, 1751,||63|
|XII.||Bishop of Kilmore, 1774,||67|
|XIII.||Birnie of ,||71|
|XIV.||Gift by George i. to Cambridge, 1715,||77|
|XV.||George Lambart. By Hogarth,||80|
|XVII.||Dr. William Oliver,||85|
|XVIII.||Dr. Thomas Drummond. By Sir R. Strange,||89|
|[xvi]XIX.||Lady Bessborough. By Bartolozzi,||93|
|XX.||William Hewer, 1699,||101|
|XXI.||The Record Office in the Tower of London,||105|
|XXII.||Southey. By Bewick,||111|
|XXIII.||Gift-Plate to Buxheim Monastery,||115|
|XXIV.||Ebner. By Albert Dürer. 1516,||119|
|XXVI.||'È Bibliotheca Woogiana,'||129|
|XXVII.||Electoral Library of Bavaria, 1618,||133|
|XXVIII.||Charles de Sales,||139|
|XXIX.||Amadeus Lulin. By B. Picart, 1722,||145|
|XXXII.||Lady Bath, 1671,||187|
|XXXIII.||Countess of Oxford and Mortimer. By Vertue,||191|
|XXXIV.||Frances Anne Hoare,||197|
|XXXV.||Bishop Hacket. By Faithorne (Portrait),||201|
|XXXVI.||Sir Christopher Musgrave,||205|
|XXXVII.||Francis Carington, 1738,||207|
|XXXVIII.||Benjamin Adamson, 1746,||209|
|XXXIX.||William Oliver, 1751,||211|
|XL.||Samuel Pepys. By R. White (Portrait),||217|
|XLI.||Francis Perrault (Portrait),||219|
|XLII.||Robert Bloomfield, 1815,||229|
One of the most useful works which has yet appeared in the journal of the Ex Libris Society—a society intended to promote the study of book-plates—is a compilation by Mr. H. W. Fincham and Mr. J. Roberts Brown, A Bibliography of Book-Plates, arranged chronologically. A glance at this compilation emphasises the truth of the statement, just made, as to the scantiness of recorded information on book-plates prior to the year 1880; it also shows what a great deal about them has been written since.
Writing to Notes and Queries in 1877, Dr. Jackson Howard, whose collection is now one of the largest in England, says that he began collecting forty years before that date, and that the nucleus of his own collection was one made by a Miss Jenkins at Bath in 1820. It is probably, therefore, to this lady that we should attribute the honour of being the first collector of book-plates, for their own sake. No doubt the collector of engravings admitted into his portfolios book-plates worthy a place there as interesting engravings, for stray examples are often found in such collections as that formed in the seventeenth century by John Bagford, the biblioclast, which is now in the British Museum. No doubt, too, heraldic painters or plate engravers collected book-plates as specimens of heraldry, but this was not collecting them as book-plates—viz. as illustrations of the custom of placing marks of ownership in books, which, I take it, was evidently Miss Jenkins's object.
Still, though little was written on the subject of book-plates prior to 1880, it by no means follows that for some years before that date there had not been a considerable number of persons who took an interest in the subject. The fact is, that the book-plate collector of earlier days was wiser in his generation than are those of his kind to-day. He kept his 'hobby' to himself, and was thus enabled to indulge it economically. My father had a small collection; and I can well remember how, as a boy, I used to help him to add to it. We used to go to a shop in a dingy street, leading off Oxford Street, and there select from a large clothes-basket as many book-plates as were new to our collection. The price was one penny a piece,—new or old, dated or undated, English or foreign, that of Bishop Burnet, or David Garrick, or Mr. Jones, or Mr. Brown,—all alike, a penny a piece; and I have no doubt, though I do not remember the fact, there was the usual 'reduction on taking a quantity.' I think this shop was almost the only one in London where you could buy book-plates at all. Well, those days are past now; and, whilst we regret them, because book-plate collecting is no longer an economical pursuit, we cannot allow our regret to be unmingled with satisfaction. The would-be collector of to-day can, if he pleases, know something about the collection he is undertaking; he can tell when he meets with a good specimen; he knows the points which render any particular book-plate interesting; and he can, at least approximately, affix a date to each example he obtains.
As to the morality of book-plate collecting, I suppose something ought to be said here. There is but one objection to it, but that is, undoubtedly, a serious one: taking a book-plate out of a book means the possible disfigurement and injury of the volume from which it is taken; yet, for the purpose of study and comparison, the removal is a distinct advantage. To confess this seems, at first sight, to bring collecting at all under a sweeping condemnation; and such, indeed, would be the case, were it not for the fact that damage to, or even the actual destruction of, very many books is really a matter of no consequence whatever. Book-plates are found quite as often in the worthless literary productions of our ancestors as in the worthy; and it is puerile to cavil over the removal of a book-plate from a binding which holds together material by the destruction of which the world would certainly not be the poorer. So much for the book-plates in valueless books. As regards those in valuable or interesting ones, it is certainly unwise to remove them at all. This is a golden rule which cannot be too forcibly impressed upon collectors and booksellers. The case does not occur very often; and when it does, the book itself, with the book-plate in it, can be easily fetched and placed beside the 'collection' when needed for comparison. It may happen that the book-plate in this valuable book is interesting from the fact that it belonged to some man of note, or that it is unique; if so, we have only a further reason against taking it out of the volume. The value of a very early book-plate, when preserved in the volume in which it is discovered, is lessened almost to a vanishing point if separated from that volume. Pasted into a book as a mark of ownership, it is an undoubted book-plate; whereas, if taken out and fastened into a collection of book-plates, it at once loses the proof of its original use, so essential to its value and so material to the student of book-plates.
On the other hand, as I have said, there is no harm in removing, from some uninteresting and valueless volume, the book-plate of a famous man. Everybody knows that Bishop Burnet or David Garrick had plenty of what they themselves regarded as 'rubbish' in their libraries; so that Burnet's book-plate in an actually valueless volume does not prove that the Bishop's shrewd eye ever scanned its pages, or that his episcopal hand ever held it. Besides, I know as a fact that it is a not uncommon trick for the possessor of the book-plate of some famous man to affix that book-plate in a worthless volume, and then offer the whole for sale at a price much higher than would be asked or obtained for the book-plate itself, though the value of the book may be nil!
Without quarrelling with the name book-plate,—as applied to the marks of ownership pasted into books,—and without wasting time with discussion of suggestions for a better one, it may be admitted that the word is not altogether happily chosen. It perhaps suggests to the mind of the 'uninitiated' an illustration in a book rather than a mark of possession. But then at the present day there are not many 'uninitiated' amongst either buyers or sellers of books and prints, so that the inappropriateness of the name need not concern us.
As to its antiquity, that is doubtful; but probably one of the earliest instances of its use, in print, occurs in 1791, when John Ireland published the first two volumes of his Hogarth Illustrated. In this work he says that the works of Callot were probably Hogarth's first models, and 'shop bills and book-plates his first performances.' Again, in 1798, Ireland refers to the 'book-plate' for Lambert the herald-painter, which Hogarth had executed. In 1823, a certain 'C. S. B.,' writing in the pages of the Gentleman's Magazine, refers to what 'are generally called' book-plates. His letter was suggested by an article—a review of Thomas Moule's Bibliotheca Heraldica—in the previous number of the magazine, the writer of which was evidently not familiar with the term book-plate as we now apply it, for he calls book-plates 'plates of arms.' We shall see, later on, that this is quite an inappropriate name; some of the most interesting and the most beautiful book-plates have nothing armorial about them.
On the Continent, the term ex libris is generally applied to book-plates. This is, perhaps, even less appropriate than book-plate. It is taken from the two first words of the inscription on a great many book-plates, when the inscription is written in Latin—e.g. 'ex libris Johannis Stearne, S.T.P. Episcopi Clogherensis.' A moment's reflection will show that this inscription is not intended as a declaration by the book-plate (should it ever become severed from the book in which it was fastened) that it came out of a book belonging to Bishop Stearne; but that it is a declaration by the book in which the book-plate is found pasted, that that particular book is from amongst the books of a particular library, and ought to be restored to it. It would be as rational to call book-plates 'libri,' because the inscription on them often begins—as in a very famous German book-plate—'Liber Bilibaldi Pirckheimer.' It may, indeed, be laid down as a general rule, that whatever the sentiment expressed on a book-plate, it is clearly intended to be uttered by the book in which the book-plate is fixed, not by the book-plate itself.
There are but two instances, quoted by Lord De Tabley, of the inscription directly referring to the book-plate. Both are foreign, and date about the middle of the last century. One is Symbolum Bibliothecæ of John Bernard Nack, a citizen and merchant of Frankfort; and the other, Insigne Librorum, etc., quoted from the work of M. Poulet Malassis. Lord De Tabley thinks that the Symbolum of Herr Nack is simply a trade card; but he founds this conclusion on the supposition that Herr Nack was a book-dealer, and that the scene depicted on his book-plate was, in fact, his shop. In my opinion, we have in this book-plate a representation of a portion of Herr Nack's library, in which Minerva(?) is seated, using the books thereof. A gentleman in eighteenth century dress, who may, likely enough, be Herr Nack himself, addresses himself to the goddess, and explains—as he points to the outer scene, which shows us ships and merchandise—that, whilst following his trade as a merchant, he still has time to devote some attention to literature. In any case, these and the few other instances there may be of the inscription referring to the book-plate and not to the book, seem hardly sufficient to make ex libris a good name for book-plates in general.
Our ancestors, of degrees more remote than grandfather, do not appear to have referred to book-plates at all, so we are unable to learn by what name they would have called them. Pepys, in 1668, speaks of going to his 'plate-maker's,' and there spending 'an hour about contriving' his 'little plate' for his books. This 'little plate' still exists, and is a characteristic one; it shows us the initials 'S. P.,' with two anchors and ropes entwined. But we shall speak again of this, and Sam's other book-plates, later on.
David Loggan, a German born, and an engraver
of some note, has, in writing to Sir Thomas Isham in
1676, a no more concise name for Isham's book-plate
than 'a print of your cote of arms.' Loggan, as
a return for many favours, had sent Sir Thomas a
 book-plate designed and executed by himself. 'Sir,' he says, in the covering letter, 'I send you hier a Print of your Cote of Armes. I have printed 200 wich I will send with the plate by the next return, and bege the favor of your keind excepttans of it as a small Niew yaers Gift or a aknowledgment in part for all your favors. If anything in it be amies, I shall be glade to mend it. I have taken the Heralds painter's derection in it; it is very much used amongst persons of Quality to past ther Cotes of Armes befor ther bookes instade of wreithing ther Names.'
The 'Heralds painter' was, unfortunately, wrong in his treatment of the Isham 'coat,' and so Loggan's work, artistic as it might be, could not be acceptable to Sir Thomas, to whom a mistake in the family escutcheon was no light matter. This he evidently told David, who, a few days after, writes to him again:—
'I ame sorry that the Cote is wronge; I have taken the herald's derection in it, but the Foole did give it wrong.... The altering of the plate will be very trubelsom, and therfor you will be presented with a newe one, wich shall be don without falt, and that very sudenly. And if you plase, Sir, to give thies plate and the prints to your Brothers, it will serve for them.'
These Isham book-plates are really very beautiful pieces of work. A reproduction of one of them may be seen on the foregoing page. This is evidently the one first executed, the omission of the mark of baronetcy—the 'bloody hand of Ulster'—and the helmet of an esquire instead of a knight or baronet clearly constituting the blunder into which Loggan had fallen. By the kindness of Sir Charles Isham, the present baronet, I have been enabled to see a copy of the corrected design sent by Loggan, which is in all respects accurate. This was doing duty as a book-plate in a volume in which it had evidently been placed at the time it was received by Sir Thomas.
Nicholas Carew, afterwards Sir Nicholas Carew, Baronet, records in his accounts, on the 19th February 1707, a payment for his book-plate, which is dated in that year, as follows:—'For coat of arms impressing, 1l. 1s. 6d.;' and a few months later is a payment 'For 300 armes, 7s. 6d.'
'The mark of my books,' is the phrase which Andrew Lumisden applies to the book-plate engraved for him by his brother-in-law, Sir Robert Strange, about the year 1746. The plate is an interesting one, and by an interesting man, of whom we shall speak later on. Lumisden thought well of it, and thus refers to the work in a letter written from Rouen, in June 1748:—'I am very anxious to know if my brother continues his resolution of coming to this country. If he does, I can luckily be of use to him in the way of his business, from the acquaintance I have of a very ingenious person, professor of the Academy of Design here ... I show'd him, a few days ago, the mark of my books, from which he entertains a high notion of Robie's abilities.'
There is a curious advertisement, quoted by Thomas Moule in his Bibliotheca Heraldica, of a certain Joseph Barber, a Newcastle-on-Tyne 'bookseller, music and copper-plate publisher,' who, in 1742, resided in 'Humble's Buildings.' In that year he engraved the 'Equestrian Statue of King James [II.],' which once stood in the Sandhill Market. If a moment's digression be allowed, the history of this statue is worth telling. On 16th March 1685, the Town Council voted £800 for the erection of 'a figure of His Majesty in a Roman habit, on a capering horse, in copper, as big as the figure of His Majesty, King Charles I., at Charing Crosse, on a pedestal of black marble.' A certain Mr. William Larson executed it; Sir Christopher Wren expressed his approval, and everybody was very pleased, for a year or two. But popular feeling soon changed in Newcastle, as elsewhere, and the prevalence of sentiments which threw the king off his throne threw his metal representation into the Tyne, where it rested till fished out to be melted down and used to make a set of church bells. The drawing of the luckless statue was safe in the keeping of Sir Hans Sloane; and from this, Barber made his engraving, which he sold for 5s. The fact that in 1742, three years before the second Scotch rebellion, this Newcastle printseller found it worth while to issue the engraving at all, is not without political significance. With his engraving, Barber issued two large plates of the arms of all the subscribers to it, each coat of arms being 1¾ inches in length, and 1¼ inches in breadth; and a few years later, it seems to have occurred to him that he might turn an honest penny by cutting up these large sheets of the subscribers' arms, so that each coat of arms became a separate plate. Having done this, he issued an advertisement to the subscribers, in which he sets forth that he is 'the sole proprietor of each of their plates,' and is willing to part with it, to the lady or gentleman whose arms are engraved thereon, 'together with one hundred prints of it on a good paper,' for the modest sum of half-a-crown. These plates, suggests Mr. Barber, might be advantageously used as what we now call book-plates, and he continues: 'The design of this proposal is a useful and necessary embellishment, and a remedy against losing books by lending, or having them stolen; by pasting one print on the inside of the cover of each book, you have the owner's name, coat of arms, and place of abode; a thing so useful and the charge so easy, 'tis hoped will meet with encouragement. To have a plate engraved will cost 10s. 6d.'
From all which it may be inferred that Mr. Joseph Barber thought—or wanted other people to think—that the idea of using a book-plate was his own. Newcastle people, in 1743, must have been very unobservant of the habits of their neighbours if they believed Mr. Barber; for the fashion of using a book-plate—which in England came in some forty years before—was by that time general throughout the country. That some of the subscribers accepted the offer, and got their 'hundred plates on a good paper' for half-a-crown, is demonstrated by the existence of copies of the plates published with the 'equestrian statue,' being still found in books, doing duty as book-plates. Very poor productions they are, reflecting but slight credit on the designer or engraver. But what Joseph lacked in art, he atoned for in enterprise; we see this in his ingenious way of getting rid of his old copper-plates, and the postscript to his advertisement demonstrates the fact even more plainly, for on a day near at hand, the advertisement tells us, was to be fought, at a neighbouring cock-pit, 'a Welsh main,' and the prize was to be nothing less than one of the advertiser's engravings, 'a pretty piece of work, worthy the observation of the curious.' If the term book-plate had been known in Barber's day, it would probably have found its way into his advertisement, which is clumsy from the want of a word to express the very thing he is advertising.
William Stephens, who engraved a good many book-plates in his time, could find no better expression than 'print of your arms' to describe the 800 book-plates which, for half-a-guinea, he sent to Dr. Samuel Kerrich, the Shakespearian student, in 1754.
Horace Walpole, again, would, I think, have used the phrase 'book-plate' had he known it. In his Catalogue of Engravers—the edition of 1771—he speaks of George Vertue having engraved 'a plate to put in Lady Oxford's books'; and in his Anecdotes of Painting, he refers to the 'plate' which Hogarth 'used for his books.' One of his own book-plates—that engraved soon after 1791—Walpole describes as his 'seal': Sigillum Horatii Comitis de Orford; but this phrase is, I think, used simply because the book-plate itself is the representation of a mediæval seal. Bartolozzi—giving, in 1796, a receipt for a book-plate which he had just completed—refers to it as a 'ticket-plate' (see p. 94); but he was a foreigner, and may not have known the English name for such things, for we have seen that, some five years before, Ireland refers to Hogarth's 'book-plate.' Charles James Fox, in a note, dated at Leicester on 2nd August 1801, speaks of the 'book-plate' of his great-great-grandfather, Sir Stephen Fox.
But, though the phrase 'book-plate' may have been occasionally used at the close of the last century and the beginning of the present, it was then by no means widely used; and although the writer quoted on page 6 refers in 1823 to what are 'generally called' book-plates, William Wadd, in 1827, can find no direct term by which to refer to these marks of ownership. Speaking in Mems., Maxims, and Memoirs, he says: 'In the Library of the Royal College of Surgeons, there are many volumes, formerly the property of the celebrated Douglas, having his arms embellished with various kinds of surgical instruments, which was by no means an uncommon practice, as in the Library of the College of Physicians there are many examples of volumes where the former possessor has not only blazoned his own arms, but borrowed the arms of the college and super-added supporters, as Apollo, Mercury, Æsculapius, and his daughter Hygeia.'
Lord Byron, too, did not, I fancy, know the word 'book-plate' in its now-used sense; writing to a fair admirer, who had apparently designed one of these for him, he says: 'I received the arms, my dear Miss ——, and am very much obliged to you for the trouble you have taken. It is impossible I should have any fault to find with them. The sight of the drawing gives me great pleasure for a double reason: in the first place they will ornament my books, and in the next they convince me that you have not entirely forgot me.'
So the term book-plate is only a century old, and the fashion of collecting book-plates much more modern still; but the use of book-plates is really of respectable antiquity, and is a matter on which we may now appropriately speak. Whether, in the first instance, the use of book-plates was suggested by a desire to commemorate a gift, or as a mark of ownership, seems to be a matter on which a variety of opinions exist. Some of the earliest mechanically produced book-plates are certainly commemorative of gifts (see p. 114); but I think we must accept as book-plates, to all intents and purposes, the six fourteenth century examples mentioned by Herr Warnecke in his Die Deutschen Bücherzeichen, an excellent work on German book-plates. These are heraldic coloured drawings on the parchment leaves of Italian manuscripts, which also bear an inscription of possession by the particular individuals whose arms are represented.
But, of course, the real necessity for book-plates, whatever may have been their original use, began when the printing-press gave to the world not two nor three, but a hundred or more copies of a particular book. Then it was that the different owners needed to distinguish their respective copies of a work; for the professional book-borrower, who would gladly have retained the manuscript volume lent to him by an unsuspecting friend, could he have done so without his crime being detected, doubtless saw in the multitude of copies a greater opportunity of carrying out his nefarious designs. The existence of book-plates is, therefore, largely due to the literary enthusiast who amasses a library by retaining volumes received on loan; the inscriptions on some of the earlier book-plates prove this to be so.
The earliest printed book-plates are certainly German, and there is little doubt that some of these are nearly contemporary with the very early printed books on the oak covers of which they may still be found pasted. By the commencement of the sixteenth century book-plates were frequently fine examples of the wood-engraver's art. Albert Dürer himself designed book-plates; and of these, one of the most elaborate and the best known is that of his friend Bilibald Pirckheimer, the Nuremberg jurist, whose portrait he engraved on copper in 1524. The book-plate is still earlier.
England can now—thanks to recent investigations—claim the second place in the chronological sequence of countries in which book-plates have been used. Cardinal Wolsey's book-plate (see p. 24) is probably not later in date than 1525. France can boast of a book-plate dated in 1574; Sweden of one dated in the following year, and Switzerland of one in 1607; Italy in 1623: in other European countries, dated examples do not appear, nor does the practice of using book-plates seem to have been adopted until considerably later.
In concluding this opening chapter, let me say a word about the position in a book in which a book-plate should be looked for. The usual place was certainly on the front cover of a volume; sometimes another copy of the same plate was fastened to the back cover; and sometimes—as in Pirckheimer's case, just noticed, and in that of Samuel Pepys (see p. 216)—the same person would use a different book-plate at the back of the volume to that used at the front. Another plan, less frequent, but by no means uncommon, was to insert the book-plate on the title-page, often on the back of it; and another, to fasten the book-plate into the volume, by pasting its right-hand margin about a quarter of an inch on to the title-page, so that the book-plate would fold over and face it. This is a plan that leads to a book-plate being most easily overlooked.
Collectors should also note that, in many instances, book-plates are found in a variety of sizes; this should certainly be borne in mind when setting aside any particular specimen as a duplicate. In the present day, most people are content to have a book-plate small enough to go into a volume of any size; its dwarfed appearance on the cover of a full-sized folio is no eyesore to them, or, if it is, the pleasure of economy makes them bear with it. But in days gone by it was—especially in Germany—certainly otherwise. The possession of a large library would necessitate, in the owner's mind, the possession of a number of differently sized book-plates, in order to get one which would neither look too small in the largest volume, nor be too large for the smallest! Some of the most noble foreign examples, rich in detail and bold in general effect, are those that belonged to men who liked to have for their folios a book-plate of proportionate size. There are no very large English book-plates, but plenty of library owners in this country had two or three different sized book-plates, and the late Sir William Stirling-Maxwell boasted of over a hundred varieties!
'Many, no doubt, have perished with the bindings to which they were fastened, but some are doubtless still extant; and we may yet hope that, when the interest in these labels becomes more widely diffused, more than one or two specimens will be brought to light, bearing an engraved date sufficiently early to dispel the idea that this country was a century and a half behind its German neighbours in the general practice of using book-plates.'
Mr. Daniel Parsons, who may be properly called the father of book-plate literature,—his contribution, in 1837, to 'The Third Annual Report of the Oxford University Archæological and Heraldic Society,' was certainly the first paper on the subject that ever appeared,—commented on this hope of mine in the number of the same magazine issued in the following January, and was despondent as to evidence being forthcoming to prove the early use of book-plates in England.
Well, in that I expressed the belief that investigation would bring to light a number of sixteenth and seventeenth century dated book-plates, I was perhaps wrong—early English dated book-plates have not been found in anything approaching plenty; but I was also wrong in suggesting that proof of the early use of book-plates in this country could only be proved by dated examples; the existence of examples which, from internal evidence, are proved to be of early date is really equally valuable; and as these have certainly come to light in considerable numbers, I think a good case has been made out on behalf of our fellow-countrymen.
I do not pretend that early English book-plates are so plentiful as those of Germany. Some individual specimens are known to exist; but there are very few that are recorded as existing in more than a few collections, and some are unique. From some cause or other, early English book-plates are a rarity; and I propose, therefore, to speak individually of the majority of them,—that is to say, of those executed prior to the close of the seventeenth century.
But before doing this, let me say a word as to the date at which the colours intended to be shown on the shield of arms were first represented by lines or points. For instance, perpendicular lines from the top to the bottom of the shield, thus:
A number of small dots or points, thus:
To whom may be attached the credit of inventing this useful system, matters little; what we are now interested in—for the purpose of considering the approximate dates of book-plates—is the time at which it was first employed in heraldic engravings. Mr. Walter Hamilton, in the pages of the Ex Libris Journal, realises the importance of the subject. He speaks of the work by Father Silvester Petra-Sancta, published at Rome in 1638, in which the proposal is advocated, and refers to M. Henri Bouchot's allusion to a work by Vulsson de la Colombière, written in 1639, which advocates the system.
That, at an earlier date, lines running all in one direction were used only as shading, is shown over and over again. Take, for instance, the book-plate of Francis de Malherbe (reproduced over leaf), which, as the owner died in 1628, was engraved, probably, soon after the opening of the century. In this case we have a statement by De Malherbe that his arms are 'D'argent à six roses de gueules, et des hermines de sable sans nombre,'—a description obviously inaccurate. De Malherbe was a poet, and could no more be expected to describe a coat of arms than 'Garter' could be expected to write a poem. The proper blazoning of his family arms is: ermine, six roses gules. But, according to the lines depicted on his book-plate, the 'field' would be azure: clearly, in this case, the lines mean nothing at all.
The late Mr. J. E. Bailey points out that in the 1562, 1568, and 1576 editions of Gerard Legh's Accedens of Armory, sable (black) is expressed, as it would be now, by horizontal and perpendicular lines crossing each other; whilst the other colours are represented by the initials of their names. It is possible that this form of expressing sable may be merely the result of an attempt on the part of the engraver to produce as dark a tint as possible to represent it. In Vincent's Discovery of Brooke's Errors, 1622, such lines are certainly used as shading, or to distinguish colour from white; but, as shown from his verbal description of the arms he represents, these lines are used without any system whatever, perpendicular lines sometimes representing gules, and sometimes azure. Again, in the second edition of Guillim's Display, 1632, lines are used to denote the darker colours, though they are used without system. But in 1654, we find, in Bysshe's heraldic tracts, gules, azure, sable, and the rest expressed in the now orthodox manner, and an explanatory plate showing what colours are represented by the respective dots or lines, a conclusive proof of the novelty of the system in England. I think the reader will see, as he proceeds, that this has been a useful digression.
We have said that the earliest English book-plate
yet come to light is Cardinal Wolsey's. This is not
a printed book-plate at all, but a carefully drawn
sketch of the Cardinal's arms, with supporters, and
surmounted by a Cardinal's hat, the whole coloured
by hand. How many of these book-plates the
Cardinal possessed, we do not know; but that this—the
only example known—is undoubtedly a book-plate,
is proved from the fact that it may now be seen
in a folio volume which once belonged to Wolsey,
 and subsequently to his royal master. It bears no date, and may have been designed any time after the minister's elevation to the cardinalate in September 1514. It is a splendid affair in every way, and gorgeously coloured. The shield of arms rests on a platform (gold), the front of which is red, ornamented with an arabesque pattern, also red; pillars on the platform support a canopy, ornamented as the front of the platform, with the addition of Tudor roses; over the shield is the Cardinal's hat, and above that again the holy dove descends. The shield is supported by two dingy-looking griffins, whose wings and heads are red, and whose beaks, claws, and tail-tips are gold; the background is blue.
Next in date, after Wolsey's book-plate, comes that
which was, I believe, engraved at least contemporaneously
with the date upon it, 1574, to place in the
volumes given in that year by Sir Nicholas Bacon to
the University of Cambridge. Bacon died five years
after this date; he is familiar to us all as 'the father
of his country and of Sir Francis Bacon.' This book-plate
is engraved on wood; like Wolsey's, it is found
coloured, but it is also—amongst the odds and ends
in the Bagford Collection—found uncoloured, and
without the inscription which records the gift to
Cambridge. A facsimile of that in the Bagford
Collection appears opposite: can it be the book-plate
of Bacon himself, to which, on the copies used for
the books that he gave to Cambridge, was added
the donatory inscription? A close comparison shows
 that both shields of arms are struck from the same block. The arms shown are Bacon quartering Quaplode. The variety of this book-plate which bears the inscription belongs to what are termed 'gift' or 'legacy' book-plates, the dates on which—as they refer to the date of the 'gift' or 'legacy' commemorated—are considered earlier than the engraving. In the case of 'legacy' book-plates they may often be so, but they are not, I think, in many cases of 'gift' book-plates. For instance, if (as from the Bagford example seems probable) this was Bacon's own book-plate, the date upon it, 1574, may even be many years later than the time at which it was made for him. That the date on one of these 'gift' book-plates must be, within a very short space of time, the date of its engraving, will be shown presently when I come to speak of that recording a donation made by Lady Bath.
The next English book-plate which bears upon it an
engraved date is that of Sir Thomas Tresham. On
this the inscription reads 'June 29, 1585,' which no
doubt refers to the date of engraving, or, probably, to
the date at which the design for the engraving was
finished by the artist. As a work of art it is poor,
but its interest as a book-plate to collectors is not
lessened on that account. Tresham was knighted by
Queen Elizabeth ten years before the date of his
book-plate. We know not much of him, save what
Fuller tells us that he was famous for 'his skill in
buildings.' One of his sons, Sir Francis, was involved
 in the Gunpowder Plot, and another, Sir Lewis, was made a baronet in 1611.
These three examples are all the sixteenth century English dated book-plates yet brought to light. Those in the seventeenth century are far more numerous. We find one bearing the date '1613,' which was prepared to place in the volumes given, in that year, by William Willmer, a Northamptonshire squire, to his college library. The inscription on it reads: 'Sydney Sussex Colledge—Ex dono Wilhelmi Willmer de Sywell in Com. Northamtoniæ, Armigeri, quondam pentionarii in ista Domi (sic), viz. in Anno Dñi 1599; sed dedit in Ano Dñi 1613.' The book-plate is clearly early, and shows us fine bold heraldic work. In style it nearly resembles the Bacon plate, and that of Sir Thomas Tresham; but the mantling here descends to the base of the shield. The Willmer plate is in Dr. Howard's Collection; a reproduction of it is given in Mr. Griggs's Examples of Armorial Book-Plates.
Early in the reign of Charles I. may be placed a very beautiful example of heraldic engraving, which Sir Wollaston Franks satisfactorily assigns to a certain John Talbot of Thorneton, who died in 1659. It is inscribed 'Coll. Talbott,' and this John Talbot is called 'Colonellus ex parte Regis'; the quarterings are those of the families of Ferrers, Bellars, and Arderne.
In strange contrast to this fine work is the wood block book-plate of 'William Courtenay of Treemer, in the county of Cornwall, Esquire,' who, in 1632, inherited the Treemer estate. We may note that, not only is this book-plate, like all those yet described, free from any indication of lines or dots to express the colours in the armorial bearings, but below the shield is given a verbal blazon of the coat: 'He beareth or, 3 Torteauxes.'
This seems to be the place to speak of a very puzzling pair of engravings, which certainly appear to have been used as book-plates, dated in 1630. They represent the armorial bearings of Sir Edward Dering. One of these book-plates which I take to be the earlier, shows a less number of quarterings, and contains no indication of a really systematic expression of the metals and tinctures in the arms; but the other and later example does. The same date appears upon each. The second of the two plates occurs bound up in a volume of the Harleian Collection of MSS.; and 'Mr. Humphrey Wanly, library-keeper to Robert and Edward, Earls of Oxford,' in his description of the specimen in the Harleian Collection, calls it 'A printed cut of the Arms or Atchievement of Sir Edward Dering, Baronet, dated A.D. 1630, with a fanciful motto in misshapen Saxon characters; but by the hatching of the arms in order to show the colours, according to the way found out by Sir Edward Bysshe, I guess that it is not so old.'
Now, the Harleian volume, in which this engraving occurs, is a copy, written in 1645-46, of the Heralds' Visitation of Kent in 1619; and in a later, but certainly seventeenth century, handwriting, is a description of the numerous quarterings as they appear on the engraving; so that, whilst rejecting the claim of this variety of the plate to be an engraving of 1630, we may, I think, accept it as at least an early example of the indication of the colours and tinctures by lines and dots. As for the first of the two varieties, I do not see why it should not be as early as the date upon it; there was no particular reason in selecting that date; for I do not find that it refers to any special event in Sir Edward's life. A writer to Notes and Queries, in 1851, states that there were several 'loose copies' of the plate—which variety, he does not say—in the Surrenden Collection, and Dr. Howard saw it 'inserted' in several folio volumes of that collection, when it was disposed of by Messrs. Puttick and Simpson. Very good facsimiles of these book-plates have been given by Dr. Howard in his Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica.
Another early instance of the expression of the metals and tinctures occurs in the book-plate of Lord-Keeper Lyttelton, a plate which derives additional interest from the fact of its being the work of William Marshall, the famous frontispiece engraver. Sir Edward Lyttelton, the owner of the book-plate, was made Lord-Keeper in 1641, under the title of Baron Lyttelton of Mounslow. This book-plate, which shows us the arms of Lyttelton of Frankley, was evidently engraved before Sir Edward's elevation to the peerage. The book-plate, which is the earliest English example bearing an engraver's signature, may be dated about 1640.
We know from the arms on dedication plates, and the like, that the expression of colours on shields did not become at all general for many years after 1640. Take, for instance, Hollar's cuts of arms in the illustrations to Dugdale's Monasticon, or his History of St. Paul's. Thus, we must not date every book-plate we find, on which the colours are not shown in the new fashion, as before 1640. The small and unpretentious book-plate of John Marsham of Whom's Place, near Cuxton, in Kent, is an illustration of this. A representation of it is given by Mr. Griggs in his Facsimiles. Marsham was made a baronet in 1663; so the plate is earlier than that, but as it is exactly in the style of the dedicatory plates in the works just noticed, we may place it somewhere about 1655. It is perhaps by Hollar. Likely enough, other examples will come to light.
After the Restoration, the number of English book-plates perceptibly increases, though we must remember that the active supporters of Cromwell did not object to a little heraldic display—there was a fair amount of heraldic work one way and another, executed both with pen and pencil, during the twelve years that the king was kept off his throne. Two of the earliest post-Restoration book-plates are those of Sir Edward Bysshe and his brother-in-law, John Greene. Sir Edward Bysshe became Garter King-at-Arms, and John Greene was of Navestock, Essex. Both are curious oblong plates, having fancifully shaped shields surrounded by palm branches, and held up by ribbons. There is no crest shown in either. They are evidently by the same artist, which, as Bysshe and Greene were brothers-in-law, is perhaps natural. A somewhat similar, though plainer, form of ornamentation surrounds the shields on two other anonymous book-plates, one bearing the arms of Southwell, and the other those of Eynes or Haynes.
Thomas Gore of Alderton, Wilts, the author of
Catalogus de Re Heraldicâ, is a man who might be
expected to use a book-plate, and he did. Three
varieties are known. The first, which dates about
1660, though a more elaborate piece of work than
those last described, is somewhat similar in style, or
perhaps it would be more accurate to say dissimilar
to the style in which other book-plates prior to
the Restoration were designed. Whoever engraved
this plate for Gore also engraved the arms of Edward
Waterhouse—most probably the engraving was intended
for Waterhouse's book-plate—which appear
as a frontispiece to his Discourse and Defence of
Arms and Armory, 1660. In his second book-plate
Gore called to his aid the foreigner's art, employing
Michael Burghers, a Dutch artist, who had recently
come from Holland and settled at Oxford. Michael
produced the book-plate figured opposite, which
introduces some rather wild allegory, singularly plain
cupids seated on the backs of flying eagles. Perhaps
 Gore did not care for this allegory,—allegory seems never to have been popular with English book-plate owners (see Chapter IV.),—and for his third plate went to an Englishman, and to a no less eminent one than William Faithorne. The famous portrait-engraver produced as beautiful and bold a book-plate in the Simple Armorial style as could well be: the peculiar 'depth' of his touch is apparent here and in his other book-plates, of which there are several.
It is interesting to note that Faithorne reverts to
the pre-Restoration style, and improves upon it. The
mantling is much richer than that shown in earlier
examples in the same style, and it more completely
surrounds the shield. To Faithorne may be assigned
two other magnificent book-plates, that of Sir George
Hungerford of Cadenham (anonymous), and the
one here reproduced of a member of the family of
Marriott of Whitchurch, Warwickshire, and Alscot
and Preston, Gloucestershire. The Hungerford book-plate
is noteworthy. The name of Sir George Hungerford,
its possessor, does not occur in any list of
baronets, yet he evidently considered himself to
possess that dignity, as the 'bloody hand of Ulster'
figures on his arms. Dugdale, too, in speaking of
Sir George's marriage, refers to him as 'baronet.'
Faithorne also produced a book-plate to commemorate
a gift of books made by Bishop Hacket, who
died in 1670—it is particularly curious as showing us
the Bishop's portrait. I shall speak of it later on,
 under the heading 'Portrait Book-Plates' (pp. 216-220); such plates are comparatively few in number.
Dated, and most probably engraved, in the following year, 1671, is another 'gift' book-plate, prepared to place in books presented by the then Countess-Dowager of Bath. The inscription reads: 'Ex dono Rachel Comitissæ Bathon: Dotariæ An: Dom. MDCLXXI.' This lady was born in 1613; she was a daughter of Francis Fane, first Earl of Westmoreland, and became the wife of Henry Bourchier, Earl of Bath, who died in 1654; and soon afterwards of Lionel Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex, who died in 1674; she herself dying in 1680. There is no reason to doubt the date on this book-plate, 1671, though, at first sight, it may look a little suspicious. True, she had become the wife of the Earl of Middlesex (a title only dating from 1622) in 1654, and was still his wife in 1671; but she had apparently little reason to be proud of him or his title, for he left her and made hay of her fortune, spending it to use the words of a contemporary letter, 'in play and rioting.' We cannot, therefore, feel much surprised at her desire to pass by her former title which would give her rank at court as the widow of an Earl whose creation was hard on a century earlier. 'Our cousin, Lady Bath,' writes Lady Newport, in April 1661, 'hath got her place of being Lady Bath again; it cost her 1,200l ... her Lord is very angry at her changing her title; he says it is an affront to him.' That is why she calls herself, on the book-plate under notice, Countess-Dowager of Bath in 1671. A curious feature about the book-plate is, that it does not seem to have been prepared to place in books included in one particular gift to a particular person or institution, but rather to have been the outcome of my lady's fancy to place such a remembrance of herself in any volume she gave away at that or at any subsequent date. The Countess also used a book-stamp of the same design as the ex libris, but without the inscription.
Whilst speaking on the subject of gift book-plates, reference may appropriately be made to a curious woodcut used as a book-plate by the St. Albans Grammar School, which is figured opposite the next page. It is a quaint bit of, no doubt, local work, and, as pointed out to me by the Rev. F. Willcox, the headmaster, during a long and dusty hunt, occurs only in the volumes given to the school by Sir Samuel Grimston. The plate shows us a combination of the arms of the city of St. Albans and the motto of the Bacon family, adopted by the Grimstons.
I have no doubt that, if a thorough investigation of the too often neglected libraries of our old foundation grammar schools were made, other early and curious book-plates might be discovered.
Between 1670 and 1680 quite a number of book-plates were designed, evidently by the same man. The work is feeble, but it is very distinct. The most interesting of these book-plates, from its possessor, is that of Samuel Pepys. Altogether, I know of eight examples: Charles Pitfield, Sir Robert Southwell, William Wharton, Sir Henry Hunloke, Samuel Pepys, Justinian Pagit, Walter Chetwynd, and Randolph Egerton.
A point of interest about them all is that, as well as expressing heraldically the blazon of the different shields, they also indicate with an initial letter the colour intended to be shown: 'a' for argent, 'g' for gules, and so on. The initial of the heraldic term is used in every case except that of 'azure,' when 'b' for blue is used; 'a,' as we have seen, standing for argent.
Though they differ in the arrangement of the mantling, there can be little doubt that all these book-plates are by the same hand, and that whoever engraved the plates in Blome's Gwilim, engraved these also.
The book-plate of 'Fettiplace Nott,' which bears the date 1694, is a fair type of the book-plate that was in use in England for the next twenty years; indeed, these might all be the work of half a dozen artists.
I have not yet mentioned a very numerous and
very uninteresting class of early English book-plates—I
mean those which are nothing more than 'name-tickets'—the
owner's name and date printed within a
border more or less ornate. These occur quite early
in the seventeenth century, and run all through it.
Of course, it may be that the owner is an interesting
person, and then his or her name-ticket becomes interesting
by reflection, but in themselves these tickets
are merely dull. Of English Armorial plates, I have
 referred in detail to the majority of those bearing an engraved date—when that date is not obviously misleading—prior to the year 1698. I have also spoken of several, though by no means all, of the undated examples, which have been proved to belong to the seventeenth century. To this second list a patient working out of the internal evidence on early-looking, but undated, book-plates would, no doubt, add very considerably; and the illustrations, verbal and otherwise, that I have given may, I hope, be sufficient to indicate the kind of book-plates that are worth such investigation.
I have used the date 1698 as a stopping-point, because from that year we have dated examples of English book-plates, yearly, down to the commencement of the present century. Here let me say a word on the subject of dated book-plates generally. The date is certainly an advantage, especially when it clearly refers to the date of the engraving, and not, as we have seen it sometimes does, to an event in the owner's career; but I cannot understand why the 'market value' of a book-plate should be enhanced to such an extent as it is by the presence on that book-plate of an engraved date. There are probably few book-plates which do not bear some mark by which an approximate date can be safely affixed to them, and the study of these marks is a very desirable undertaking. The great value of a printed date on a book-plate is that one can see from it the style of decoration in vogue at a particular period, and thus obtain the means for arranging, chronologically, undated examples. For there were during certain years certain marked styles of decoration adopted by book-plate engravers; but of these I propose to speak later on under the heading of 'Styles.'
Let me also mention misleading dates on book-plates, and for this purpose it will be sufficient if I take principally the examples cited by Mr. J. Paul Rylands, F.S.A., in his Notes on Lancashire and Cheshire examples. The date on Sir William St. Quintin's book-plate, 1641, is that at which the baronetcy was created; the book-plate was engraved in the last century. Sir Francis Fust's book-plate, one remarkable for its size and ugliness, is inscribed 'Sr Francis Fust of Hill Court in the county of Gloucester, Baronet, created 21st August 1662, the 14 year of King Charles 2d.' Now this plate cannot be earlier than 1728, the year in which the first 'Sir Francis' succeeded to the baronetcy. Here, however, the context of words, 'created 21st August 1662,' renders the inscription less likely to mislead people into supposing that 1662 was the year in which the plate was executed. In other instances we have not this help.
The date 1669, on the book-plate of Gilbert Nicholson of Balrath, merely refers to the date at which Gilbert acquired his Irish estates; the example itself must be later than 1722, as the same copper was employed for it as that on which the book-plate of Thomas Carter, dated in that year, had been engraved. Again, some collectors hold, and have maintained in print, that the book-plate of Sir Robert Clayton, of which we must speak again hereafter, was not really engraved in 1679—the date which appears upon it. 1679 is the year in which Sir Robert was Lord Mayor of London, and it is thought probable that the book-plate was engraved later—perhaps in the early years of the eighteenth century, when, as we have seen, the fashion of having a book-plate was so prevalent—and that Sir Robert placed the date 1679 upon it in order to commemorate the date of his mayoralty. For my part, I see no particular reason for holding this view; the style in which the plate is executed does not seem to me contradictory to the date upon it. Still, as the doubt exists, it is better to mention it.
Attention has been called to a book-plate of 'David Paynter of Dale Castle, Pembrokeshire, 1679,' which is probably nearly a century later. The book-plate of 'William Twemlow of Hatherton, Cheshire, Esquire, 1686,' was engraved for a Mr. William Twemlow, who died in 1843.
On the other hand, there are certain book-plates
which were engraved earlier than the dates which
appear upon some impressions of them. The book-plate
of the statesman Charles James Fox (see opposite)
is one instance of this. It is inscribed 'The
Honble Charles James Fox,' and was used by the
great statesman, but the plate was engraved in 1702—as
its style suggests—for his half-uncle, and the
inscription, before its alteration, read:—'Charles Fox
 of the parish of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, Esq., 1702.'
There is a large book-plate, shown by its style to have been engraved in the early years of the eighteenth century, but which is inscribed 'Martin Stapylton, Esq. of Myton, in the county of York, A.D. 1817.' The book-plate was evidently engraved for Sir Bryan Stapylton, who died in 1727. The Martin Stapylton who altered and used it was one Martin Bree—nephew of the last baronet, who died in 1817—who succeeded to his uncle's property, but not to his baronetcy; hence he was not justified in leaving the helmet of a knight or baronet upon it; he removed the 'bloody hand of Ulster' from the shield, but the mistake in the helmet does not seem to have struck him. On a small variety of this book-plate, the inscription on which is similarly altered, the 'bloody hand' remains.
Again, the book-plate of 'Sr Willm Robinson, Baronett, of Newby, in the county of York, 1702,' was altered—by turning the '0' into a '6'—into 1762, and was used by his grandson; that inscribed 'John Peachey, 1782,' designed in the Chippendale style, is quite twenty years earlier; and that of 'Fr. Dickens Armig. 1795,' was certainly engraved half a century before.
During the ten or twelve years immediately following the year 1698, the number of English dated book-plates is exceedingly large. Taking the list printed for private distribution by Sir Wollaston Franks in 1887, we find sixteen examples in 1698; seven in 1699; fifteen in 1700; sixteen in 1701; forty-four in 1702; fifty-eight in 1703; twenty-seven in 1704; and many, but not so many, in the succeeding years. Something—what, I have failed to discover—must have given a stimulus to the fashion of using book-plates just at the close of the seventeenth and opening of the eighteenth century; and not only to using them, but also to putting a date on those used. It is a fact that it is more rare to find book-plates engraved in this particular style without dates than with them.
The fashion of 'dating,' as a rule, went out about the year 1714, about the time at which, as we shall see, a new 'style' in book-plates became generally adopted. Anonymous book-plates are rare after this date, though, both in England and on the Continent, they were, in early times, certainly common—a fact which bears silent testimony to the much greater intimacy which people in the good old days had with their neighbours' armorial bearings. The coat of arms of a man of position was almost as well known to those dwelling about him as were the features of his face; and if a volume, having within it an Armorial book-plate, happened to be found in wrongful custody, the finder might recognise the heraldry of the owner, even if he could not read the inscription recording that ownership.
So much for the early use of book-plates in England. In the next chapter I propose to say something about the leading styles of decoration employed by their designers.
It is not only in book-plates that we see this style adopted: it is used in almost every representation of shields of arms in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, be it on a memorial brass, in sculpture, or on a stained glass window. The style is simple and effective. The shield, nearly always symmetrical, is surmounted by a helmet, on which is the wreath and crest. From the helmet is outspread more or less voluminous mantling. In the earlier examples this terminates, generally in tassels, before reaching the base of the shield. In later examples its heavy folds descend quite to the base, and often ascend upwards from the helmet to the level of the top of the crest. Below the shield is a narrow scroll for the motto, which is not always given, and at the bottom of all is a bracket (on which the owner's name is inscribed), having indented edges. Occasionally, but not often, the mantling, instead of being foliated, hangs from the helmet in stiff folds at the back of the shield, its upper corners being tied up and tasselled. The book-plate of Thomas Knatchbull, dated in 1702 (shown on p. 51), is a very fair, though not a very early, example of this style. In some instances the shield is placed on one side—its right hand upper corner being thus brought to the centre of the helmet. The Simple Armorial style was, roughly speaking, not much used after 1720.
Besides the book-plates described in the foregoing chapter, nearly all of which belong to the 'Armorial' style, there are sundry others worthy of particular observation, should the reader meet with them. There is, for instance, the book-plate of 'The Right Honble James, Earl of Derby, Lord of Man and ye Isles, 1702'; the grandson of the James, seventh Earl, who suffered for his loyalty, and of the gallant Charlotte Trémouille. This is a large and very striking book-plate in every way; its size makes possible the introduction of some fine bold work, which is rendered even more effective by the fact that the arms portrayed are simply those of Stanley; so that there is no crowding in of quarterings. The decoration is that common to the book-plates of peers, or of other persons entitled to use supporters at the time: the mantling spreads from the helmet, and terminates at the heads of the supporters; these stand upon the motto-scroll. There is a smaller variety of this book-plate—one of the ordinary size—which is not so pleasing. When Earl James died, in 1736, the Earldom of Derby devolved on his kinsman, Sir Edward Stanley, Bart., whose book-plate, larger and finer than that just described, is really a very beautiful piece of work in the Jacobean style; the arms are Stanley impaling Hesketh, and the size of the book-plate is 65/8 × 51/4 in.
Similar examples of large-sized book-plates are furnished by those of 'The Honourable Iames Brydges of Wilton Castle, in Hereford Shere' (where the effect is somewhat marred by the number of quarterings displayed); 'Sir William Brownlowe of Belton, in the County of Lincoln, Baronet, 1698,' and his wife 'Dame Alice Brownlowe;' Lord Roos and his wife, Lady Roos; 'Paul Jodrell of Duffield, in ye County of Derby, Esqr, Clerk of ye Honble House of Commons'—a particularly bold piece of work; and 'Sr John Wentworth of North Elmeshall, in the West Rideing of Yorkshire, Baronet.' It is probable that all these, and other large-sized English book-plates, also exist, or existed, in the ordinary size (see pp. 18, 19). The largest English book-plate, and one which, from its unusual size, is certain to attract attention, is that of 'Simon Scroope of Danby-super-Yore, in com. Ebor., Esq., 1698'; here, too, much of the good effect is lost by the number of quarterings (no less than twenty-seven) introduced upon the shield.
I referred, at the close of the previous chapter, to
the large number of English book-plates engraved
 during the last two years of the seventeenth century and first ten of the eighteenth. The great majority of these book-plates are in the 'Simple Armorial' style, and there is upon these a very great similarity in the way in which that style is represented; indeed, they may well have been, all of them, the work of less than a dozen artists. Any distinctive feature that exists is to be found in the treatment of the mantling. For instance: it is finely cut on the book-plates of Nicholas Penny, Lord Cornwallis, Lord Roos, and 'John Sayer of Hounslow, in the County of Midd., Esqr,' all dated in 1700; on the Sayer plate the inscription is enclosed in a Jacobean scroll; it is heavy, and stiffly cut in the book-plates of James Bengough, Richard Newdigate, Sir William Hustler, and John Godfrey, all dated in 1702; it is leaflike and graceful on the book-plates of William Thompson and Francis Columbine, dated in 1708, and of Thomas Rowney, dated in 1713, whilst the book-plate of 'Gostlet Harington of Marshfield, in the Coun. of Glocester, Gent., 1706,' is unique, the mantling being cut like strawberry leaves. There is a peculiar effect produced by the way in which this example is printed, and the lettering of the inscription is also unusual.
There is one of these book-plates which the reader should notice from the peculiar arrangement of the decorative accessories, occasioned by the fact that the owner was both a spiritual and temporal peer. I refer to that of 'Nathanael Crewe, Lord Bishop of Durham and Baron Crewe of Stene, 1703.' Here the mantling springs from the helmet, rises to the level of the crest, and terminates at the heads of the supporters; a baron's coronet appears instead of a mitre, and behind the shield are a crozier and sword in saltire, the decoration of the head of the crozier being so like the form of the mantling that it seems, at first sight, to be part of it.
The 'Jacobean' style is far more ornate than that last mentioned, and the book-plate of 'John Reilly of the Middle Temple, Esqr.,' is a fair example of the best kind of Jacobean work. The escutcheon is raised on an elaborate and richly-carved Jacobean sideboard; mantling is still there, but it is curtailed, and seems almost resting on the top of the sideboard, on either side of which are columns, given in high relief; on each is carved a perpendicular festoon of leaves. Below the shield, crouched on the ledge of the sideboard, are two eagles with expanded wings; each holds in its beak one end of the ribbon which ties into a bunch the corners of a fringed cloth bearing the inscription already quoted; below the eagles, inverted cornucopiæ pour out books upon the floor on which the sideboard stands.
This plate may probably be dated very early in the eighteenth century, or even late in the seventeenth, since it is recorded that John Reilly's signature, with the date '1679,' occurs in a book in which it is fastened. To whichever date it belongs, the Simple Armorial style was then in general use,—that is to say, so far as the book-plates of private individuals are concerned. These, as we have just seen, nearly all bear a helmet, varying according to the owner's social rank, and from that falls the mantling, more or less elaborate. But if we look at the book-plates, dated in or about the year 1700, of certain colleges at Oxford or Cambridge, at ladies' book-plates of the same period,—none of which, of course, display a helmet,—and at some others in which the arms are given in an oval, we see that the blank on either side of the shield (consequent upon the absence of the helmet from which the mantling would fall) is supplied by work distinctly Jacobean. Lord De Tabley, whose descriptions in justification of the names he has bestowed upon the several styles we shall not hesitate to quote in this chapter, thus describes this work:—
'To supply this void in decoration, a distinct frame was placed round the escutcheons, and this framework was ornamented with ribbons, palm branches, or festoons.
'The prominent or high-relief portions of this frame were not set close to the edges of the escutcheons, but between it and them; an interval of flat-patterned surface nearly always intervened, in which, as upon a wall, the actual shield was embedded. This we shall call the lining of the armorial frame; and we shall find this lining is usually imbricated with a pattern of fish-scales, one upon another, or diapered into lattice-work. The scale-covered or latticed interval of lining is the characteristic of the style.... Another step in the external decoration was to add a bracket, distinct from the frame, upon which the shield, in its frame, was supposed to rest. This bracket naturally initiated the decorative art and surface arrangement of the shield-frame.'
As a rule, too, an escallop-shell forms the centre of the bracket in Jacobean book-plates. In some instances it is placed in the centre below, but more usually in the centre above; and then in the centre below we have the head of some mythical and uninviting monster. Either as quasi-supporters on the ledges of the bracket, right and left, or on the side ledges of the shield, if the bracket is amalgamated with the frame, are 'things' selected from the following miscellaneous collection—lions; cherubs, male and female; term-figures; busts of fairies, with butterfly wings; angels, generally engaged in trumpet-blowing, etc.
The student should notice this escallop-shell, because we shall see it introduced into the style of decoration that succeeded the Jacobean—there it became a shelly border rather than a distinct shell.
On the whole, then, the usual ornamentation of a Jacobean book-plate renders it easily recognisable. The decoration is stiff and conventional, displays more solidity than grace, and altogether seems less appropriate to a book-plate than the heavy rolls of mantling, which, as we have seen, surrounded the shield during the prevalence of the preceding style. As for the title 'Jacobean' which has been bestowed upon it, it should be explained that the reference is rather to the style of decoration in vogue in the days of James II. than to anything in the days of James I. Lord De Tabley has pointed out that, as compared with the woodwork preserved in churches of the latter half of the seventeenth century, and as compared with the mouldings on monuments of the same period, a practical identity of decoration cannot fail to strike the antiquary, and his choice of the name 'Jacobean' for this class of book-plates is thus abundantly justified.
Examples of Jacobean book-plates are numerous in most English collections, for the style continued long in fashion; indeed, it lasted, in more or less purity, down to 1745, or even later, and I think it quite likely that some of the evidently early undated examples may really have been executed during the last quarter of the seventeenth century. The similarity, to which we have just alluded, between the ornamentation shown upon Jacobean book-plates and that displayed in ecclesiastical decoration of the time of Charles the Second as well as James the Second, makes it very probable that this is so.
The few book-plates which are known to have been designed or executed by Hogarth (see p. 79) are in the Jacobean style; but, with the exception of that eminent artist and George Vertue, the men who worked upon Jacobean book-plates were not distinguished engravers. Nevertheless, some of their productions are distinctly good, though the decoration was, perhaps, too often overdone. The touch, in many, suggests that the artist was accustomed to engrave on gold or silver plate. This is notably the case in the book-plate of 'Charles Barlow, Esq., of Emmanuel College, Cambridge,' engraved in, or immediately after, 1730. This book-plate is worthy of observation, should the reader meet with it, as a particularly exaggerated example of the Jacobean style: the framework seems scarcely able to support the decorative accessories with which it is laden, and which include representations of birds, beasts, mythical figures, stony flowers in festoons or baskets, heads, shells, and what not!
The earliest dated Jacobean example is that of 'William Fitz Gerald, Lord Bishop of Clonfert,' which is inscribed '1698.' Here the escutcheon is of the 'Simple Armorial' shape, but set in a Jacobean framework, decorated with leafy sprays, and surmounted by a mitre, the ribbons of which terminate in tassels. Next we have the book-plates of five Cambridge Colleges,—Jesus, Pembroke, Queens', St. John's, and Trinity Hall; all bear the same engraved date—1700. These, and many like them dated in subsequent years, are no doubt the work of one man: the design consists of an escutcheon, on which are the College arms, set in a finely-drawn, scale-patterned frame, bedecked with hawk-bells, ribbons, wreaths, and sprays of flowers. Other College plates—except that of New College, Oxford, which is 'Simple Armorial' in its style—are Jacobean.
In 1701 comes the book-plate of Dame Anna Margaretta Mason. Here the lozenge, in which she bears her arms, appears with decoration very similar to that just described, though slightly more elaborate. In 1703 the book-plate of Philip Lynch shows how similar decoration is bestowed upon an oval escutcheon; whilst, in 1713, the book-plate of Henry, Duke of Kent, furnishes an early dated example of the introduction of the bracket, which is, as we have seen, a leading feature in Jacobean ornamentation.
This is really a remarkably fine book-plate. The escutcheon, indented in a somewhat peculiar fashion, is surrounded by the Garter, and fastened to the front of the bracket, a highly ornamented piece of work, on which stand the two supporters. Above is the ducal coronet; below, in an oblong Jacobean frame, is the inscription. The family of Grey, Dukes of Kent, is prolific in book-plates; that, dated five years later, of 'Mary, Countess of Harrold,' daughter-in-law to Henry, Duke of Kent, is a more elaborate, though less finely executed, piece of Jacobean work. Her arms, and those of her husband, appear side by side in separate oval shields; angels hold aloft an earl's coronet over both, while below, between the shields, is the head of a cherub, whose wings are arranged as a collar.
Other conspicuous Jacobean book-plates are those of Ellerker Bradshaw; Dr. Philip Bisse, Bishop of St. David's; Richard Massie of Coddington, Cheshire; 'James Hustler,' 1730; 'Sir Thomas Hare, Baronet, of Stow Hall, in Norfolk,' dated in 1734 (see p. 61); 'Francis Winnington, of Lincoln's Inn, Esq.,' dated in 1732; 'Saml. Goodford of ye Inner Temple, Esq.,' dated in 1737; 'John Robinson, M.D.,' dated in 1742; 'St. Thomas's Hospital Library;' and 'Lucius Henry Hibbins, of Gray's Inne, Esqe.'
A little before, and a little after, 1720 there was a fashion in English book-plates, which may almost be called a style: it was to place the shield of arms in a medallion, the background of which is shaded. Beneath, is the owner's name and description. The term 'Tombstone Style' might not sound an agreeable designation for these book-plates, but it would be very accurate; for, really, there is a strong likeness between them and the monumental slabs placed over deceased persons, whose social status rendered them eligible for interment in positions where they would be walked over by future generations of church-goers. We may mention three such book-plates: Edward Haistwell, dated in 1718, Sir John Rushout and John Lethieullier, Remembrancer of the City.
So far the shape of the shield used has been perfectly symmetrical. We now come to speak of the third style adopted by English book-plate designers, the leading feature of which is an absence of symmetry. This style has been christened 'Chippendale'; and when its characteristics have been described, and the leading features in Chippendale furniture remembered, we shall see the appropriateness of the name.
'The mark and stamp of a Chippendale ex libris,' says Lord De Tabley, 'is a frilling or border of open shell-work, set close up to the rounded outer margin of the escutcheon, and, with breaks, more or less enclosing it. This seems to be a modification of the scallop shell, so normal at the base either of frame or bracket on a Jacobean plate. It is, in fact, a border imitating the pectinated curves and grooves on the margins of a scallop-shell. Outside this succeed various furniture-like limbs and flourishes, eminently resembling the triumphs of ornate upholstery which Chippendale about this time brought into vogue.' The helmet and mantling are quite exceptional in book-plates of this style, except in examples which were probably designed and executed by Scotch artists.
Although it was not until 1754 that Chippendale
published, in folio, The Gentleman's and Cabinetmaker's
Director, 'being a large Collection of the
most useful Designs of Household Furniture in the
most fashionable taste, with 160 Plates of elegant
designed Furniture,' there was probably by that time
a good deal of Chippendale furniture already in the
market, and we are therefore not surprised to find a
book-plate designed in the Chippendale style, dated
in 1714—that of 'East Apthorpe.' True, the style
 there shown is not at all 'advanced,' yet there are decided indications of it, and for that reason it deserves attention. Although the shield is shell-shaped and ornamented with flowers, yet there are upon the plate indications of a horizontally-hatched Jacobean lining to the frame. We may, I think, consider this one of the earliest attempts at designing a Chippendale book-plate.
The style improved during the next ten or fifteen
years, and then began to deteriorate. As an escutcheon,
the shell-shaped or non-symmetrical shield
is unnatural and even ugly, but it lends itself to an
artistic treatment which the previous styles in English
book-plates certainly did not. For example,
flowers—of which there are always many in this style
of book-plate—can be represented as in nature; roses
blossom on sprays or branches, instead of being woven
closely together in conventional festoons, lilies are left
to droop their heads, whilst bunches of grasses or leaves
are bound so loosely together that they forfeit nothing
of their natural elegance. Allegoric figures also find
place in Chippendale book-plates, but they are of
a much more attractive kind than those displayed
in the Jacobean plates. Cupids or nymphs are sometimes
really graceful bits of drawing when depicted
in the better specimens of the style of which we are
now speaking. The book-plate of 'James Brackstone,
Citizen of London,' dated in 1751—figured
opposite this page—is as good a specimen of a pure
Chippendale book-plate as could be found; whilst
 that of John Ord of Lincoln Inn, dated ten years later, betrays some signs of a decadence which soon afterwards became general.
'The fashion,' as Lord De Tabley remarks, 'began to be vulgarised in the hands of weak designers, who bestowed floral embellishments upon the framework of the shields, without any moderation whatever, endeavouring by a crowded decoration to mask the real weakness and poverty of their powers of design.' As a consequence, we have in the later Chippendale book-plates, those, say, from 1760 to 1780 or 1785, some very terrible productions. Shell-work and flowers are retained, but they are regarded as inadequate, and cherubs, dragons, 'nymphs in kilted petticoats,' sheep, cattle, trees, fruit, fruit-baskets, portions of buildings, fountains, books, implements of husbandry, and a host of other miscellaneous objects appear as decorations. Indeed, it is wonderful what a strange medley a designer in the later days of Chippendaleism could produce for a customer willing to pay for it!
We may as well here point out a few interesting examples of English book-plates designed in the Chippendale style. A prolific worker in it was J. Skinner of Bath (see pp. 81-86; 203-212), who followed the excellent plan of dating nearly all his work, which should, therefore, be carefully observed when met with. In one of his book-plates, that which, in 1743, he produced for 'Charles Delafaye, Esq., of Wichbury, Wilts.' it is curious to note with what evident diffidence the designer uses the graceful sprays of natural flowers in ornamenting the shelly shield. Yet in another book-plate, that of Benjamin Hatley Foote, engraved in the same year, the anonymous artist uses these ornaments without hesitation, and produces a book-plate which might have been engraved many years later. Two very noticeable examples are also supplied by the fully developed Chippendale book-plates of Richard Caryer and Joseph Pocklington. In each the crest is placed on a miniature representation of the shield, which contains the arms. Of the debased Chippendale book-plates, of which we have had to speak, it is hard to select examples for particular reference, for they are sadly numerous, and seem to vie with each other in ugliness and vulgarity; the prize may, however, be claimed by 'C. Eve', who, conscious, perhaps, of the atrocity he was committing in using such a book-plate, makes an attempt at disguising his name. To describe his plate is nearly impossible; suffice it to say that, built on to the frame are sundry stages on which a variety of pastoral scenes are depicted, and that any beauties which the floral embellishments might in themselves possess are effectually obliterated by overcrowding.
Before Chippendaleism had died out, another marked style in English book-plates had already come in, and was getting to be generally adopted. We will call this the 'Wreath and Ribbon' or 'Festoon' style, and probably one of the earliest examples of it is that figured opposite, which shows us the book-plate of George Lewis Jones, Bishop of Kilmore, dated in 1774. There is a good deal of grace in these 'Wreath and Ribbon' book-plates. The shield is again symmetrical, and of a shape that a shield might possibly be; the flowers and leaves that decorate it are for the most part still left free and unconfined, and even when woven into festoons they are somewhat less conventional than those which compose the festoons of the Jacobean period. These festoons, and a labyrinth of floating ribbons, were intended to compensate for the loss of the shelly border and its adjuncts of the 'Chippendale' style.
Just in the same way as the Chippendale book-plates very closely resembled in their decoration the furniture with which Chippendale filled the fashionable drawing-rooms of his time, so in their turn those designed in what we have christened the 'Wreath and Ribbon' style very closely resembled the decoration which Thomas Sheraton suggested for contemporary furniture. This the reader may see for himself, if he will turn to Sheraton's work, The Cabinetmaker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book.
I do not know that there are many examples of
the 'Wreath and Ribbon' book-plates which call for
special attention. Though several are pretty, there is
a strong family likeness between all. Perhaps the
most conspicuous is that of 'John Symons, Esqr.' In this, prettily drawn cherubs, descending from the sky, hold the corners of a mantle, which surrounds the shield. The book-plates of 'Sir Thomas Banks I'Anson, of Corfe Castle, Dorset'; of the 'Rev. George Pollen'; and of 'John Holcombe, New Cross,' are useful for comparison, on account of the engraved dates which they bear—1783, 1787, and 1799 respectively; whilst that of 'Robert Surtees, Mainsforth,' is interesting both from its possessor, the historian of Durham, who was also its designer, and from its unusual hatched background.
By degrees the festoons of flowers and entanglement of ribbons were discarded, and the shield, similarly shaped, appeared destitute of ornamentation. The helmet was omitted, and the 'wreath' on which the crest should properly rest was placed, in a meaningless way, the fraction of an inch above the upper line of the shield, and entirely without support. After this, quite early in the nineteenth century, and during its first fifteen or twenty years, there came into fashion a design in English book-plates which we may term the 'Celestial' style. In this the shield is depicted as suspended in mid-air, with a background of sky or clouds, or else resting upon a cloud-built bank. It gave the designer very slight opportunity for the display of artistic taste; had it done so, the opportunity would probably have been neglected, for the designers and engravers of book-plates in this style were men of whom the world at large knows nothing. The shield, in book-plates of the time of which I am now speaking, was entirely without ornament, and of this shape—
Before closing this chapter, I ought, perhaps, to say a word about Scotch and Irish book-plates. It cannot be said that in these there was ever a style distinctively national. The style fashionable in England at a particular time was also fashionable in Scotland and in Ireland; yet there is a perceptible difference in the way in which its details were carried out, especially in Scotland. In Edinburgh there were several book-plate engravers, and their work possesses a characteristic touch; the 'Simple Armorial' style is rendered much more stiffly, and the shield is often round. 'Jacobean' book-plates are very uncommon, but the 'Chippendales' are an odd mixture of that style as we know it in England and the 'Jacobean.' The presence of a helmet and mantling in a 'Chippendale' book-plate engraved in Scotland is not unusual, and the shield is always very soberly placed. I do not know of a 'Library Interior' plate that hails from north of the Tweed; but, if one ever be discovered, depend upon it no Cupids will frolic there. A few Scotch book-plates are, perhaps, emblematic; that is, display emblems of the possessor's art or trade. Dr. John Bosworth's, in which are figured the staff of Æsculapius, a cock, a serpent, and an owl, is an instance of this; but allegory is almost unknown. No mythological figures sit among the floral decorations of Scotch Chippendale book-plates, as they do so frequently in later Chippendale work in England. The only instance that I can call to mind of the introduction of figures at all into the decoration of a Scotch book-plate, is that of 'Birnie of Broomhill' (circa 1715), reproduced opposite, and in this the figures are sombre enough,—two ministers of 'the kirk' kneeling at their desks. Irish book-plates have even less individuality than Scotch, and are chiefly recognisable by the coarseness of their work, and their dark printing.
The collector will soon discover that in England allegory formed at no period, except, perhaps, in the days of Bartolozzi and Sherwin, a really national style in book-plates, but rather an occasional fancy indulged in by a particular individual here and there. Whilst in France book-plates on which was displayed allegory, and the wildest allegory, were actually abundant, in England they are decidedly rare; and it is indeed interesting to see how our English artists set to work when called upon to design them.
So far as I am aware, the earliest example of an English Allegoric book-plate as yet brought to light, is that of Thomas Gore of Alderton, which is fully described on p. 34. This may be dated somewhere about 1675, and was, as the signature shows us, the work of a Dutch artist, Michael Burghers; so that we may, perhaps, regard the allegory upon it rather as the outcome of Michael's brain than the carrying out of instructions given him by a Wiltshire squire!
The date of the next English book-plate I have noticed, in which allegory is introduced, is also the work of a foreigner,—a Frenchman,—Louis du Guernier, who, at the age of thirty, came over from Paris in 1708, and who died here in 1716. Soon after his arrival he executed a book-plate, decidedly foreign in appearance, for Lady Cairnes, wife of Sir Alexander Cairnes of Monaghan. The Cairnes arms, impaling Gould, are on a round shield in a scaly frame; this is placed on steps, at the back of which is classical masonry. The shield is kept from falling by three cupids,—two seated and one standing,—whilst two flying ones hold aloft a ribbon bearing the owner's name, thus: 'Lady Elizabeth Cairnes.' She was a sister of Sir Nathaniel Gould, so that her description on the book-plate as 'Lady' is clearly wrong; she should have been called 'Dame.' The error arose, most likely, from the engraver's imperfect knowledge of English titles,—a very general stumbling-block to foreigners. The book-plate is an exceedingly pretty piece of work. There is some of the Jacobean scale work used in it which English engravers were beginning to introduce into their designs; but the employment of allegory is certainly the most striking feature it possesses. I do not know of any other book-plates executed by Louis du Guernier while in England, and probably the people of this country were not yet quite prepared to confide—as Lord De Tabley puts it—their family escutcheons 'to the care of Minerva or the Delian Phœbus himself.'
But though Michael Burghers's somewhat unbeautiful allegory may not have pleased Thomas Gore or his other English clients in 1675, nor the prettier allegory of Louis du Guernier have generally commended itself to people in this country in 1710, allegory, if not in the work of these artists, was bound sooner or later to come into fashion on English book-plates, seeing that it was, and for long had been, fashionable across the Channel. There have been few outbreaks of disease on the Continent that have not infected this country,—at all events, slightly. The foreigners whom the foreign king, on his arrival in England in 1688, brought with him engendered foreign ways and foreign fashions at Court, and these ways and fashions were in turn adopted by people who did not go to Court, and that is how allegory crept into the book-plates of the rank and file of Englishmen.
The first English engraver, born and bred, to execute an Allegoric book-plate was John Pine, himself a man of letters, and one with whose features Hogarth has made us familiar. In 1736 he was employed to design and engrave a book-plate to place in the thirty thousand volumes of Bishop Moore's library, which George I. had bought, in 1715, to present to the University of Cambridge, but which were not suitably housed till 1734. No doubt Pine was fully impressed with the munificence of the gift,—a mass of volumes which the heavy-headed king would have never opened had he kept, and never understood had he opened them. His task was to design a book-plate commensurate with the royal munificence, and he probably considered he had been equal to the occasion when he produced what we see opposite the next page. Lord De Tabley's words so accurately describe this pompous production, that I will quote them:—
'The design represents a vast structure, rather like an ormolu chimney-piece clock, of which the arms of the University of Cambridge, in a plain, solid frame, represent the face. Behind this towers up a vast pyramid, on which the brick work is distinctly marked. As dexter supporter stands Phœbus Apollo in person, reaching out a wreath. A clouded sun rays out behind him. At his feet are deposited samples of the book collection of late so munificently bestowed. As sinister supporter sits Minerva with helm and spear and Gorgon-headed shield. Her feet are wrapt in cloud. In the centre of the bracket, beneath these gods, is inserted a medallion portrait of royal George, reading round its exergue, Georgius D.G., MAG. BR. FR. ET HIB. REX F.D. This is flanked by a laurel and a palm branch.' Pine—who had submitted proofs of this book-plate before August 1736, for at that date he offers to make George's portrait more accurate—engraved four sizes of this plate. The design is similar in three, but in the fourth, and smallest, the artist evidently felt that, in so limited a space, he could not do justice to Apollo and Minerva, and discreetly omitted them. He signs this smallest plate in full, 'J. Pine, Sculp.'
There may now be seen at Cambridge, in many of the books which George I. presented, book-plates which at first sight appear to be modern impressions from Pine's plates, but, on examination, prove to be copies, though not exact copies, of Pine's work, and on these the signature is 'J. B.' The late Mr. Henry Bradshaw discovered that these copies were the work of John Baldrey, a Cambridge engraver, at the close of the last century. At the time that he was working for the University, a large number of the volumes given by George I. required re-binding, and, as Pine's plates were worn out or lost, Baldrey was commissioned to execute a copy of the earlier design, in order to supply a book-plate for the re-bound volumes.
Very soon after the 'Munificentia Regia' to Cambridge in 1715, the loyalty of Oxford to the 'illustrious House of Hanover' was seriously doubted, and the King sent a squadron of horse into the city, whereupon an Oxford 'varsity wit composed the following epigram:—
Though much later in date than the design just noticed, it may be as well to mention here another book-plate—also 'Allegoric'—which, was engraved by John Pine. This was executed by him from a drawing by Gravelot, for Dr. John Burton, about the year 1740. It shows us the interior of a library, presumably the doctor's, with a couple of cupids supporting a shield bearing the Burton arms. This design, which was subsequently appropriated by 'Wadham Wyndham, Esq.,' as his book-plate, is a very 'slight' affair after the Cambridge plate; but Pine no doubt possessed a fitting sense of the difference to be observed in designing a book-plate for a mere Doctor of Divinity and in commemorating the gift of a royal donor.
After John Pine, the next designers of English book-plates in the Allegoric style are both famous men,—William Hogarth and George Vertue. We will speak of the works of the greater man first: they consist of two undoubted book-plates and of a few more possible ones, and were executed quite at the outset of Hogarth's career, say, about 1720. The first is described as done for the books of John Holland, herald painter. Minerva is seen seated among cupids, four in number, with her hand placed upon a shield bearing the family arms. The chief interest in Hogarth's other undoubted book-plate—that of George Lambart, the landscape painter, one of Hogarth's convivial crew—lies in the female figures, which sit right and left of the shield. It is figured over leaf, from the copy in Sir Wollaston Franks's collection, which is the only original example known to exist—other copies are from the plates in Ireland's work, and bear his initials. The collector is cautioned against certain plates signed 'W. H.,' which have been attributed to Hogarth, but are in reality the work of William Hibbart, a Bath engraver, working about the middle of the eighteenth century.
Turning now to the work of George Vertue in
designing English Allegoric book-plates, we come to
a very beautiful and very interesting example, which
was probably engraved in, or very soon after, 1730—the
book-plate of Henrietta, Countess of Oxford. I
 have already called attention to this engraving in speaking of old-time allusions to book-plates (p. 14), and do not here intend to do more than make passing reference to it, since I have spoken fully of it later on in what I have to say about 'ladies'' book-plates (pp. 186-199). It is only mentioned now in order to give a reference to it in its proper chronological position.
We have now to travel for some distance along the road of time before coming to another example of allegory on an English book-plate.
We find it, in 1740, on a plate which one J. Skinner engraved from a design by 'T. Ross.' This is really a very beautiful book-plate, as its reproduction (p. 83) shows. A shield—the shape and ornamentation of which is Chippendale—bearing the Wiltshire arms, is placed upon a platform and against a cippus, or small monumental column; Shakespeare stands on the right, and listens, with a pleased expression, to the music of a rustic piper, whose head appears at the back of the cippus, whilst, on the left, Pope weighs the eloquence of an orator, whose head and upraised hand also appear from behind the cippus. A medallion of Augustus is on a pedestal above. Lying on the platform are a globe and books and many emblems of the painter's and musician's arts, and amongst these sits Cupid thinking, perhaps, with which he will play next, and holding the end of a ribbon inscribed: 'John Wiltshire, Bath, 1740.' The design is certainly original, and makes us interested as to the identity of the owner.
It is quite possible that we have here not only an interesting book-plate, but the book-plate of an interesting man. When Gainsborough, the painter, moved to Bath in 1760 he found that the 'Pickford' of the day, who had the carrying trade of the Bath road, was no ordinary carrier, but a man of taste and culture, and ready to do anything he could to help art and artists. He was a certain John Wiltshire, and before Gainsborough had been long a resident at Bath he was Wiltshire's fast friend, and in the enjoyment of a very tangible proof of friendship: for Wiltshire carried to London, gratis, every picture that Gainsborough needed to send thither. Not a penny would he take for carriage. 'No, no,' he would say, when the painter's modesty led him to protest against such generosity, 'I admire painting too much for that.' No doubt he did, and it must be said that, in return for his goodness, Gainsborough gave him many a charming bit of work on which to feast his eyes. Let us hope we have before us the book-plate of this 'kind of worthy man,' as Allan Cunningham called him, who loved Gainsborough and admired his works.
Of course the plate is twenty years earlier than the
commencement of Gainsborough's residence at Bath
and of his friendship with Wiltshire; but what of
that? Wiltshire had been, likely enough, a lover of
things beautiful and the owner of books, long before;
there is no necessity for imagining that his was a
 sudden conversion to a self-sacrificing love for art, produced by intimacy with Gainsborough.
Another interesting English book-plate, in which allegory plays a part, is that, also by J. Skinner, of William Oliver, doctor of medicine, philanthropist, and inventor of biscuits. It is, judging from the form of the engraver's signature, of about the same date as the Wiltshire book-plate. The shield, bearing the Oliver coat-of-arms, rests upon a platform on which stand two figures, as in the example last described; but instead of these figures being representative of the drama and of literature, they are an ancient and a modern medical practitioner: the former, perhaps, even the god of medicine himself. This was quite appropriate, for Oliver, though a man of cultured tastes in varied walks of life, and one who might have appropriately committed the care of his family escutcheon to the allegoric representatives of many arts, was first and foremost a doctor of medicine. The modern doctor is arrayed in cap and gown, and stands on the left of the shield, with hand outstretched towards his fellow of old time. Below the platform, on a triangle, is a club, around which the serpent of Æsculapius entwines itself.
Oliver's life lasted for hard on seventy years—1695
to 1764; after settling at Bath and commencing
practice, his rise to fame was remarkable for its
rapidity, and, as quite early in his career he busied
himself with hospital building, hospital management,
 and other good works, he soon made for himself a number of enemies amongst his fellow-practitioners less capable and less energetic than himself. As a physician and philanthropist he is now forgotten; as the inventor of a biscuit he is remembered—for the 'Bath Oliver' still holds its own against the multitude of modern competitors, and is still—so the makers say—prepared from Dr. Oliver's original receipt. That receipt he confided, when on his death-bed, to his coachman, giving him £100 in money and ten sacks of the finest flour wherewith to continue the production of the then already popular biscuits. With the money the coachman opened a shop in Green Street, Bath, and so got together a comfortable fortune. Of Skinner, to whom we owe these two plates, we shall have more to say presently (pp. 203-212), in referring to the engravers of English book-plates.
Ten years after the Wiltshire plate comes our next distinctly Allegoric book-plate, engraved by a second-rate engraver for 'John Duick.' I have not seen this plate, but Lord De Tabley, whose word-pictures are always good, thus describes it:—'Apollo with a broad ray effect round his head, playing the lyre to the nine Muses, who are grouped around him; the musical ones also assist in the concert with various instruments. Below are clouds, above them appear the abrupt cliffs of Helicon, with Pegasus launching himself into the air therefrom; the fountain Hippocrene, tapped by his galloping hoofs, descends the cliff-side in a cascade.'
Allegory also appears in the two book-plates engraved by Sir Robert Strange about the middle of the eighteenth century; those of his brother-in-law, Andrew Lumisden, secretary to Prince Charlie, and of a Dr. Thomas Drummond. The circumstances under which the former was engraved have been already referred to (p. 11). It is a sombre book-plate, showing us, before a dark background, a slab with a bust at either end; 'Cupid' plays on the ground before the centre of the slab; the Lumisden arms are on a shield that lies in the left-hand corner; and a heavy curtain hangs over the upper part of the design, which is signed 'R. Strange, sculpt.'
Dr. Drummond's book-plate (see p. 89) is a less heavy, but not so finished a production, and is drawn by T. Wale: Aurora soars at the top of the design, and with her left hand pulls aside a curtain, thus disclosing a view of the doctor's library. In the centre is placed a table covered with cloth, except at the right-hand corner; here the drapery is raised so as to display the ornate workmanship of the table-leg. On the cloth are a number of books, some music, and a flute; before the table a globe, and, leaning against that, a violoncello. The general decoration of the room is classical, and busts and statues are introduced, though not with sufficient detail to be recognisable. In Aurora's right hand is a flaming torch, held in dangerous proximity to the curtain.
After the date of these two plates comes another long interval—twenty years or so—before we reach the next truly Allegoric book-plate designed in England. We then find a decidedly graceful piece of work. A hooded Sibyl, seated at the foot of a pyramid, peruses attentively an open volume. She leans her cheek upon her right hand, whilst the left rests upon the book. A caduceus, against which rests a shield of arms, lies at her feet. The whole is contained in an oval wreath of berried laurel. Below is written: 'E libris Johīs Currer de Kildwick, Arm.' This book-plate was afterwards altered for 'Danson Richardson Currer, de Gledston, Arm̄,' and an inferior copy was used by a certain R. H. Alexander Bennet; this is a much commoner book-plate than the Currer—in either form.
Of much the same date is the far less graceful
representation of allegory, which appears on the
book-plate of 'T. Gascoigne, Parlington, in Yorkshire.'
Here we have a representation of what, we must
presume, is the interior of the Parlington Library; but
neither 'T. Gascoigne,' nor yet any other eighteenth
century Yorkshire gentleman, is tasting the sweets of
his literary collection; the library is tenanted by a
couple of mythological females, of such substantial
forms that Lord De Tabley thinks they must represent
two Yorkshire damsels masquerading, one as a
muse and the other as Apollo. The muse writes
down either notes or words from Apollo's dictation.
Columns support the roof of the library, and in a
niche in the wall stands a small statue of Minerva. If
 Mr. Gascoigne obtained the services of some Yorkshire relatives to stand as models for the figures on his book-plate, he probably did so when they were in town for the season, for the work is signed by a Bond Street engraver.
About the year 1775, English Allegoric book-plates became more numerous, and the allegory upon them assumes a grace in conception and execution not before known. Cipriani, Bartolozzi, and his pupil Sherwin, were showing Englishmen how allegory could be represented on book-plates without being clumsy and ridiculous, and the lesser artists were imitating their work with more or less success.
One of Bartolozzi's earliest book-plates was executed for Sir Foster Cunliffe, Bart., the descendant of a very famous Liverpool merchant. The Cunliffe arms appear in mid-air, resting upon a bank of clouds; two exquisitely drawn cherubs support the shield, over which is folded drapery. The cherub on the dexter side is seated, and holds a caduceus in his right hand. The one on the sinister side is furnished with two trumpets, and is blowing that in his left hand. On a medallion above the shield is the Cunliffe crest, with the motto Fideliter. The plate, which was afterwards altered for Sir Robert H. Cunliffe, Bart., is, in all probability, Cipriani's design, for that artist signs his name as designer of an almost similar book-plate for Jean Tommins, which was engraved by Ford several years before. A very coarse imitation of the design was also used by Thomas Anson of Shughborough, who intrusted the imitation to Yates.
Sir Foster Cunliffe was a grandson of Foster Cunliffe, King Charles the Second's godson, the Liverpool merchant, who, according to Foster's Lancashire Families, 'became not only the first man in Liverpool, but was supposed to have a more extended commerce than any merchant in the kingdom, and declined all solicitations that he should represent Liverpool in Parliament.'
The remarkably large example of Bartolozzi's work which has often been described as the book-plate of George III., does not appear ever to have been used as such. In the previous edition of this book I alluded to it (at p. 67) as, possibly, a gift to the King, in which, at the expense of utility, Bartolozzi sought to display his gratitude to, and admiration for, the sovereign, under whom he had come to reside; it does not, however, seem that Bartolozzi intended the engraving for a book-plate at all, but designed it for the title-page of a folio volume, issued in 1792, which contained engravings of thirty-six statesmen of the reign of Henry VIII., from drawings by Holbein. I will give a short description of the engraving in question, so that it may be more easily recognised by the collector, if offered to him as a book-plate. It shows us the arms of England, as borne by George III., prior to the Union with Ireland, upheld in mid-air by three inhabitants of the skies. Above the shield a fourth celestial being is flying, and at the same time holding aloft His Majesty's crown. On the left side of the plate is the figure of Fame, who, on a long trumpet placed to her lips, is evidently giving a sonorous blast. This is perhaps the most uncomfortable part of the design, for the whole weight of this somewhat massive young lady is upon the shield, which we have said is in mid-air, and only supported by three cherubs, whose united muscular powers strike one as totally inadequate to bear the burden imposed upon them.
In 1796, Bartolozzi, then a Royal Academician,
executed his most beautiful book-plate. It is inscribed
'H. F. Bessborough,' and was made for Lady
Henrietta Frances Spencer, who, in 1780, married
Frederick, third Earl of Bessborough. The design
shows us a Roman interior with an exquisitely drawn
Venus, seated, and holding in her left hand—which is
uplifted—a burning human heart, and in her right, a
dove. Behind her is a vase of flowers. The other
inmates of the room are two cupids, who hold above
the goddess a long scarf bearing Lady Bessborough's
name. The design is Cipriani's. Besides his signature
and that of the engraver, there is also on the
book-plate, 'Published Dec. 30, 1796, by F. Bartolozzi.'
It will be remembered that in 1735 Hogarth,
by his own exertions on behalf of his brother artists,
managed to get an Act through Parliament—a body
that then probably cared little for art or artists—by
which designers and engravers obtained a copyright
in their own works; and it is a singular testimony to
 the popularity of Bartolozzi's work, that on so trivial a work as a book-plate it was found necessary to adopt this formula of publication. By the kindness of the Hon. Gerald Ponsonby, I am enabled to state that Bartolozzi's receipt for this 'ticket plate,' as he calls it, bears as its date the 29th December 1796, the day before the date of 'publication.' It is noteworthy that Bartolozzi received £20 for his work. The book-plate is given on the previous page.
Quite distinct from this 'joyous' book-plate is another, executed by the same artist for a Spanish lady, which we may class as English, since it was no doubt engraved by him in England. Isabel de Menezes, the lady for whom this book-plate was designed, was, as she tells us on it, in the seventy-first year of her age. Allegoric figures disporting themselves in youthful frolic would, perhaps, have been out of keeping on the book-plate of a lady at that sombre time of life, and so the designer has run to the other extreme. Gloominess predominates in this book-plate. A partly ruined square-built tomb is erected on a promontory above the sea; briars and other creepers have grown round it and had covered it, till the kneeling female figure drew them down in order to place upon the tomb a commemorative inscription. Beside the figure is a Cupid, who points to the newly-cut words. It has been thought that this may have been designed for a visiting card; it is quite in the fashion of such things at the date, and it is likely enough that Isabel de Menezes used the plate both as a card and as a mark of ownership for her books.
There are, besides those described, a number of English book-plates which in style much resemble Bartolozzi's work. If they are his, they probably date before 1796, for the adoption of the publication formula, before noticed, makes it improbable that he executed any work, whilst in England, that he did not thus protect. After his departure from this country, he produced, from a drawing by Signeira, a book-plate for Sir Thomas Gage, Bart., of Hengrave Hall, Suffolk. In this, a female figure sits upon a stone, against which is a plain shield bearing the Gage arms. The plate is signed 'Bartolozzi, Lisbon, 1805.' There is a distinct resemblance in this book-plate to that which was engraved, either in 1786 or 1787, for Richard Hoare, eldest son of the Lord Mayor of London. He was created a baronet in the former year, and died in the latter. In this we have a seated female, classically draped, who rests her left elbow on a cippus, on which is engraved a shield bearing the arms of Hoare. Richard Hoare married the heiress of Stourhead, and his son was Sir Richard Colt Hoare, the famous antiquary and author. The date at which this plate must have been executed, 1786 or 1787, does not allow the absence of the engraver's name and formula of publication to tell against the work being Bartolozzi's; his fame was not then so great, and he found it less necessary to protect his engravings from piracy (see p. 197).
Beautiful as are Bartolozzi's book-plates, it cannot be said that his capabilities as a designer or an engraver are demonstrated in these; works of a larger kind showed forth his talents far more.
So, then, allegory at length came to be almost popular with English book-plate owners, and various lesser artists—Henshaw, Roe, Pollard, and some others—produced it in imitation of Bartolozzi, with only indifferent success. But before ending this chapter, we must say something about the book-plate work of Bartolozzi's chief English pupil, John Keys Sherwin. In 1773, the year after he gained the Royal Academy's gold medal for drawing, he executed an extremely pretty Allegoric book-plate for John Mitford of Pitt's Hill. It represents an infant Neptune, with his trident, seated on a large shell, which is upon the back of a sea-horse. Young Neptune's drapery forms a graceful canopy, and he supports in his right hand a small shell, which displays the Mitford arms and crest. A dolphin, spouting water in fountain-like sprays, swims by his side. There are two states of this plate, one having the arms incorrectly shaded: both are signed by Sherwin.
In closing our remarks on English book-plates, designed after this fashion, notice—though only a passing one, for it is spoken of fully later on—must be taken of the charming book-plate which Agnes Berry designed in 1793 for her friend Mrs. Damer. I mention it here only to associate it in the reader's mind with 'Allegoric' book-plates.
So much for allegory on English book-plates. It is to the credit of Englishmen that Allegoric work did not become popular until something really artistic in this particular style was produced, and that, even before that time, allegory never ran quite so wild on English book-plates as it did on foreign examples. M. Poulet Malassis assures us that into one French book-plate of the last century were crowded the whole personnel of Olympus!
Then we have book-plates in which books themselves—book piles or book shelves—are the predominating feature in the design; with these, Sir Arthur Vicars, in the pages of the Ex Libris Journal, has dealt exhaustively. Though the book-plates which show us library interiors would seem naturally to come into this class of examples, I have been forced to except the majority of them, and to speak of them in the previous chapter, as being in nearly every case at least tinged with allegory. Even in the sanctum of a doctor of divinity, Cupid frolics about as happy, and as busy, as in a maiden's boudoir. Still there are a few 'Library Interiors' entirely free from allegory. Take, for instance, the book-plate of Sir Robert Cunliffe. Here we have the interior of a library with a window to the right. Every ornament is thoroughly 'Chippendale' in character; the legs of the table, the cartouche (which contains the name), the shield, and the woodwork surrounding the window. On the table is a globe, upon a stand, the supports of which terminate in Chippendale scrolls, an inkstand with a pen on it, and two books, one closed, and the other open. There are numbers of books confusedly disposed on the shelves, the ceiling of the room is plain, and there is only a plain line for a cornice. The arms occupy the centre of the plate, and appear to be suspended in mid-air, the foot of one of the scrolls only resting on the table.
Again, the book-plates of 'The Manchester Subscription
Library,' 'The Manchester Circulating
Library,' and 'The Rochdale Circulating Library'
all show interiors of libraries, but free from allegoric
inmates. These three book-plates are nearly identical.
There are shelves of books at the sides, a tiled
floor, a table in the foreground, a panelled ceiling
with a cornice; and, at the end of the room, perhaps
a passage. There is a round arch containing a window
of three lights, the centre one having a round top.
The general appearance of the room is classical
Very similar is the book-plate of the Liverpool
Library. Here we have a complicated Chippendale
bookcase, with ten columns upon square bases, and
ornamental capitals of no particular style. The
shelves are filled with books, and the two central
divisions of the bookcase are all cupboards. In the
centre of the case, among Chippendale scrolls, is the
crest of the town, and below the central division of
the bookcase are the words 'Liverpool Library' in
two lines. Below the whole is a large cartouche, in
the same style as the rest of the plate, inscribed,
'Allowed for reading .... days. Forfeiture, ... d.
per day.' Mr. J. Paul Rylands, in his interesting Notes
on Book-Plates, tells us that this library, now the
Lyceum, was founded on the 1st of May 1758; the
book-plate was, no doubt, engraved soon afterwards,
as all the ornamentation introduced is certainly
'Chippendale.' So, too, is that on the book-plate
engraved by John Pine in 1750, which the Benchers
of Gray's Inn used for their volumes. Here a shell-shaped
shield, bearing the arms of the 'Learned and
Honourable Society,' is apparently fastened on to a
background of book-shelves filled with books. So
much for the 'Library Interiors.' The arrangement
of the volumes in the other book-plates in
which books form the chief feature of decoration,
is generally like that shown opposite in
the book-plate of William Hewer, a Commissioner
of the Navy, and the friend and secretary of
Samuel Pepys. How the scroll, on which are
 either the owner's arms or his name, is supported, is not clear.
The book-plate of Sir Philip Sydenham, dated 1699, when he was, as he tells us, twenty-three years of age, offers another interesting example of the Book-Pile design; Sir Philip shows us his coat of arms on the face of the scroll, on the lower roll of which, in very small letters, is written the inscription. Apparently neither this nor any of his other book-plates completely satisfied him, for during the remaining forty years of his life he had more than half-a-dozen different plates designed, and nearly all of these are found in various 'states.' There are, Mr. Fincham tells me, some sixteen varieties of Sir Philip's book-plate; many of his books are now in Sion College Library. In the book-plate of White Kennett, who filled the See of Peterborough from 1718 to 1728, we see how the emblems of episcopacy are treated when introduced into book-plates of this type. White Kennett had other book-plates; the rarest and earliest, engraved when he was at college, is in the 'Simple Armorial' style. These 'Book-Pile' plates appear at intervals down to the close of the century, and the style has been recently revived by book-plate designers; it is simple and certainly appropriate. The approximate date of each example may be generally gathered from the shape of the shield containing the arms, or the style of decoration around it.
We have yet to speak of by far the most numerous class of those English book-plates, which may be properly brought into our second division of 'Picture' book-plates—I mean the examples which represent upon them a landscape, either real or imaginary. The real landscapes represented have, of course, some direct reference to the plate; being a view, either of the owner's house, his park, his parish church, his town or village, of some particular spot in the immediate vicinity of his residence, or of some incident connected with his career or occupation—be it business, profession, or pleasure. For instance, Horace Walpole, in one of his book-plates, shows us a view of his 'Palace of Varieties' at Strawberry Hill (see p. 106). Again, Thomas Gosden, the angler sportsman and collector of angling literature, introduces into his book-plate all sorts of angling and sporting gear, even to a capacious whisky flask. 'The Honble Robert Henry Southwell, Lieut. 1st Regiment of Horse, 1767,' flanks his shield with various kinds of military weapons and trophies; whilst 'Captain William Locker, Royal Navy,' shows us the swelling bosom of a man-of-war 'foretop gallant' sail, on which is figured his coat of arms.
We will speak first of those book-plates on which the landscape is real, and we will call them 'View' plates. Probably the earliest of these is the very interesting one (see p. 105), which was engraved by Mynde about 1770 for the Library of the Public Record Office, then in the Tower of London; here we have a remarkably faithful representation of the historic building. The date at which the Tower book-plate was probably engraved adds to its interest. Plates in this style hardly appear at all before 1778 or 1780, and do not become common till five or six years later.
The book-plate of 'Peter Muilman of King St., London, and Kirby Hall, Castle Hedingham, Essex,' is one which, I think, may be classed among 'View' plates, since the ruins depicted on it have certainly the appearance of having been sketched from the remains of some feudal stronghold, perhaps from Castle Hedingham itself. In front of the ruins is a wooded lawn, on which two robust cupids are wrestling for the Muilman escutcheon. Kirby Hall is not shown: no doubt this was a comfortable Georgian house round the corner, where Peter and his family spent their summer holidays away from the bustle and smoke of King Street. Presumably, the ruins of the castle were left standing in the park for ornament's sake, to give a tone of feudalism to the Muilman domain, whose owner, save by his book-plate, is not known to fame. The plate was engraved by Terry of Paternoster Row, probably about 1775, so that this again is an early example of its kind.
Among other notable specimens of these 'View'
book-plates may be mentioned that which Pye, a
Birmingham engraver, executed for 'T. W. Greene'
of Lichfield. Here we have an oval-shaped shield,
 bearing the arms of Greene, resting against a tree-stump. In the distance is a river, and Lichfield Cathedral. Later on, Pye engraved a very similar book-plate for another Lichfield man—an attorney named Nicholson, who went to live at Stockport. This shows Nicholson's residence on the margin of a sheet of water. The arms rest against a shattered oak-tree. A local view—one of Darlington—also appears on the book-plate of George Allen, who describes himself as of that town.
Collectors are wont to reckon as the most interesting example of a view book-plate the vignette of Horace Walpole's house at Strawberry Hill, with his arms hanging on a shield from a withered tree. Mr. Wheatley, however, who is inclined to attribute the design to Walpole's friend, Bentley, has suggested (Bibliographica, vol. iii. p. 88) that the vignette was never used as a book-plate, but was exclusively reserved as a kind of printer's device for the adornment of the books printed at the Strawberry Hill Press. Sir Wollaston Franks has four varieties of the vignette, one engraved on wood and three on copper; and I have certainly seen at least one of them doing duty as a book-plate, but whether rightfully or not it is impossible to say.
Modern examples of View book-plates were, till quite recently, rare. One of the quaintest is furnished by that used by the late Dr. Kendrick of Warrington, and engraved for him in 1855; here we have a view of the doctor's town as it was in 1783 and a picture of a 'loyal Warrington Volunteer' of 1798. Quite a useful historical print!
Now let me say a word about the Picture book-plates on which the landscape is a fancy one. Prominent amongst these is that of 'Gilbert Wakefield,' which shows us a pretty scene: a stag stoops to drink from a rivulet that trickles through a wood. Very much later in date is a charming vignette, representing a rock, over which a stream of water trickles and sparkles as it falls into a pool below. Ferns and flags grow in the pool. The book-plate belonged to Joseph Priestley, and on that account we mention it after Wakefield's. Priestley was quite as bitter a Dissenter and as ardent a controversialist as Gilbert Wakefield, though it is more as a man of science that most people remember him. His name is so intimately associated with Birmingham politics at the time of the French Revolution, that the fact of his book-plate being engraved by a Birmingham man—it is signed 'Allen sct. Birmingm'—becomes the more interesting, and enables us to assign the engraving to a marked period in the owner's life—the time when his friendship with Lord Shelburne began to cool, and when, settling down at Birmingham, he began work on his History of the Corruptions of Christianity. James Yates, who edited Priestley's collected works, used the same book-plate, after altering the name upon it.
Another delightfully rural scene is depicted on the book-plate of 'John Hews Bransby.' His motto reads, Breve et irreparabile tempus; and he shows a rustic landscape, in which the figures represented have evidently learnt the truth of the assertion. The sower scatters seed, the ploughboy is engaged with his team,—all are making the most of their time, yet there is no sign of hurry or bustle. The day is fine, but clouds hover in the sky. On the left, a cottage nestles in the trees, and the smoke from its chimney tells of the housewife within preparing a meal for those who are earning it by their labour without.
So much for landscapes having direct reference to the book-plates on which they appear. Often, however, the landscape is purely a fancy one, as that on the book-plate of Gregory Louis Way. A river flows through fields, and beside it sits an armour-coated knight, who is either wearied with the fight, or bowed down by the fickleness of his lady. His shield rests beside him, and on it are depicted the arms of Way. The moon sheds upon the scene what light she is able, but the sky is overcast and stormy.
I must not close this chapter without reference to the book-plates produced by Thomas Bewick, many of which are familiar enough—as examples of Bewick's art—to those who know little about book-plates, and do not collect them. His are certainly for the most part 'Landscape' plates; but I do not know whether to class them with these examples of 'View' book-plates, or with those which I have christened 'Fancy Landscapes.' They were chiefly engraved for northern book-owners, but one can hardly say that the particular bit of scenery on each—though, doubtless, in most cases drawn from nature—has any special applicability to the owner. I will therefore speak here of Bewick's book-plates as forming a class by themselves. His first was prepared for Thomas Bell, and is dated 1797, so that it is inaccurate to speak of Bewick as the originator of the Landscape style in book-plates; he found the style already followed by many engravers, and his taste and skill brought it to perfection. The Bell plate is not uncommon, as the books for which it was engraved were sold in 1860. It shows, in the foreground of a landscape, an oval shield, inscribed 'T. Bell, 1797,' and resting against a decayed tree. In the distance are trees, and above them rises the tower of St. Nicholas's Church, in Newcastle—a favourite object with Bewick. It is also introduced by Ralph Beilby into the book-plate of Brand, the antiquary.
Out of the hundred or so book-plates designed or engraved by Bewick, it is difficult to know which to select for comment; but from the interest which attaches to its owner, that of Robert Southey (figured on p. 111) suggests itself. Here we have a rock, thickly crowned with shrubbery, from which a stream of water falls into a brook below. Against the face of the rock leans an armorial shield, bearing the Southey arms—a chevron between three crosses crosslet. On the ground to the right of the shield, and in contact with it, is the helmet, supporting on a wreath the crest—an arm vested and couped at the elbow, holding in the hand a crossed crosslet. Across the sinister chief corner of the shield, and trailing thence to the ground, is thrown the riband bearing the motto In labore quies. The date of the book-plate is probably about 1810.
Not only Newcastle itself, but the whole line of country along the river thence to Tynemouth, seems to have been Bewick's sketching ground, and many of his sketches he used for book-plates. Jarrow and Tynemouth itself were particularly favourite spots. Of the latter place his views were mostly taken from the sea, and afford us delightful pictures of water, shipping, and the ruins of Tynemouth Priory. The book-plate of 'Charles Charlton, M.D.,' is one of these.
A great many of the ordinary bits of landscape
which Bewick used for book-plates he afterwards
utilised as tailpieces for various books illustrated
by him. The book-plate of the 'Rev. H. Cotes,
Vicar of Bedlington, 1802,' which shows us the
reverend gentleman busily engaged in fishing, doubtless
a favourite sport with him, is an instance of this
diverted use; but in this case we know the history
of the plate. Mr. Cotes had practically edited the
artist's second volume of British Birds, and, as a
slight return, Bewick prepared for him the book-plate
in question; but, owing to a subsequent quarrel,
 the artist never gave the parson the block, turning it instead to his own account.
There are a great many more copper-plate book-plates by Bewick than is generally supposed. One of the most elaborate is that of 'Buddle Atkinson,' which represents a bubbling trout-stream, into which an angler casts his line: in the foreground is a crest enclosed in a shield. Other copper-plate work by Bewick is found in the book-plates of 'Edward Moises, A.M.'—a shield of arms, with books, pens, artists' tools of all kinds, and musical instruments; 'James Charlton' and 'A. Clapham'—Tyneside scenes; 'J. H. Affleck, Newcastle-upon-Tyne'—a shield of arms, in the midst of flowers and foliage; 'Thos Carr, Newcastle'—a spring of water flowing from a rock; and some few others.
Examples of the more unusual designs in Bewick's book-plates, i.e. those in which scenery is not depicted, are found in the book-plates of 'John Anderson, St. Petersburgh'—a sportsman on horseback, which was afterwards utilised as a vignette in British Birds; 'Mr. Bigges'—a figure of liberty; 'Alexr Doeg, shipbuilder'—a just-completed ship, still standing on the stocks; and several others, which simply show the shield of arms and owner's name.
One reason why Bewick was so successful as an engraver of book-plates lay in the fact that his ability was most conspicuous in a small design. The work of such men as Hogarth or Bartolozzi seems cramped when it appears on the small scale which alone a book-plate can admit; but with Bewick, the smaller the size of the scene he desired to represent, the greater was his skill in introducing into it both originality and beauty.
Fastened to the cover of an old Latin vocabulary was discovered the most ancient of these book-plates. It is printed from a wood-block, and is rough in execution. It shows us a hedgehog carrying a flower in its mouth, trampling over fallen leaves; above is the inscription, 'Hans Igler, das dich ein igel kuss.'
Following, in point of date, closely after this
curious book-plate, comes a small woodcut, representing
an angel who holds a shield, on which is displayed
a black ox, with a ring passed through its nose—the
arms of the Brandenburg family. A written inscription
beneath it states that the book for which it
was intended, and in which it was found, belonged to
Hildebrande Brandenburg of Biberach, who presented
 it to the Carthusian monastery of Buxheim, of which he was a monk. This book-plate, which is rudely coloured, is struck off on scraps of paper, printed on one side; a curious illustration of the then scarcity of that material. Oddly enough, another very early book-plate—probably of almost the same date as the last—was also found in a book which belonged to the same monastery, and which had been given to it by Wilhelm von Zell. This book-plate also is anonymous; but the volumes that contained it, as in the last case, bear a written inscription, recording the fact that they belonged to the monastery in question, and were the gift of the person whose arms are figured in the book-plate inserted.
From the fact that two of the three known fifteenth century book-plates are connected with the monastery at Buxheim, it would seem as if the use of a book-plate commended itself to the librarian of that monastery, who commemorated the gifts of volumes by a book-plate bearing the donor's arms.
In the sixteenth century, German book-plates became numerous, and of their beauty there can be no doubt. There is a difficulty, however, in accepting many of the early armorial woodcuts which one finds; and it is this: Suppose the example is no longer doing duty in a volume as a book-plate, there is really no means of being assured that the cut of arms is a book-plate at all; for very many of these plates are void of any inscription, save perhaps a text or motto. Some of these book-plates are probably the work, or from the design, of Albert Dürer. He certainly produced some undoubted examples; the earliest, actually dated, in 1516. This is the Ebner book-plate (see p. 119). The inscription on this leaves us in no doubt as to its intended use: 'Liber Hieronimi Ebner, 1516.'
Eight years after completing the Ebner plate, Dürer engraved on copper a Portrait plate of Bilibald Pirckheimer, a Nuremberg jurist of some note, who became councillor to Maximilian I., and was the owner of a library, whose subsequent history has been told in 'Books about Books' by Mr. Elton in his Great Book Collectors. Now this Portrait plate, which is dated 1524, was undoubtedly used by Pirckheimer as his book-plate. There are plenty of known instances in which it may be still found fastened in at the end of a volume. Whether or not it was intended for any other purpose than that which I have here mentioned, we cannot say, for it bears no inscription expressing its use. However—very possibly at the same date—Dürer designed for Pirckheimer what was, without doubt, intended for a book-plate, since it bears the inscription, 'Liber Bilibaldi Pirckheimer.' This is, in many instances, found on the front cover of volumes which also contain the book-plate last described fastened on the back cover.
It is a very striking book-plate. A strangely large helmet, on which is placed an equally large crest, surmounts a pair of shields. The dexter one bears the arms of Pirckheimer—a birke or birch-tree; whilst the sinister bears those of his wife, Margretha Rieterin—a crowned mermaid with two tails, each of which she holds in her hands. Pirckheimer's arms show the curious punning heraldry of the time, the birke being, no doubt, a playful allusion to the jurist's name. Clasping the helmet are two angels. On either side of the shield is a large cornucopia apparently filled with grapes and vine leaves, and amongst these stands a smaller angel holding one end of a heavy festoon, the other end of which is fastened to a ram's head, the centre of the design. Angels, apparently at play, are also represented below the shield. Examples of this plate are not uncommon in English collections, many of Pirckheimer's books having passed into the Library of the Royal Society, and some of these having been sold as duplicates, when they were bought up by collectors for the sake of the book-plate. Sir Wollaston Franks points out to me that there is yet a third variety of Pirckheimer's book-plate, which is signed 'J. B. 1529,' and is not the work of Dürer.
The book-plate of Hector Pömer, provost of the
Church of St. Laurence at Nuremberg, dated in 1525,
is also ascribed to Dürer, though it is signed with the
initials 'R. A.' This signature is probably that of
the artist who cut the design upon wood, for it is
now maintained that Dürer himself only made the
drawings for the woodcuts known as his; the
 mechanical operation of cutting being handed over to assistants. The Pömer plate is the earliest dated book-plate which bears a signature either of the designer or the engraver.
The size of this really fine example of early wood-engraving is 13 inches by 9. On the principal shield in the design we have what are no doubt the arms of the monastery, the gridiron of St. Laurence, quartering those of Pömer. The gridiron is on the first and fourth quarters, whilst the second and third contain what is heraldically described as per bend sable (?) and argent, three bendlets of the first. We say 'sable,' because the dark mass which the artist has here shown is probably meant to represent this, but any dark colour may have been intended, as I have already endeavoured to show (see p. 23). These last arms are very probably Pömer's, for, in one of the small shields which appear in each of the four corners of the design, they occur again—the other three shields being most likely filled with arms quartered by the Pömer family. The helmet surmounting the principal shield is without wreath, and the crest is a demi-nun. The motto, 'To the pure all things are pure,' is given, as in other of Dürer's book-plates, in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. In charge of the shield stands St. Laurence himself, dressed in a monk's garb, and holding in his right hand the instrument of his martyrdom, and in his left the palm of martyrdom. The nimbus appears around his head. The beauty of the design is apparent at the first glance, and it becomes more apparent as we look into it.
Dr. Hector Pömer was the last Prior of the Abbey of St. Laurence in Nuremberg. To him Erasmus gave a copy of his edition of the works of St. Ambrose, issued from Froben's press. That very copy is in the possession of the Rev. H. W. Pereira, and in each of the two thick volumes in which the work is contained is Pömer's book-plate. One is struck with the exquisite detail and treatment; as Mr. Pereira says, in describing the plate, the expression and figure of St. Laurence is full of sweetness and tender pathos.
The list of 'Armories' by Dürer, as printed by Bartsch in vol. vii. of the Peintre-Graveur, gives us some twenty examples, any of which may have been used as book-plates. Some idea as to whether or not an early armorial plate is really a book-plate may, however, be gained by taking its measurement. A very large engraving should be regarded with suspicion, though not necessarily rejected as a book-plate on account of its size. Sir Wollaston Franks possesses a magnificent book-plate, measuring no less than 14 × 10 inches, which is at this moment still fulfilling its original functions. This is certainly the largest example yet discovered. It has been known to collectors for some time in what was believed to be a perfect state, but the copy just mentioned shows that what was thought to be the whole was in reality only a portion of the design, since it lacked the elaborate framework, which is richly embellished with weapons and ensigns, as well as with musical instruments of every description. This book-plate belonged to Count Maximilian Louis Breiner, a distinguished official of the Emperor of Austria in Lombardy. A striking feature in it is the introduction, above the arms of the owner of the plate, of those of Austria, surmounted by the imperial crown, supported by a couple of cherubs. Both the design and engraving are the work of Giuseppe Petrarca, who probably produced them during the closing years of the seventeenth century.
Quite in a distinct style from the other German
book-plates mentioned is that figured opposite, which
may be dated about the year 1530. It is interesting
from its owner, one Paulus Speratus, an ardent
preacher of the Lutheran doctrine at Augsburg,
Württemberg, Salzburg, and Vienna, and afterwards
Bishop of Pomerania, who proved himself ready to
undergo suffering in the cause he imagined to be
right. He was born in 1484, and died in 1554. The
shading in the arms is very peculiar, expressing as it
does, on the first and fourth divisions of the shield,
argent and vert at a period, as we have seen, long
anterior to the use of lines or dots to express the
metals or tinctures in heraldry. An explanation is
no doubt to be found in the fact that the artist
only intended to represent some light colour in
the shaded parts, in the same way as in the
second and third divisions of the shield he desired
 in the thickly inked parts to represent sable. The book-plate is now preserved in a copy of the Psalms translated into Russian by Francis Skorina, and printed at Wilna about the year 1525. The peculiar inscription on this book-plate is referred to on p. 166.
We have spoken somewhat fully about these early examples of German book-plates, because, both from the fact that they are the earliest known to us, and that several of them are the designs of Albert Dürer, they have a very special interest. Space precludes the possibility of alluding in detail to later German examples, though they are, many of them, exceedingly beautiful specimens of the engraver's art, as indeed they may well be considering the men who engraved them—Lucas Cranach, Jost Amman, Hans Troschel, Wolffgang Kilian of Augsburg, and the uncle and nephew Giles and Joseph Sadeler.
Let me, however, speak very tersely of a few examples of the productions of these artists, in order that the reader's attention may be attracted should he come across a specimen of their work.
Two woodcuts by Lucas Cranach have certainly been used as book-plates, though not designed by the artist as such, for they both appear among other cuts in a work illustrated by him. Sir Wollaston Franks possesses both varieties. In one, we have a half-length figure of St. Paul. He is seated, and reading a book, the lines of which he follows with his finger. His head is surrounded with the nimbus, whilst a shaggy beard nearly covers the face. The right hand holds a double sword with the points upwards; beneath this is the shield of the Elector of Saxony. Above the upper line of the plate is an inscription, showing that it was intended to mark the volumes belonging to the 'preachership' ('Predicatur') at Oringen. The other woodcut by Cranach is very similar in design, but the figure represented is that of St. Peter, and it bears the inscription 'Stadt Orngau.'
It is worth remarking that in one instance at least, on removing the book-plate portraying St. Paul, a smaller hand-drawn book-plate was found, which consisted of a shield half red and half white, and upon it a key, placed in pale, countercharged. There is no inscription on this book-plate, nor is there any margin shown—the paper being cut close to the design.
Jost Amman is another German artist who leaves us in a difficulty as to deciding as to which of his many armorial engravings were really intended for book-plates. One undoubted book-plate by him, however, exists, and this was designed for a member of the Nuremberg family of Holzschuher—'Wooden shoes.' Wooden shoes, or sabots, appear as charges on the shield, and afford another example of the punning heraldry which was then fashionable in Germany. This is a fine book-plate, engraved on copper, and signed 'J. A.'; its size, 73/4 × 61/8 inches. The shield is supported by two angels and a lion.
Hans Sibmacher or Siebmacher was another Nuremberg engraver; he worked there quite at the close of the sixteenth century and in the early years of the seventeenth. He also executed a book-plate for a member of the Holzschuher family. This is a more elaborate piece of work than Amman's, though smaller (41/2 × 33/8 inches). Its characteristic feature is a closely-woven wreath of leaves, with clusters of fruit and ornaments introduced at intervals. Seated on this wreath, at the top of the design, are two reading cherubs clothed in 'nature unadorned.' Below the design is an oblong and indented bracket.
Hans Troschel's work as a book-plate engraver is illustrated by the book-plate of yet another Nuremberg man—John William Kress of Kressenstain, dated in 1619. In this we are shown a shield set in an oval wreath of leaf-work. The helmet which surmounts it displays some elaborate work; finely-cut mantling extends itself from this on the right side and on the left; and above is a cornet, which encircles the crest. The whole is enclosed in a circle of leaves and berries, somewhat similar to that just described in speaking of Sibmacher's work; but outside this, at each of the four corners of the plate, are small shields surmounted by helmets and crests, and containing the arms of the four families from which he immediately descended, their names being given. Nestling amongst the mantling on the left side of the design is a distinct shield, on which are depicted the arms of Susanna Koler, wife of the owner of the book-plate.
Wolffgang Kilian (born 1581, died 1662) was an Augsburg man, and the book-plate which bears his signature and the date, 1635, is that of an Augsburg church dignitary—Sebastian Myller, suffragan-bishop of Adramytteum, and Canon of Augsburg. In its ornamentation it bears some resemblance to an English Jacobean book-plate. Above the shield is the head of a cherub, on which the episcopal mitre is made to rest in a somewhat comical manner; the cherub's wings protrude over the top of, and into, the shield. The inscription is contained in an oval band; outside this is an oval leaf-wreath, and outside this again an indented frame. Wolffgang was a younger brother of the more noted Lucas Kilian. Both brothers studied at Venice, and were pupils of their stepfather, Dominick Custos, who was himself a designer of book-plates.
Of Giles Sadeler's work—the Count of Rosenberg's book-plate—I shall speak directly (pp. 130, 131). An example of his nephew's engraving is afforded by the book-plate of Ferdinand von Hagenau, dated in 1646.
In later times—the eighteenth century—other distinguished German artists 'stooped' to book-plate engraving. Amongst them was Daniel Nicholas Chodowiecki (the son of a Dantzig drug merchant), born in 1726. Chodowiecki is best known as a book-illustrator, in which his great knowledge of costume—at a period when the point was little studied—stood him in good stead. His book-plates are probably few; only four or five are known. One of the most elaborate in design is that of a German doctor of medicine, dated in 1792, nine years before the artist's death.
In this example much of the sensational style of the generality of his work manifests itself. 'The book-plate,' says Lord De Tabley, 'in its motive reminds us much of those allegoric framed certificates of membership which various sick clubs and benefit societies accord to their members at the present day. In the foreground, Æsculapius is pushing out a skeleton draped in a long white sheet, with a scythe across its shoulder. The god is sturdily applying his serpent-twined staff to the somewhat too solid back of the terrible phantom. Behind, beneath a kind of pavilion, lies a sick person in bed; his hands are upraised in silent thankfulness as he watches the prowess of the healing deity.' The book-plate was engraved for Dr. C. S. Schintz. Besides this, Chodowiecki engraved, about 1770, a book-plate for himself, and, about ten years later, one for the French seminary at Berlin.
The book-plate of Dr. Schintz calls to mind a
somewhat earlier German example, engraved by
Boetius from a design by Wernerin (whose signature
appears on some varieties of the plate), about the
middle of the last century. It is figured opposite,
and is perhaps most gloomy book-plate that it
 ever entered into the mind of man to conceive. A skeleton sits upon a coffin, or a coffin-shaped tomb, holding in his right hand a pair of scales, and in his left a scythe; in the lighter balance of the scales is a scroll, bearing the inscription, 'Dan. v. 25, Mene Tekel'; in the background we see monuments, Lombardy poplars or cypress-trees, and a distant landscape. This uninviting picture is contained in a frame, inscribed, in a medallion above, 'E Bibliotheca Woogiana,' and below, Nominor â libra: libratus ne levis unquam Inveniar, præsta pondere, Christe, tuo,—a motto in which the owner makes a play upon the derivation of his name from wage, the German for a weight or balance, and asks the bestowal of divine weight on the day of soul-weighing.
As compared with German book-plates, those of other countries are sadly deficient in artistic composition. The former, particularly examples of the seventeenth century, are ornate and well designed.
Take, for instance, the really magnificent book-plate of Peter Vok, Ursinus, Count of Rosenberg, dated '1609.' It is engraved on copper, and measures 10 inches by 6. In a central circular medallion, 32/3 inches in diameter, is depicted the owner, arrayed in armour, and seated on a richly caparisoned war-horse, plumed, and going at full speed across a landscape of hillocks. On his breastplate is an escutcheon bearing his arms; a knight's sword is in his hand. Round the margin of the medallion runs a wreath of roses. Platforms come out on either side of the medallion, and on each of these there stands a figure about 5 inches in height; the one on the left is a female symbolical form, clad in flowing drapery, and holding in one hand the cup of the Eucharist, and in the other a cross. A somewhat similar figure stands on the right, holding in her hand a tablet, inscribed Verbum Domini manet in eternum.
The medallion rests upon two bears—an allusion, of course, to the family name of the owner, Ursinus—crouching between the two female figures described. The face of the altar-like platform below is divided into one central and two lateral compartments, of which the side ones project forward. On the right lateral slab is an escutcheon, charged simply with the Rosenberg rose; whilst on the left we see the family arms, as on the breastplate, but surmounted with an ermine-faced crown. On the central slab is a skull resting on two shin-bones.
Reaching across the upper portion of the design is an oblong tablet, with indented shelly scroll-work edges, and a background border of large full-blown roses, with thorny stems. With the inscription, which is appropriately pompous, I need not trouble the reader; but I have thought it worth while to give here (following Lord De Tabley's example, and using sometimes his words) a very full verbal picture of this truly magnificent book-plate, in order that the pitch of elaboration to which a German book-plate can be carried may be understood. Suffice it to add that this work of art was engraved by Giles Sadeler, the Antwerp-born engraver, who, after studying in Italy, was invited by the Emperor Rudolph II. to enter his service at Prague; in short, to become what he styles himself in his signature to this book-plate—'Engraver to His Imperial Majesty.'
Less elaborate, yet very beautifully engraved, are the book-plates used in the Electoral Library of the Dukes of Bavaria at Munich. On one, dated in 1618, the largest variety of which is 7 inches high and 5½ broad, we have the arms of the Duchy enclosed by the collar of the Golden Fleece. Winged Caryatides support the Electoral crown, whilst below is an arabesqued platform, on which is the inscription: Ex Bibliotheca Serenissimorum Utriusque Bavariæ Ducum, 1618. A smaller variety of this plate is figured opposite. Some twenty years later, a still larger and more ornate book-plate (10 × 7 inches) was designed for use in the same library. Here the arms are in an oval frame, surrounded by the Golden Fleece; on the right and left are inverted cornucopiæ, and the crown is held aloft by four cherubs. All the book-plates of this library exist in a great variety of design, and nearly all the varieties are found in different sizes.
These examples are typical of many other German
book-plates; the conception of the design is excellent,
and its working out is equally good. In later
times, the work on book-plates perhaps deteriorated,
because it fell, to a large extent, into inferior
 hands. Yet Germany can show several very creditable examples in the eighteenth century. Some of those which give the view of a library interior are decidedly pleasing; they appear soon after the commencement of the century. The libraries represented have usually one or more mythological inmates; but, in one instance, the owner is in possession, and is seen hard at work amongst his volumes.
In concluding this chapter, it may be noted that examples of name-tickets are found in Germany as in other countries. Perhaps the earliest is one (first noticed, I believe, by Mr. Weale) in a copy at the Bodleian Library of a German Psalter printed at Augsburg in 1498. This reads, 'Sum Magistri Georgii Mayrii Monacencis' [i.e. of Munich], with the motto, 'Melius est pro veritate pati supplicium, quam pro adulatione consequi beneficium.' The same inscription has been written in ink on the title-page, with the added date 1513, and afterwards—no doubt a few years later when the label was printed and placed in the book—crossed through.
The most complete work on German book-plates that has yet made its appearance is Herr Warnecke's Die Deutschen Bücherzeichen, Berlin, 1890; but a work properly classifying the different styles of German book-plates, and affixing to these styles covering dates, has yet to be written.
Since the appearance of M. Poulet Malassis's work, book-plate collecting in France, as well as in other countries, has been vigorously carried on, and earlier examples of dated French book-plates than those then known have come to light. The most ancient of these is one dated 1574 (the same year, it will be noted, as that of the plate of Sir Nicholas Bacon), but it is simply typographical, having no kind of design whatever. It reads: 'Ex bibliotheca Caroli Albosii E. Eduensis. Ex labore quies.' No Armorial book-plate bearing an engraved date appears in France until thirty-seven years later, when we, at last, meet with that of Alexandre Bouchart, Vicomte de Blosséville, engraved by Léonard Gaultier, and, in the copy in the Bibliothèque Nationale, dated 1611. A variety of this book-plate, undated, unsigned, and probably not by the same hand, exists in the collection of Sir Wollaston Franks. The field in the Bouchart arms is gules, though the lines shown in the engraving of the undated plate would, according to the present system, represent it as azure (see remarks on this point at p. 22). After the Bouchart book-plate, we have, in 1613, that of Melchior de la Vallée, Canon of Nancy, given by M. Poulet Malassis as dated in 1611, and then, in 1644, a roughly-executed anonymous book-plate signed 'Raigniauld Riomi, 1644.' The arms are untinctured, and leaflike mantling falling from the helmet surrounds the shield; there is no crest. Raigniauld—or, as the modern spelling of the name is, Regnault—is not a known engraver. Riomi is an old-fashioned town of Auvergne.
Other French book-plates of the seventeenth century, both dated and undated, exist; but France is undeniably behind Germany both in the number of her early book-plates and in their beauty; for instance, we do not in France find those numerous book-plates of ecclesiastical corporations which so much swell the list of early German examples. The subject of French ecclesiastical book-plates has, indeed, received special treatment from Father Ingold, himself a French ecclesiastic; and he is compelled to admit that such book-plates are not numerous and not ancient. The old way seems to have been for the monastic official in charge of the convent library to inscribe each volume with some appropriate inscription. These are in themselves interesting; but book-plate lovers must regret the existence of the fashion. The earliest French ecclesiastical book-plates belong to the middle of the eighteenth century, and, like the 1574 example already noticed, they are mere typographical labels, possessing little more artistic merit than is usually displayed in a post-mark.
With regard, however, to the book-plates of ecclesiastical individuals, the case is different; some of them engraved during the seventeenth century are ambitious and interesting. A particularly quaint example is found in the book-plate which an Annecy engraver, named Sinton, executed for Charles de Sales, the energetic labourer in the cause of religion, brother of St. Francis de Sales, and his successor in the Bishopric of Annecy. Lord De Tabley thus describes the book-plate:—'The family arms are shown in a shield, which appears very gigantic, in a frame of heavy curves, which is set in the centre of a huge sideboard-like monumental structure. On the top ledges of this, two full-grown, long-skirted angels, seated right and left, uphold the episcopal hat (with its usual knotted ropes and tassels) in air above the escutcheon.
'At the base of the structure, to the right, appears a figure of St. Francis de Sales, seated, holding an olive branch in one hand, while beneath his other arm is a profuse cluster of fruit. To the left, also seated, is a portrait of St. Jane Frances De Chantal, holding a palm-branch, also with fruit beneath her other arm. Each portrait is realistic, and not in the least flattered. Between them is a medallion bearing the crossed papal keys.'
The probable date of this very curious book-plate is 1642. It appears earlier, but this may be accounted for by the fact that the work is provincial. Students will do well to remember that provincially executed book-plates, English or foreign, are often misleading in this respect.
There is a somewhat elaborate book-plate, engraved in several sizes, and dated in 1692, which introduces the cardinal's hat, mitre, and crozier, and which was prepared to place in the books given by Dr. Peter Daniel Huet to the Paris Jesuits. Huet is himself an interesting figure in French literature. In 1670 he was made tutor to the Dauphin, and whilst so employed he assisted in bringing out the sixty-two volumes of classics, specially prepared for his pupil, known as the Delphin edition. He became Bishop of Avranches in 1689, but ten years after resigned his see in order to devote the remainder of his life to literature, which he did, completing amongst other voluminous works a defence of the doctrine of Christianity.
It is from their possessors that French book-plates
derive their chief interest; and these possessors are
 for the most part persons who lived at a late date. Amongst the few early celebrities is the soldier-poet of France, Francis de Malherbe, of whom it has been said that he was as lax in morals as he was rigid in his zeal for the purity of his native language. His book-plate is figured at p. 25, and is interesting as showing that no reliance can be placed on lines, apparently expressing the colour of the shield in early Armorial book-plates (see pp. 21-22). He died in 1628. The books containing this very pleasing book-plate passed after De Malherbe's death to Vincent de Boyer, in whose family they remained till the Revolution; after that they were dispersed.
Coming to later times, we find a charming book-plate, engraved by Le Grand for the unfortunate Countess Dubarry. Her books were well chosen and well bound, but they were few in number; hence her book-plate is rare, but it may be seen in the library at Versailles, where most of her books are preserved. Though she could not read, she seems to have felt in duty bound to follow 'La Pompadour' in getting together a library to amuse her royal master.
From the book-plate of the countess—a woman who, after aiding in the general degradation of the French court, was willing to risk her life for those whose downfall she had in a measure assisted in bringing about—we may appropriately turn to that of Cardinal Maury; the inscription on which reads: Bibliothèque particulière de son Eminence Mgr. le Cardinal Maury. This book-plate calls to mind a famous figure in the French Revolution,—a fervent preacher, the spokesman of his fellow-clergy before those who were but little inclined to listen to argument; the calm-minded man, who would turn round and give a witty retort to a cry raised by the mob which followed through the streets of Paris, clamouring for his blood.
The mention of these names leads one naturally to speak generally of book-plates engraved about the time of the French Revolution,—a period which is immortalised in a singular manner on French book-plates. M. Poulet Malassis remarks that many a noble library owner took good care to alter his book-plate in those troublesome times, and to replace the coronet which had surmounted the family escutcheon by the Phrygian cap of liberty. For instance, the Viscount de Borbon-Busset in 1793 changed his Armorial book-plate to a simple inscription—in which he calls himself 'Citoyen François'—surrounded by a leafy garland. The same fashion is exemplified even in clerical examples. Father le Mercier in his first book-plate displays the coronet which he either was, or at least considered himself to be, entitled to bear; but between 1789 and 1792 we find a second example of his book-plate, with a simple decorative finish to the top of the design in lieu of the coronet. At that time there was in France, as Mr. Walter Hamilton puts it, 'an awkward fashion of putting heads accustomed to coronets under the falling knife of the guillotine.'
As far as the classifying of the leading styles in French book-plates goes, M. Poulet Malassis does not really help us much; and we cannot but hope that ere long some enterprising French collector will undertake the task. There is certainly, as M. Poulet Malassis observes, a resemblance—as the reader will see by turning back to the illustration of De Malherbe's book-plate—between the style of the first French book-plates and that of the first English; and it is noteworthy that the style disappeared in both countries much at the same time. Again, French book-plates of 1720-1730 bear distinct traces of what we have called 'Jacobean' work in speaking of English examples.
The French Rococo book-plate is really analogous to our 'Chippendale.' There is, however, a greater variety both of subject and treatment in each French style than one finds in England.
Allegory is, as I stated in Chapter iv., more frequent and more wild in French book-plates than in those of England. The follies of his own countrymen in this respect are fully recognised by M. Poulet Malassis, who, in most amusing style, deals with some of the more pronounced examples; as for instance the rollicking allegory displayed in the book-plate of M. Hénault, President of the French Academy. The date of this remarkable production may be fixed at 1750; it is designed by Boucher and engraved by Count de Caylus, and we see that Minerva has honoured M. le Président by placing his family arms upon her shield. Very wonderful, too, is the book-plate of the Abbé de Gricourt, whose arms are borne heavenwards by a vast company of angels. This example, which is approximately of the same date as the last, is the work of the Abbé's brother, A. T. Ceys, who was himself an ecclesiastic. Often the allegory displayed has allusion to the owner's business or his tastes, as on that of M. Gueullette, a French novelist and dramatist of the first half of the last century, the popularity of whose writings, although those writings are numerous, has not outlived him. This book-plate is the work of H. Becat, and is inscribed after the Pirckheimer manner, 'Ex libris Thomæ Gueullette et Amicorum.' The family arms are supported by an Italian harlequin, a Chinese mandarin, a Cyclops holding an infant, and a Tartar. Now the presence of these strange inhabitants of a book-plate is accounted for thus. Gueullette wrote farces for the Paris stage, and he also wrote 'Contes Tartares' and 'Les Aventures du Mandarin Fum Hoam.' Below the shield water pours from a satyr's mouth into a basin containing a mermaid, and above soars Cupid in clouds, bearing aloft a scroll and motto. This, says 'W. H.' in the Ex Libris Journal, is probably one of the earliest book-plates on which appear allegoric allusions to its owner's tastes and literary labours.
The Typical or Personal book-plate is also found in France in that of the Chevalier de Fleurieu, described by Mr. Egerton Castle. During the ancien régime he was a naval officer, who, whilst still low in the service, was intrusted with the testing of various new marine appliances. On the book-plate we get the bird's-eye view of an island, on which are strewn the said marine appliances, and behind them stands the Chevalier's coat of arms.
A recent writer on French book-plates, M. Henri Bouchot, goes so far as to think a book-plate may be of service as exhibiting a man's character. It may be so with regard to Frenchmen and French book-plates, but if this principle of argument be applied to English book-plates, all I can say is, that the possessors of English book-plates in the closing years of the seventeenth century and the opening years of the eighteenth must have been singularly alike in their personal characteristics!
The 'Library Interior' book-plate is found in
France as early as 1718, in an anonymous book-plate
described by Mr. Walter Hamilton in the Book Worm
for May 1892. It shows us, in the background of a
library, two men working a printing-press. In the
foreground are five little winged cupids at play with
books and mathematical instruments, whilst a female
figure, representing peace and plenty, appears seated
on what Mr. Hamilton conjectures to be a Pegasus.
The engraving is by Bernard Picart, an eminent engraver,
who, though a Frenchman by birth, settled
at Amsterdam in 1710 (he died in 1733) and was
evidently much influenced by the then prevailing
style in Dutch art. He executed another very beautiful
'Library Interior' plate (figured opposite) for
 Amadeus Lulin, a Savoyard. Here we have the interior of a French library of the period, with a curved roof. At the end of the room is a window and beneath this a Louis XV. table. In the foreground the same cupids 'play with books,' which, by the way, they are treating exceedingly badly. Caryatides at the sides form a frame for the plate. On the breast of one is a sun; the other holds a heart. A globe surmounts each. The arms are shown in the centre of the design at the top.
Other examples of French book-plates of this kind are found quite late in the century, and any one who feels specially interested in the subject of these, and indeed of 'Library Interior' book-plates as a whole, will do well to study Sir Arthur Vicars's valuable treatise and lists in the pages of the Ex Libris Journal.
About the book-plates of countries other than Germany and France there is not very much to be said. Sweden has given us an insight into its native book-plates. Herr Carlander tells us that the earliest date on a Swedish book-plate is 1595, which occurs on that belonging to Thure Bielke, a senator who, having mixed himself up in political strife, lost his head by a stroke of the executioner's axe five years later. Senator Bielke was evidently far in advance of his fellow-countrymen as regards such matters; for no other dated Swedish book-plate occurs for a considerable number of years. In the eighteenth century, however, Swedish book-plates became much more numerous, and some of the more prominent native engravers appear to have worked upon them, producing a few singularly fine examples in the Rococo style; library interiors also appear occasionally on Swedish book-plates. One of the most interesting late examples of book-plates of this country is that of King Charles XIII. On this we have the royal arms of Sweden, surmounted by the collar and cross of the order of the Seraphim, and the king's motto, 'Folkets wäl mint hogsta lag'—'The people's weal my highest law.' I imagine that this book-plate may be placed at the close of the last century. Charles died in 1818.
Swiss book-plates are numerous and early. The first dated example occurs in 1607. Their general style is not pleasing, since it presents a stiffness and awkwardness in the arrangement of the decoration. Italian book-plates, again, possess few remarkable features. Perhaps their leading characteristic is the extreme coldness of their engravers' touch. One of these engravers was, however, a famous man, whose work deserves more than passing mention. I mean Raphael Morghen, the Florentine artist, who died in 1833, and who is said to have been able to engrave a plate when he was only twelve years old. It is curious to turn from his large engravings of the chief works in the gallery at Florence, to the unusually small work which enables us to reckon him here among the engravers of book-plates. This is a representation of the arms of the Duke of Cassano Serra, framed in a shelly frame, somewhat 'Chippendale' in appearance, but with the stiff, heavy 'Jacobean' wreath clinging closely to it. In a scroll which winds in and out of this wreath is the inscription: 'Il Duca Cassano Serra'; it is signed 'R. Morghen f[ecit].'
A careful investigation of the Vatican and other Italian libraries would probably lead to the discovery of some more papal book-plates. Sir Wollaston Franks tells me that amongst his numerous engravings of the papal arms, there is only one which he feels sure was ever used as a book-plate. The late Sir George Dasent, in Notes and Queries, describes what he considers the book-plate of Maffeo Barberini, Urban VIII.; but he does not tell us what leads him to the belief that the engraving is really a book-plate.
About Spanish book-plates not much is yet known, and it seems likely that the majority of examples usually classed as Spanish were designed and executed in Flanders. The family of Bouttats—the original Bouttats had, says Walpole, twenty sons, of whom twelve became engravers—executed some of these book-plates. Amongst their work is one which Lord De Tabley styles 'a gloomy yet striking heraldic study'; it is signed 'P. B. Bouttats, sculp.,' and was probably engraved about the middle of the seventeenth century. It shows us the arms of a bishop surmounted by a plumed helmet, above which again is a bishop's hat, with pendent ropes and tassels; beneath is the motto: 'Por la Leÿ Bezerra ÿ por el Rëy.' A particularly fine example of Flemish heraldic art is furnished by the book-plate engraved and signed by J. Harrewyn, of Brussels, and dated 1723; the inscription gives us quite a biographical sketch: 'Messire Charles Bonaventure, Comte vander Noot, Baron de Schoonhoven et de Mares &ca; Conseiller de sa Mate Imple et Cathe au souverain Conseil de Brabant par patante du 9 Mars 1713, Reçu aux Etats nobles de Brabant, fils de Messire Rogier Wouthier, en son vivant Baron de Carloo &ca; et deputez ordinaire au dit corps de la noblesse des Etats de Brabant, et de Dame Anne Louÿse vander Gracht, née Baronne de Vrempde et d'Olmen, &ca.'
Our knowledge of Russian or Polish book-plates is chiefly derived from the illustrations shown in Monsieur S. J. Siennicki's work, entitled Les Elzevirs de la Bibliothèque de L'Université Impériale de Varsovie. Here we have some examples of the book-plates both of distinguished laymen and ecclesiastics. The probability is that none are of an early date, and they are certainly not conspicuous as works of art. The Russian style is perhaps the more distinct, though in many respects resembling the French, especially that shown in the more pronounced examples of the Louis XV. epoch.
The majority of book-plates which bear upon them American addresses, especially those belonging to the Southern States, many of which appear with the opening of the eighteenth century, are, without doubt, the work of engravers in the then mother-country. The library owners of Virginia sent to England for these book-plates, or their sons ordered them there, whilst paying the orthodox visit to one of the universities, and brought them home, either for their own use or for the use of their fathers. The northern book-plates, though much later, are mostly the work of artists born and bred, or at least settled, in America.
Foremost in interest and earliest in date of these American address-plates is that of William Penn, on which he styles himself 'Proprietor of Pensylvania.' This is designed in the ordinary 'Simple Armorial' style then common in England, and is dated in 1702. It is therefore subsequent to Penn's last visit to his 'plantation,' and cannot have been the work of an engraver on that side of the Atlantic. After his death, the inscription on this book-plate was altered, for his son's use, to 'Thomas Penn of Stoke Pogeis, in the county of Bucks, first proprietor of Pensilvania (sic).' The expression 'first' must here be evidently read as 'chief' or 'principal.' The fact of this alteration is important for collectors to note, as copies of William Penn's book-plate are frequently offered for sale, which—they are palpably recent impressions—are said to be struck from the original plate; a statement which, from the fact mentioned, may be at once discredited.
Next in point of date is a much more ornate book-plate, the inscription on which reads: 'William Byrd of Westover, in Virginia, Esquire.' It is an elaborate piece of work, excellently engraved in the style of the majority of English book-plates of 1720 or thereabouts, 'Simple Armorial,' but with indications of Jacobean decoration. William Byrd was born in Virginia, 28th March 1694; he was sent to England to be educated, and returned to his native country, having his mind 'stored with useful information to adorn its annals, his manners cultivated in royal Courts,' and with this book-plate, as a mark of his devotion to literature.
The famous Westover mansion, which may to-day be viewed from the James River, two hours' sail below Richmond, was for long the viceregal Court of Virginia. It was erected about the year 1678, by William Byrd, who left England when very young, and was father to his namesake, whose book-plate has just been described, the author of the famous Westover Manuscripts, compiled in 1732-33.
Some five years before the probable date of the Byrd book-plate, we have note of that belonging to 'Robert Elliston, gent., Comptrolr of His Majestie's Customs of New York in America MDCCXXV.' This book-plate is quite 'Jacobean' in style, and was no doubt executed in England, and sent out to the colony. It is too fine a piece of work to be the production of any colonial engraver of that date.
But the interest attaching to book-plates bearing upon them American addresses, and used by residents in America, is obviously not so great as that awakened by examples which were also actually produced in America,—examples which at once give us an insight into the state of the engraver's art, and of the artistic feeling then existing there.
The earliest of these is the book-plate of the 'Rev. John Williams,' first minister of Deerfield, Mass., dated in 1679. The next, in 1704, that of Thomas Prince, an American born and bred, who graduated from Harvard College in 1707, and paid his first visit to England in 1709, so that his book-plate may be taken as genuinely American. In design it resembles dozens of English examples,—a rough woodcut border of national emblems, within which is the inscription, 'Thomæ Prince Liber, Anno Domini, 1704'; the sequence of the words in the inscription, the reader will notice, being somewhat unusual. The Prince Library was bequeathed to a Society, which became known as 'the New England Library,' and which itself had a similar label prepared recording the gift. A part of the collection is now in the Boston Public Library.
But these two examples stand by themselves; it is not until the middle of the eighteenth century that any number of book-plates of American execution are found; after that, there are a really considerable quantity. Their style is not particularly distinctive; it is at first either Jacobean or 'Chippendale,' or a combination of the two styles; later, the 'wreath and ribbon,' and landscape and pictorial styles are introduced and treated much as in England. In execution, American book-plates are perhaps a trifle coarse. The more prominent of their engravers seem to have been—Hurd, Dawkins, Anderson, Johnson, Callendar, Doolittle, the Mavericks, Revere, and Turner. Revere is the best known; he was a picture engraver of some merit; but for the most part the names quoted are those of men of little artistic reputation. Nathaniel Hurd was probably the earliest of these engravers, and not the worst. He was born at Boston in 1729, the son of an American, who was a goldsmith in that town. Nathaniel was his father's apprentice; he devoted himself to working on copper, and so naturally would turn his attention to book-plates. Probably the earliest example, signed by him as 'N. H.,' and dated in 1749, was designed for Thomas Dering. This is the earliest signed and dated American book-plate yet brought to light; Hurd was barely twenty when he produced it. As a seal and book-plate engraver he worked hard and well; he died in 1777. One of his most original book-plates is that of Harvard College. A curiously short and wide shield, bearing the college arms, is encircled by a band bearing the inscription, 'Sigill. Coll. Harvard. Cantab. Nov. Angl. 1650.' Outside this circle are two leaf sprays, tied at the base and nearly meeting at the top. Both in conception and execution this is a very peculiar book-plate. The Dering plate, on the other hand, is interesting as showing how exactly the style of the mother-country at that period was copied in America. Here we have a pure 'Chippendale' book-plate of an unpronounced type.
Henry Dawkins (who began life by designing metal buttons) had been for a long time resident in America, when, in 1754, he engraved the book-plate of 'John Burnet of New York.' Like the Dering plate, Burnet's is interesting, and for the same reason; it is 'Chippendale,' but distinctly later Chippendale, with cupids and other figures introduced. Dawkins was found guilty of counterfeiting, and begged to be hanged rather than suffer the imprisonment to which he had been condemned. Whether or not his request was granted we do not know.
That the heraldry on some of these American book-plates should be startling, is only to be expected. Take, for instance, the very interesting book-plate of Robert Dinwiddie, Deputy-Governor of Virginia from 1751-58, which was probably engraved a few years before the earlier date. Here we have the shield divided fesse-fashion, and in the upper and lower divisions landscapes,—the first introducing an Indian archer shooting at a stag, and the lower a fort or castle with a ship at sea sailing towards it. Dinwiddie was a good servant to the English Crown both in Barbadoes and Virginia, and is said, like most successful people of his day, to be descended from an ancient family, though his immediate ancestors were Glasgow merchants. We are, however, not asked to believe, and we should not, if we were, that the arms are more ancient than Governor Dinwiddie himself, or that they originated elsewhere than in his mercantile brain, though they may have been legally granted by the Scotch College of Arms. The plate looks 'Scotch'—it is 'Chippendale,' and, I suspect, was engraved in the mother-country by a Scotch engraver. We may date it about 1750.
There are, of course, some American book-plates specially interesting from their possessors, and foremost amongst them is that of George Washington. For its description I cannot do better than quote Mr. Allen: 'The arms are displayed upon a shield of the usual shell-like form, and the sprays and rose-branches of this style [Chippendale] are used in the ornamentation of the sides of the escutcheon. The motto, Exitus acta probat, is given upon its ribbon at the base of the shield, and the name is engraved, in script, on the bracket at the bottom of the design. In general appearance the plate is like scores of Chippendale plates of the period.' I am sorry to take, somewhat, from the interest which attaches to this book-plate, by saying that, as I look more closely into it and study the details of its ornamentation and its execution, I am convinced it was engraved in England and not in America; it must therefore be of an earlier date than that attributed to it. I do not think it is subsequent to 1760. Of course there is a forgery of this plate, though it was prepared, not because of the value of the book-plate, but to sell a number of books which were said to have belonged to George Washington himself, and to have been captured in Virginia. The fraud was, however, discovered. No doubt these forgeries are now palmed off as the great man's book-plate. Mr. Lichtenstein's words about the real book-plate and the sham are therefore important:—
'Original examples are noticeable for their sharp black impressions on dampened plate paper of a buff colour mellowed by age. Those of the imitation are printed from a plate which has the appearance of having seen considerable wear; besides being printed on a dry paper of a thin quality, and a bluish colour; by its modern appearance it is easily recognised, the engraving of the name being poorly done.'
I do not know if a series of 'Presidents'' book-plates could be shown to exist, but Washington's successor, John Adams, certainly used one, introducing into it a certain number of national emblems. The American eagle with outspread wings overshadows the whole design.
Of American women, in the early days of independence, only one is known to have used a book-plate. This lady was Elizabeth Græme, the youngest child of Dr. Thomas Græme, member of the Provincial Council, and in other ways a distinguished and wealthy citizen, who owned Græme Park, an estate lying some twenty miles from Philadelphia. Elizabeth was born in 1737. At seventeen she was engaged to be married, but her engagement was suddenly—why, we learn not—broken off. To divert her mind, she set to work to translate Télémaque. She carried out the task, but it was never published, and lies to-day, as she wrote it, in the Philadelphia Museum. Her next engagement was to a man ten years her junior—a Mr. Ferguson; him she married, but, her husband taking the Crown's part, they separated. By the time of her death, in 1801, she had grown needy, despite the fact that she received money from her literary productions, which were numerous. Though evidently a staunch Republican, she was the bearer of the famous letter from the Rev. Jacob Duché to Washington, in which the writer begged his correspondent to return 'to his allegiance to the King.' The book-plate, which is, in every way, curious and interesting, is Armorial.
An interesting point about American book-plates—which illustrates a distinctive feature in social life there—is the existence of a large number belonging to Friendly Societies, Mutual Improvement Societies, and institutions akin to them; for the books forming the libraries of these bodies contain some of the most curious and characteristic American book-plates. Amongst the number may be mentioned those of the New York Society Library, the Farmington Library, the Hasty Pudding Society and the Porcellian Club in Harvard College, the Linonian Society and the Brothers of Unity in Yale, and the Social Friends in Dartmouth College.
None of these are particularly early, indeed the majority must be dated after the establishment of independence, but they are well worthy of study. Allegory runs wild in the book-plates—there are three mentioned by Mr. Dexter Allen—of the first-named Society, and Minerva is prominent in all. Let me endeavour to describe two, both the work of Maverick. In one she hands a volume of the Society's Library to an Indian, whose attitude in receiving it suggests that he had never seen a book before; in which case its contents cannot have done him much good. In the other she has just descended from Olympus, entered the library, and seized a volume from the book-shelf, which she presents to an apparently more appreciative red-skin. I say appreciative, for in return he hands the goddess his tomahawk. Minerva with a tomahawk! Can anything be more delightfully absurd?
One might go on with many pages of these descriptions, but enough has been said to show the burlesque spirit in which allegory is treated, doubtless quite unintentionally, on American Society book-plates. In that fact lies much of their interest. More happy in conception and execution is the homelier design appearing on the book-plate of the Village Library in Farmington, which, if not a beautiful piece of engraving, is at least free from grotesqueness.
'In this,' says Mr. Allen, 'we see the interior of a room in which a young lady patron of the library is storing her mind with those choice axioms which, if put in practice, far exceed the attractiveness of mere personal beauty; so says the couplet beneath the picture:—
A writer in the Ex Libris Journal points out that, after the Revolution, till about the year 1810, there were scarcely any American armorial book-plates. Perhaps one of the earliest is that of 'Samuel Elam, Rhode Island,' which appears to have been engraved about 1800. It is 'Pictorial' in style, and shows a shield, bearing arms, resting against a tree-stump, with a landscape background. The majority of American book-plate possessors, from 1810 until the fashion of using a book-plate became common some little time back, seem to have been members of the legal profession.
During the last few years many American book-plates have been as wild and meaningless in design as the majority of those recently produced in England; although, as Mr. Allen's illustrations show us, a few truly artistic and appropriate examples have appeared. One modern book-plate from across the Atlantic is sure to attract English eyes; for the owner's works are read as eagerly, and appreciated as fully, here as in the States,—I mean that of 'Oliver Wendell Holmes.' This, too, is appropriate for the man, consisting simply of a motto-scroll, on which is written Per Ampliora ad Altiora, and a nautilus—'the ship of pearl,' as he calls it; 'the venturous bark that flings
Let me begin by calling the reader's attention to the fact, which I commented upon in my first chapter, that in nearly all inscriptions on book-plates it is the volume in which the book-plate is placed, and not the book-plate itself, that is spokesman. Take the inscription on one of the earliest examples: 'Liber Bilibaldi Pirckheimer, Sibi et amicis.' Bilibald Pirckheimer's book for himself and his friends! Here is an amiable intention; but the plan did not work, and we do not find the sentiment often repeated. In the good jurist's day printed books were not numerous, and they were costly. Then might a man be reasonably regarded as a dog in the manger, who shut the door of his bookcase against those anxious to benefit by the work of the printing-press; then mankind at large had not demonstrated the fact that general morality does not extend to returning borrowed books. Hence, I say, it was that on this early book-plate we have the expression 'Sibi et amicis.'
School-boys—and I dare say, if one could only learn the truth in such matters, school-girls too—have a habit of inscribing their school-books with verses, denouncing in decidedly forcible language the school-fellow who steals—i.e. borrows and forgets to return—any particular volume, and at the end of these verses is depicted a gallows from which hangs the lifeless body of the thief. When did school-boys first thus protect their possessions? Few school-books survive for use by many successive generations, so we have no means of answering the question satisfactorily; but in a book—not a school-book—published in 1540, there are written (so a correspondent of Notes and Queries informs us), in writing more than three centuries old, these lines below the owner's signature:—
Of exactly the same date is a very pompous declaration, on a German book-plate, of a donor's intention that certain volumes given by him should remain for ever in the library to which they are presented. The owner of the book-plate was John Faber, Bishop of Vienna, who died in 1541, and who, in the previous year, presented his books to the College of St. Nicholas in that city. Here is a translation given by Lord De Tabley, in which mark how in kingly fashion the bishop refers to himself as 'we':—
'This book was bought by us, Dr. John Faber, Bishop of Vienna, and assistant in the Government of the New State, both as councillor and confessor to the most glorious, clement, and pious Ferdinand, King of the Romans, Hungary, and Bohemia, and Archduke of Austria. And since, indeed, that money (which purchased this volume) did not arise from the revenues and properties of our diocese, but from our own most honest labours in other directions. And therefore it is free to us to give or bequeath the book to whomsoever we please. We accordingly present it to our College of St. Nicholas. And we ordain that this volume shall remain there for ever for the use of the students, according to our order and decree. Done in our Episcopal Court at Vienna, on the first day of September in the year of Grace 1540.'
Dr. Faber was famous for his orthodoxy and his fervour in enforcing it; so much so, that he earned for himself the title Malleus hereticorum. He does not trust himself to express his opinion of the too eager student who should take to himself a volume from amongst these books; which is perhaps well.
More polite than the English verses of 1540, and therefore not half so serviceable, are those printed on an actual book-plate, by which Andrew Hedio, a Königsberg professor of philosophy, who lived about the middle of the seventeenth century, sought to insure the safe return to his library of any volume which was out on loan. The arms of Hedio—the head and shoulders of an old bearded man in a fish-tailed nightcap—appear on the book-plate, and below, supposed to be spoken by the volume, are Latin verses, which in free translation may be rendered:—
If you turn back to p. 123 and look at the book-plate of Speratus, you will see that he had expressed very much this sentiment more than a century before.
It is not till the beginning of the eighteenth century that we find any decided expression of possession on an English book-plate. Then it occurs on that of John Reilly (described on p. 53). At the very bottom of the design is printed: 'Clamabunt omnes te, liber, esse meum.' Here you see it is John Reilly himself and not his book that speaks. It is a mild and decidedly gentlemanly way of expressing ownership, free from threats for not returning the volume; indeed, hardly contemplating the possibility of so dishonest an act.
About the same date as Reilly's book-plate is a very graceful German one, executed for Michael Lilienthal (figured on p. 165). It shows us a group of growing lilies, around which bees are hovering or tasting their sweetness, and below—
From this graceful book-plate and the pleasantry of its inscription, we turn to a heavy declamatory sentence, devised, circa 1730, by the librarian of the Benedictine monastery of Wessenbrun, in Bavaria, for the books in his charge to speak when a theft had been actually committed or was in contemplation: 'I am the rightful possession of the Cloister of Wessenbrun. Ho there! Restore me to my master, so right demands!'
Sherlock Willis, whose book-plate—a decided 'Chippendale'—is dated in 1756, flies to Scripture for his aid against immoral borrowers, and places on his book-plate the familiar quotation from the 37th Psalm: 'The ungodly borroweth, and payeth not again.' Various other English book-plates bear the same quotation, or some other taken from the Bible. On that in use at the Parochial Library of Tadcaster, which shows us St. John in the isle of Patmos receiving from the angel the book which he was to eat, we read: 'Accipe librum et devora illum' (Rev. x. 9); advice which it was not, we may presume, intended that the borrower should follow literally.
There is something very businesslike and to the point about the inscription on the book-plate of Charles Ferdinand Hommeau, which is dated six years after that of Sherlock Willis. The inscription reads in translation: 'If you do not return the loan within fourteen days, or do not keep it carefully, on another occasion [when you ask to borrow it or some other book] I shall say I have not got it.' So M. Hommeau will not mind telling a lie to protect his library; and what is more, does not mind telling the world of his intention to do so. Truly he was an honest liar.
David Garrick (whose book-plate is figured opposite) selected as an appropriate quotation for his book-plate the following, taken from the fourth volume of Menagiana:—'La première chose qu'on doit faire quand on a emprunté un livre, c'est de le lire afin de pouvoir le rendre plutôt.' Very good advice, no doubt; but I wonder if 'Davy' was careful enough to confine his loans to those who would follow it? This reminds me of a very nicely put passage of Lord De Tabley's, à propos of the subject of book-borrowing in general:—
'Now this batch of mottoes raises the point, whether
valuable books should be lent to persons who treat
volumes like coal scuttles; who perpetrate such
 atrocities as moistening their thumbs to turn a page over; who hold a fine binding before a roaring fire? who, horribile dictu, read at breakfast, and use, as a book-marker, the butter-knife. Ought Garrick to have lent the cream of his Shakespeare quartos to slovenly and mole-eyed Samuel Johnson? We think emphatically not! Many full-grown folks have no more idea of handling a book than has a school-boy.'
So far the 'caveats' on book-plates have been either original compositions or quotations, specially selected by the owner; but, as time went on, people did not trouble to compose their own verses or inscriptions, or to hunt up appropriate quotations. The same lines or words appear fastened beneath, or printed upon, the book-plates of many different persons; in the latter case the book-plate is generally little more than a name ticket. Here is one, composed early in this century, which could be bought of C. Talbot, at 174 Tooley Street, and on it the purchaser could write his name before affixing it in his volumes:—
Of about the same date is another little effusion, which clearly does not contemplate the purchaser being the possessor of a unique volume, or of one for any cause irreplaceable, if lost:—
In these last quoted examples are certainly many stipulations, but they are as nought when compared with what we find on the book-plate of the Cavalier Francesco Vargas Macciucca, who was in the habit of pasting on the fly-leaf of the book, opposite his book-plate, fifteen rules, written in Latin, to be observed by those who borrowed books from his library. If he enforced them, he can have been seldom troubled with a borrower!
On the face of them,—since most of them have a blank space left for the owner's name, etc.,—these poetic or prosaic threats against book-stealers and the ill-usage of books do not pretend to be the compositions of those that used them. Jones or Brown went to the nearest stationer or bookseller, and purchased his admonitions all ready composed. But even after the introduction of ready-made admonitions, we find the man of independent mind rebelling against saving his library from spoliation by anybody's words save his own. Such a person was Mr. Charles Clark, of Great Totham Hall, near Witham, in Essex, who can at least claim originality for his composition, which, if lengthy, has occasional gleams of humour. Here it is:—
A certain Cheshire clergyman, who died not very long since, sought euphony in a string of commands to intending borrowers, which he had printed on his book-plate; 'Borrow bravely; Keep carefully; Peruse patiently; Return righteously.' What a pity he did not spell 'carefully' with a 'k' whilst he was about it!
The Plymouth architect and author, George Wightwick, or, as he evidently pronounced it, Witick, used to affix in his books:—
See, too, how a certain Mr. Charles Woodward protected, or thought he protected, the volumes which good nature may have prompted him to lend. His plate shows an opened volume, on one page of which is written: 'Narrative—promising to send me home at the appointed time. Finis.' Evidently Mr. Woodward, like the honest liar before mentioned, was not a man to lend his volumes for an indefinite period.
Having quoted various recent English examples of this kind, we are in duty bound to cite some from other component parts of the United Kingdom.
Under the name 'H. Macdonald' we find:
'A good book is a good friend; he who would injure the one deserves not the respect of the other.'
There is something almost pathetic in the exclamation which Mr. John Marks makes his volumes utter: 'Gentle reader, take me home; I belong to John Marks, 20 Cook Street, Cork'; and then the evil-minded borrower is reminded of the scriptural condemnation of his kind by reference to 'Psalm xxxvii. ver. 21.' Before this comes—
We may presume from this that Mr. John Marks tried to be funny, and from his composition getting into print he may flatter himself that he succeeded.
One more example of these warnings to borrowers and we have done with the subject. Lord De Tabley fixes the date of it as 1820, but surely it must be the composition of some eleventh century reprobate, who on his death-bed richly endowed a neighbouring monastery, and threatened any one who should ever disturb his endowment. The words appear on the book-plate of O. M[oore], and they read in translation: 'If any one steals this book, and with furtive hand carries it off, let him go to the foul waves of Acheron, never to return.'
Now, let us look at some of the eulogies of books or of study which are found on book-plates. These do not appear until a much later date. The text on Pirckheimer's book-plate, 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,' can hardly be called one in praise of study, though it is a wholesome truth that should be borne in mind by every student. Indeed, we have to pass over more than two centuries after the invention of book-plates before one which, in the inscription upon it, yields an example of the kind now under consideration. This appears at last in 1697, in a sentiment expressed by an Austrian lawyer, John Seyringer by name. Here it is:
We have again to pass over many years for our next example. Peter de Maridat, who was, he tells us, a senator in the Great Council of Louis XIV. of France, used for a book-plate, which may therefore be dated before 1715, the figure of a negro, who stands with one hand resting on a shield of arms, and holds in the other a pair of scales. The arms on the shield are azure, a cross argent, and below is written:
Taking them chronologically, our next examples are on English book-plates; one is dated 1730, and the other evidently belongs to the same period. On the first, the Rev. John Lloyd writes: 'Animus si æquus, quod petis hic est'; and on the other, Thomas Robinson, a Fellow of Merton, quotes from Cicero: 'Delectant domi non impediunt foris.' Perhaps 'Herbert Jacob, Esq. of St. Stephen's, in Kent,' had a generally troublesome wife, who did not penetrate the sacred region of his library; however it may have been, he placed on his book-plate, circa 1740: 'Otium cum libris,' a sentiment expressed in a great variety of ways on later book-plates.
Some ten years later than the last example is the book-plate of a German cleric, Gottfried Balthazar Scharff, Archdeacon of Schweidnitz, a town in Prussian Silesia, on which his books are praised in some not ungraceful verses; in these the owner asks divine help in understanding aright the teaching of his volumes.
On the Flemish book-plate of Lewis Bosch (spoken of elsewhere in this volume, p. 218), we read beneath the representation of the prelate's library, in which he is shown hard at work among his books: 'A hunt in such a forest never wearies.' The allusion to a forest of books recalls the motto on the much later English book-plate of Mary Berry. On this is depicted a wild strawberry plant, its fruit half hidden by leaves, and below is written, 'Inter folia fructus.' Probably Miss Berry, besides alluding to the fruit of knowledge which she found amongst the leaves of her books, intended a mild play upon the strawberry and her own family name.
Besides these, a host of further mottoes in praise of books or about books are to be met with. Some recommend the collection of as large a library as possible; others point out that the mind is distracted by a multitude of books; some advocate the careful handling of a volume, even at the expense of not getting so well acquainted with its contents; whilst others tell us that well-thumbed books are monuments of the owner's industry and constant study. Nor are the consoling powers of books forgotten. On a very pretty rustic vignette, executed by Bonner after Bewick, 'W. B. Chorley of Liverpool' has the words: 'My books, the silent friends of joy and woe.'
Of course Sam Pepys was a vain man—that we all know; but the difference between the two inscriptions has more to do with the fashion of the time than with the characteristics of the two men. In enlarging on his pedigree, social position, and secretaryship to the Admiralty, Pepys was only following the custom of his day. There are many examples of similar inscriptions on book-plates contemporary with Pepys's:—'Charles Pitfeild of Hoxton, in the Parish of St. Leonards, Shoreditch, in Middlesex, Esqr., descended of the ancient family of the Pitfeilds of Symsbury in Dorsetshire, and is now married to Winifred, one of the daughters and Cœheyrs of John Adderley, of Coton in Stafordshire, Esqr.' And again:—'Sr. Henry Hunloke of Wingerworth, in Derbyshire, Bart. In ye escocheon of pretence is ye Armes of Katherine his Lady, who was sole daughter and heyre of Francis Tyrwhit of Kettleby, in Lincolnshire, Esqe, ye last of ye Eldest branch of yt great and ancient family.' Equally proud of his ancestry is 'Thomas Windham of Sale in Devonshire, Esqr., one of the Grooms of his Majesties Bed-chamber, third son of Sr Edmund Windham of Cathanger in Somersetshire, Kt., Marshall of his Majesties most Honble household,' who concludes the inscription on his book-plate by telling us that he was 'lineally descended from the antient family of the Windhams of Crown-Thorpe, in the County of Norfolk.'
But this habit of expressing pride in ancestry, though it became less frequent, certainly survived Pepys's time. Mr. J. Paul Rylands, F.S.A., has a copy of the Eikon Basilike, printed in 1649, on the title-page of which is written, 'Dan. Mercator.' Within the book is an armorial book-plate engraved in the Jacobean style, and, since it belonged to a man born in 1640, one of the early examples of that style. The owner was the eminent mathematician, Nicholas Mercator, who was born at Holstein, and afterwards settled in England, where his mathematical ability was recognised by his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society. Nicholas was proud of his ancestors' efforts in the cause of Protestantism, and also wished his English friends to be aware of them; he therefore inscribes his book-plate, 'Nicholas Mercator, a Descendant of the Kauffmans of Prague, in Bohemia, Coadjutors with Luther in the Reformation.'
On the Continent, lengthy eulogies of ancestors are common, and they commence at an early date. Here is one, which is also a sigh for the purity of nobility in ages past. It is uttered, in 1565, by John Giles Knöringen, who writes, below his shield of arms, given in colour:—
It is, however, most frequently in an enumeration of his offices or degrees that the owner of a book-plate allows himself to get wordy. Let us take, for instance, the already mentioned book-plate of Sir Edward Dering (see pp. 31, 32), which bears date 1630, and displays a shield of twenty coats of arms; it has a proportionately impressive description of Sir Edward's many offices—Lieutenant of Dover Castle, Vice-Chancellor, and Vice-Admiral of the Cinque Ports, etc. Sir Robert Southwell, Knight, tells us that he is 'one of the Clerkes attending His Majesty King Charles the Second in his most Honourable Privy Councell, etc.'
William Wharton, who was killed in a duel, in 1689, calls himself 'fourth son to the Right Honourable Philip Lord Wharton of Wharton, in Westmoreland, by Ann, Daughter to William Carr, of Fernihast, in Scotland, Esqr., one of the Groome (sic) of the Bedchamber to King James'; whilst Randolph Egerton, in the inscription on his book-plate, recalls the time when the unhappy Duke of Monmouth was yet a trusted officer in the royal army: 'Randolph Egerton of Betley, in Staford Shire, Esquire, Lieutenant of his Majestyes own Troop of Guard, under the comand of his Grace James Duke of Monmouth, etc.'
The book-plates of Thomas, Earl of Wentworth, contain a curiously lengthy enumeration of the offices enjoyed by that distinguished soldier and diplomatist, who, at a critical time, steered his country through a great many difficulties. The first is dated in 1698, and on it the owner describes himself as 'The Right Honourable Thomas Wentworth, Baron of Raby, and Colonell of his Maiesties owne Royall Regmt of Dragoons, 1698.' In 1703 Wentworth was sent as envoy to Berlin, and two years later was advanced to the post of ambassador. On this appointment he had a second book-plate engraved, bearing the following inscription:—'His Excellency The Rt Honble Tho. Wentworth, Lord Raby, Peer of England, Collo of her Matys Royal Regt of Dragoons, Lieut General of all her Matys Forces & her Matys Embassador Extrary to ye King of Prussia, 1705;'—size 4 × 3. On the face of it, this is foreign work, and the expression 'Peer of England' could hardly have been put on it by an English engraver.
Wentworth's later diplomatic post has been made famous by Swift's allusion to it, in reference to his being associated with Mat Prior. 'Wentworth,' says the Dean, 'is as proud as hell, and how he will bear one of Prior's mean birth on an equal character with him I know not.' Proud as hell, was he? Well, he certainly was proud of his advance in title and his many high offices, all of which he sets out in his third and last book-plate, also, I think, foreign work, dated in 1712. Here is the inscription: 'His Excellency the Right Honourable Thomas Earl of Strafford, Viscount Wentworth of Wentworth Woodhouse, and of Stainborough, Baron of Raby, Newmarch, and Oversley, Her Majesty's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the States General of ye United Provinces, and also at the Congress of Utrecht; Colonel of Her Majesty's own Royal Regiment of Dragoons, Lieutenant-General of all Her Forces; First Lord of the Admiraltry (sic) of Great Britain and Ireland; one of the Lords of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council; and Knight of the Most Noble Order of ye Garter.' On the accession of George I., an attempt was made to impeach this busy Lord, but it failed, and he retired into private life for the rest of his days. His memoirs, published a few years back by Mr. Cartwright, F.S.A., give an excellent picture of life at the time he lived.
Some book-plate owners, not boastful of their titles, let us into their confidences as to their place of birth, age, and the like. The German book-plate, dated in 1618, of John Vennitzer, a knife-smith or cutler by trade, tells us that he was born at Nuremberg, at 22 minutes past 5 in the afternoon on the 14th day of May, 1565. Vennitzer made money by his trade, and founded the Library of St. Lawrence in his native city; perhaps the date on the book-plate is that of the foundation of the library. No doubt, as Lord De Tabley remarks, the cutler conscientiously believed that the condition of his whole life depended on the particular moment at which he entered the world; for he was probably well versed in the mysteries of horoscopy.
'John Collet' makes us really quite familiar with all his relations, and with his own religious feelings. His book-plate—it is only a printed label—reads: 'Johannes Collet filius Thomæ Collet. Pater Thomæ, Gulielmi, ac Johannis, omnium superstes. Natus quarto junii, 1633. Denasciturus quando Deo visum fuerit; interim hujus proprietarius John (sic) Collet.'
Even more obliging is 'Thomas Tertius Okey, medicinæ Professor, 1697.' He was, he tells us, 'great grandson to William Okey (usually cal'd Okely) of Church Norton, betwixt Gloucester and Tewxsbury, gentelman; grandson to Thomas Primus Okey of Church Norton, the Devizes and Taunton, Professor of Theology; eldest son to Thomas Secundus Okey, of the Devizes and London, Professor of Physick, and father to Thomas Quartus Okey, of London, gentelman. The above mentioned Thomas Tertius Okey, Professor of Physick, now liveth in London near the Bodys of his deceased relations.' Before such details as these, even John Collet seems reticent.
Sir Philip Sydenham—whose peculiarities in the matter of book-plates are elsewhere commented upon—in one of his first examples, dated in 1699, tells us his age: 'Sir Philip Sydenham, Bart., of Brympton in Somerset, and M.A. of the University of Cambridge, Æta. Suæ 23.' Richard Towneley in 1702 does the same. The inscription on his book-plate reads, as we see by the frontispiece:
One cannot help wondering why Mr. Towneley—the owner, and in a great part the collector, of the vast library with which the family name is connected—should have waited till he was seventy-three years of age to have a book-plate engraved. Some of the volumes in that library had a curious stamp in silver of the Towneley arms, with the date 1603 on their bindings, but there does not seem to have been an earlier book-plate. Richard Towneley died at York in 1707. Besides being an astronomer and a , he was a keen antiquary; and Thoresby, the historian of Leeds, tells us of the pride with which he showed him a wondrous and just completed pedigree of the Towneley family, on the occasion of their meeting during the year in which the book-plate was engraved.
'John Fenwick of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Attorney at Law,' leaves us in ignorance as to his age at the time his book-plate was engraved, because he does not date it; but he states that he was 'born at Hexham, 14th April 1787,' and 'married at Alnwick, 9th June 1814.'
One lady—and only one—lets us into what, with those of her sex, is usually a secret. Isabel de Menezes inscribes her book-plate by Bartolozzi (see p. 94), 'Ætatis 71 anno 1798.'
I have given, in this chapter, no foreign examples of book-plates on which minute personal particulars appear; but some of the examples of which I have spoken elsewhere—notably the Flemish book-plate of Count vander Noot—will show that they exist.
The whole subject of ladies' book-plates has been so exhaustively treated by Miss Norna Labouchere that it need not take up much space in the present chapter. When, however, in this work, Miss Labouchere asks where are book-plates of the English feminine bibliophiles of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries—Dame Juliana Berners, Margaret Roper, Lady Jane Grey, Mary Stuart, and the ladies of Little Gidding—the answer, I am afraid, is: they had none. Had they possessed them, they would, in this book-plate-spying age, have been discovered.
But, be it said to the credit of the ladies, some of the
 earliest dated English book-plates belonged to them. It is true these are merely name-tickets, such as that of Elizabeth Pindar, 1608, in the Bagford Collection, kindly pointed out to me by Mr. W. Y. Fletcher; but the fact of their existence deserves notice, because it shows the readiness of the fair sex to lay hold of a new fashion; and having a book-plate in the early years of the seventeenth century was a new fashion, at least in England.
The first Armorial ladies' book-plate is that of the Countess-Dowager of Bath, already very fully described. I will only add that readers who refer back to what I have said about her matrimonial arrangements (vide p. 38), will see that she is heraldically accurate in not bearing her arms in a lozenge. The laws of heraldry do not allow ladies, while married, to place their arms in lozenge-shaped shields; and this fact enables some feminine book-plate owners to demonstrate the possession of a virtue which women are often taxed with lacking—economy. Ladies frequently made the same designs do duty as their own book-plates which had served for their husbands. But, according to Miss Labouchere, the husband sometimes used his wife's book-plate; for the book-plates—identical, save for the inscriptions—of the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort, Lord and Lady Roos, and some others, show, on examination, that the words indicative of ownership by the lady have been erased, and over-engraved by those indicative of possession by her lord.
The lozenge really looks very well on a book-plate; and lends itself readily to the decoration usually bestowed upon it. Take, for instance, that of Dame Anne Margaretta Mason, dated in 1701. Her maiden name was Long, and the shield shows us Mason impaling Long. Lady Mason's is a fair sample of a lady's book-plate of that date. The arms are contained in a lozenge, set in a Jacobean frame, which is lined with scale work, and adorned with ribbons and leafy sprays. There is no motto-scroll, but the name bracket comes up close to the base of the design (see also p. 52).
Indeed it may be said that the Jacobean style of ornamentation is that best suited to ladies' book-plates, especially when the arms are depicted on a lozenge-shaped shield. The book-plate of the 'Hon. Anne North,' by Simon Gribelin, is another instance to prove this. I do not think that Chippendale decoration suits them at all, and, in the use of ornaments of that style, Englishwomen were as immoderate as Englishmen. Lady Lombe's book-plate, designed in the later days of Chippendalism, is quite appalling from its over-ornamentation. The wreath of ribbon, or festoon, style of the close of the last century is more suitable for ladies' book-plates, and some very charming examples are known; equally suitable, it seems to me, would have been the picture or landscape style—the style in which, at the close of the last century, Bewick, and some few other English artists, were working with conspicuous success, and it seems strange that the ladies of Great Britain did not adopt it more extensively.
When we come to modern times we find ladies have run as wild as their lords over book-plates; there is the same peculiarity, the same mysticism, the same inappropriateness for book-plates in the designs of many book-plates of fin de siècle English ladies. The few really artistic and appropriate book-plates stand out in marked contrast in Miss Labouchere's excellent little book, and amongst them may be noted Lady Mayo's, designed in 1894 by Mr. Anning Bell, which shows us a musician and a songstress within a frame composed of spring flowers and the national emblem of Ireland.
But let us go back a little in date, and look at a ladies' book-plate designed in the Allegoric style; what more striking example could be found than that furnished by George Vertue's charming piece of work engraved for Lady Oxford?
It represents the interior of the library either at
Brampton or Welbeck, probably the latter, which
was Lady Oxford's own inheritance. Through a
doorway, flanked by Corinthian columns, the curtain
in front of which is drawn back, we obtain a view of
a country house standing back in a well-kept park;
a river crossed by a three-arched bridge meanders
through this. But it is the occupants of the room
that call for most attention. The prominent figure
is that of Minerva, who has laid aside her arms,
and stands sandalled and helmeted. She is busily
engaged in instructing six cupids, who appear to be
industriously following her injunctions. One of these
 is painting in oils, with an easel before him and a palette on his thumb; the goddess with her left hand points out some defect in his work, and apparently explains how it may be remedied. Another cupid plays the harp; two more sit on the frame of the design, weaving flowing festoons; another, also on the frame, near a celestial globe, copies the picture of a flute-playing satyr which a sixth cupid holds in position.
On the frame which surrounds the picture sit two figures—one of which is Mercury, with caduceus and winged hat—who act as supporters to a medallion bearing Lady Oxford's monogram; above is an urn, and from the sides fall bunches of grapes. Below the design is engraved 'Henrietta Cavendish Holles, Oxford and Mortimer. Given me by'—and then the donor's name and last two figures of the date, filled in by Lady Oxford herself.
Lady Oxford was the sole heiress of John Holles, last Duke of Newcastle of the Holles family, and was the wife of Edward, second Earl of Oxford, son of Queen Anne's minister, and the continuator and completor of the Harleian collections. Vertue's love of studying all kinds of antiquities brought him, at an early date, into contact with Lord Oxford, who proved one of his warmest patrons. The artist himself speaks of 'the Earl's generous and unparalleled encouragement of my undertakings.' Harley would take his friend with him on his various 'hunting' tours in England, getting him to sketch the numerous objects of interest that they came across. No wonder that the Earl's death, in 1741, was a heavy loss, in every way, to George Vertue.
It is noteworthy that there is no trace of heraldry in this remarkable book-plate. Book-plates free from anything armorial were not the rule in England in 1730, and Vertue was certainly proficient in heraldic engraving, or ought to have been so, since his earliest task in life was engraving coats of arms on plate, and his second engagement was with Michael Vandergucht, who, we know, executed a good deal of armorial work. It is probable, therefore, that the idea of the book-plate was Lady Oxford's own.
From this delightful specimen of a lady's book-plate in which heraldry is entirely absent, we may appropriately turn our attention to two examples which combine heraldry with a fanciful design—the book-plates of Lady Pomfret and the Honourable Mrs. Damer. The first of these is that which 'S. W.,' probably Samuel Wale, the Royal Academician, engraved for 'The Rt Honble Henrietta Louisa Jeffreys, Countess of Pomfret, Lady of the Bed-chamber to Queen Caroline,' and is a very unusual piece of work, both in shape, design, and heraldry. There is a clear indication of 'Chippendaleism' about the shield and sprays of flowers and leaves, which is certainly curious in view of what we must consider the approximate date of the book-plate; but the arms are in a Jacobean frame, which stands in a garden. On one side we have a cupid bearing aloft the lady's family crest, and on the other the husband's crest and helmet, situated just within the opening of a tent. Lady Pomfret was the granddaughter of James II.'s infamous Lord Chancellor. She married Lord Pomfret in 1720, and was Lady of the Bed-chamber to Queen Caroline from 1713 to 1737, so that we are enabled to fix the date of this plate within seventeen years, indeed, probably within four years, for she had a less ambitious, and no doubt earlier, book-plate engraved for her, which bears the date 1733.
As might be expected, the book-plate of 'Selina, Countess of Huntingdon,' forms a striking contrast to that last described. Here we have a plain representation of a coat of arms in a lozenge, and supported in the orthodox manner. No cupids or other vanities intrude themselves into this sombre and coarsely executed work, which may be dated, after the owner became a widow, in 1746, and therefore, after her 'call'—which is, I believe, the correct expression for a sudden conversion to the form of religion she embraced.
Probably of about the same date as Lady Huntingdon's book-plate is that of another famous woman of her day, Lady Betty Germain, about whom Swift has plenty to say in his Journal to Stella. On this book-plate a somewhat funereal effect is produced by the dark background, against which is the lozenge containing the arms Berkeley impaling Germain; but the ornamentation of the lozenge, of the name-scroll, and of the frame enclosing the design, is light and elegant. Poor Lady Betty! she had a good deal to live down: her girlhood had not been so moral as it might have been, and the Duchess of Marlborough did her best to make her friend's misfortunes as public as possible. But for all that, Elizabeth Berkeley made a good match in point of money, marrying—as his second wife—Sir John Germain, a soldier of fortune and repute. He left her a widow in 1718, with Drayton as her home and a vast fortune. Her widowhood lasted very nearly fifty years, during which she gave away large sums in charity, as well as spending them on amassing curios: these, in 1763, Walpole went to look at, and admired.
But we have been digressing, and have not spoken about the second of the two book-plates just now mentioned, that of the Hon. Mrs. Damer, which, in design and execution, certainly surpasses any ladies' book-plate yet noticed; it is really a beautiful picture. First let me speak of Mrs. Damer and her surroundings; her book-plate becomes the more interesting as we call these to mind. The daughter of Field-Marshal Henry Seymour Conway, she made for herself, at an early age, a name, both in England and Italy, as an accomplished sculptress. From infancy—she was born in 1749—she was the pet of Horace Walpole, and throughout her life his intimate friend, living, after her husband's suicide, close to him at Strawberry Hill, which he bequeathed to her by his will, and where, by the way, the work of her artistic fingers might be seen in profusion. Friends of herself and of Walpole were Robert Berry and his daughters Mary and Agnes—'my twin wives,' Walpole calls them. Mrs. Damer's book-plate is the work of the latter of these two ladies—Walpole's 'sweet lamb, Agnes.' It shows us a kneeling female figure, pointing to a newly-cut inscription on a block of stone, 'Anna Damer'; above is a shield bearing the arms of Damer, with those of Seymour-Conway on an escutcheon of pretence, and on the right and left of this are elegantly drawn dogs. The work was engraved by Francis Legat, and is dated '1793.' Miss Mary Berry's book-plate has been already spoken of (p. 177).
As an illustration to this chapter on ladies' book-plates, I have taken one which is both artistic and interesting, from the fact that it shows us—in the figure contemplating the bust—what is presumably a picture of the owner. I fear, however, that proof of its authenticity as a likeness sufficient to allow of its incorporation as a 'Portrait' book-plate (see pp. 216-220) will not be forthcoming; but whether it is one or not, it is certainly a pleasing book-plate. Frances Anne Acland, the owner, was born in 1736, became the wife of Richard Hoare of Barne Elms in 1761 and thus stepmother to Richard Colt Hoare, the future antiquary and the historian of Wiltshire; she died in the year 1800, and was buried at Beckenham.
But all that has been said, so far, concerns the
book-plates of English women. Foreign dames of
 various nationalities, and our feminine cousins across the Atlantic (see p. 150), have made a very generous use of these marks of book-possession. French women of the eighteenth century have, as the reader of Miss Labouchere's interesting pages on this part of her subject will see, for the most part, used book-stamps, many of the most beautiful French bindings gaining an additional interest and beauty from the coats of arms of their fair owners impressed upon them. There are, however, a fairly large number of book-plates known which have belonged to French women, or, at all events, to women resident in France, and amongst them one to which attaches pathetic interest from the tragic fate of its owner. I mean that of the Princesse de Lamballe, who fell a victim to her attachment to the reigning house of France during the revolting massacres of 1792.
There are such things as 'joint' book-plates—book-plates which have belonged both to husbands and wives. We meet with some such in England, though not at a very early date; but in Germany they exist as far back as 1605. In England the first example, only a printed label, is in 1737—'Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Anne Pain.' Examples of this dual ownership occur frequently in modern book-plates.
For other points of interest in and about ladies' book-plates the reader must consult Miss Labouchere's work; all I will do, in concluding my remarks upon them, is to say that—as might perhaps be expected—in phrases of book-possession ladies are even more outspoken than gentlemen; few, however, are so much so as Lady Dorothy Nevill, who protects her books with the words 'stolen from' placed before her name: surely she can be no more troubled by borrowers than was the Cavalier Macciucca (vide p. 171).
About this same date Michael Burghers was
engraving book-plates in England; he appears to
have left Holland in 1672, and to have settled in
Oxford. The earliest book-plate of his that I have
seen is that of Thomas Gore, already described;
perhaps he found the allegory with which he embellished
it was not popular with Englishmen, and
 his other book-plates—we know of two or three—are in the 'Simple Armorial' style usual in English book-plates of the period. Lord De Tabley suggests that Christopher Sartorius, who worked at Nuremberg between 1674 and 1737, may be connected with the James Sartor who signed a fine English 'Jacobean' book-plate at the opening of the eighteenth century; of this James we know nothing except this piece of work, which is certainly good. After Sartor comes John Pine, whose pompous book-plate, engraved about the year 1736, to commemorate George I.'s gift of books to the University of Cambridge, has been described and figured (p. 75). He was born in 1690, and died in 1756. His engravings of the Tapestry in the House of Commons became so popular, that he was the subject of a special Act of Parliament securing to him the emoluments arising from the sale of the work. Pine, as we have seen, engraved other book-plates later on in the century.
Michael Vandergucht, the famous Antwerp engraver, was also working in England before the close of the seventeenth century, but his first book-plate is dated in 1716. This was engraved for Sir William Fleming, of Rydal, and is in many respects a striking piece of work. The style is quite English of the period: heavy mantling descends to the base of the shield; but the inscription—'The Paternal Arms of Sir William Fleming of Rydal in the county of Westmoreland, Baronet,' with a description of the heraldry—savours much of being the work of a foreigner. It should be mentioned of this artist that he was pupil of one of the many Boutats who were active as engravers of foreign book-plates. He (Vandergucht) died in Bloomsbury in 1725.
After him we may appropriately mention his principal pupil—George Vertue. His most conspicuous book-plate is certainly that of Lady Oxford, which is already familiar to the reader.
Simon Gribelin is well known as a book-illustrator, and finds frequent mention by Walpole. He was born at Blois in 1661, came to England when nineteen, and worked here till his death in 1733. Perhaps the earliest book-plate he engraved is that of Sir Philip Sydenham, which shows us the shield and crest encircled with snakes and other ornaments,—a book-plate decidedly foreign in appearance, though Gribelin must have been nearly twenty years in England when it was engraved. He did two other book-plates for Sir Philip. He also engraved some of the Parochial Library plates described later on (pp. 225-227), and some others.
Though 'J. Skinner' (see pp. 81-86), an engraver
who worked at Bath, does not find mention in any
dictionary of engravers, yet he deserves notice from
the student of book-plates for the great quantity of his
work in that field—nearly all dated, and some really
very excellent. Of Skinner, Lord De Tabley writes:—'I
would gladly learn some biographical details'; but
he failed to find any, and I have been equally unfortunate.
At the British Museum there is no Bath
newspaper or directory sufficiently early to contain
either an advertisement by Skinner or a mention of
his place of residence; in the Bath Directory of 1812
the name is represented by two grocers, a publican,
a gardener, and one private resident—a Miss Skinner
who lived at 3 St. James's Parade. Sir Wollaston
Franks tells me that, amongst the engravers who
vouched for the perfection of Sympson's New Book of
Cypher—'the most perfect and neatest drawn of any
performance of the kind hitherto extant'—was one
Jacob Skinner, and it is very likely this was our
friend the engraver of book-plates, who laboured at
Bath from 1739 to 1753. He worked in three successive
styles of English book-plate engraving—the
Armorial, the Jacobean, and the Chippendale; a
fact which renders his plates of special interest to
collectors, since it enables them to see how the same
hand treats the succeeding styles when fully developed,
and during their gradual change from one style into
the other. His earliest dated book-plate that we know
is that for the library of Sir Christopher Musgrave
(figured opposite), and the next, five years later, that
of 'John Conyers of Walthamstow in Essex, Esq.'
Here the ornamentation is quite Jacobean; the
shield is oval, with wing-like excrescences at the
top and on either side—that at the top forming a
background to the helmet which supports the crest.
Next year (1738) Skinner produced the book-plate
 of 'Francis Carington, Esq., of Wotton, Warwickshire'—in appearance even earlier than that of Musgrave. Some of this early appearance is perhaps due to an absence of indication of the tinctures on the shield—a habit which, as we shall presently see, Skinner followed in one or two other instances. A slight mantling falls from an esquire's helmet and descends a little way down the shield till it joins the Jacobean scroll-work, and the owner's name and description are upon a fringed cloth. But the feature to note in this book-plate is the monogrammatic form of the engraver's signature: '.' It is the first time he uses it, and in his subsequent dated work he appears always to have adopted some similar form, this being the most frequent:—'.kinr.'
I have spoken of J. Skinner as a Bath engraver,
but the reader will observe that none of the book-owners,
whose book-plates by him I have as yet
named, are specially connected with Bath, and on
none has the engraver mentioned it as his place of
residence; but insomuch as then—in the palmy days
of the reign of King Nash—all roads led to Bath,
it is probable that, at the fashionable season, the
Cumberland baronet, as well as the Essex and
Warwickshire squires, found his way thither, and
followed the fashion by having a book-plate engraved,
just as he would follow it, during his sojourn in
the ancient city, by squandering his time and
injuring his digestion with late hours and a surfeit
of generally unwholesome gaiety. The next dated
 book-plate by Skinner bears this out; on this, engraved in 1739, he gives Bath as his place of abode; but this book-plate is that of Francis Massy of Rixton, Lancashire; it is similar in design to the Carington just mentioned and figured.
But earlier in style than any of Skinner's work yet mentioned is the book-plate of 'William Hillary, M.D.,' dated in 1743; here the mantling descends nearly to the base of the shield, quite in the 'Armorial' style. This seems to be his latest work in early fashion. In 1741 he had designed a book-plate for 'John William Fuhr,' in which there are clear indications of Chippendale ornamentation. This is indeed a transitional book-plate; it has a Jacobean shield, which the artist has adorned with Chippendale ornament; the tinctures are only partially expressed and the shield remains symmetrical, though the floral sprays and shell-work give it, at first sight, the appearance of not being so. Identical, almost, with this book-plate is that done by Skinner for 'Henry Pennant,' and dated in 1742; and like it, but weaker, is that of 'Thos. Haviland, Bath,' dated in the same year.
Skinner's next book-plates are those of 'Charles
Delafaye, Esq., of Wichbury, Wilts' (1743); 'Johnson
Robinson' (1744); 'John Hughes of Brecon, Esqre.';
and 'Benja: Adamson' (1745); 'Hen. Toye Bridgeman,
Esq., of Princknash, Gloucestershire' (1746);
'Henry Walters, Esq.,' and 'John Wodroofe' (1747),
and 'Thos. Fitzherbert, Esq.,' (1749). All these last-named book-plates are much on a level as regards artistic merit, and that level is not a high one; Benjamin Adamson's book-plate, figured on p. 209, is a fair example of it, though it is not so good as the Bridgeman book-plate of the same year. In 1750, however, we find a more noteworthy specimen of Skinner's work in the book-plate of 'Francis Fleming.' There is a Scotch look about this, which suggests that the owner, and not the engraver, was responsible for its design; the shield is oddly shaped and is on a medallion, whilst musical instruments of various kinds are figured beneath; Sir Wollaston Franks points out to me that the Fleming coat of arms here represented is borne only by the family of the Earls of Wigtown. The same year (1750) Skinner did an ordinary Chippendale book-plate for Dr. Robert Gusthart, whose name appears in the Bath Guide as a doctor in practice there in 1773.
In 1751 Skinner engraved a pleasing Chippendale book-plate for William Oliver, a son of his more famous namesake, whose book-plate, also by Skinner, has been already described in these pages (p. 85). Young Oliver's plate shows a remarkable fineness of touch, and is altogether in very good taste—not over-ornamented. Two years later we have the latest known example of Skinner's work: the book-plate of 'The Revd I. Dobson, A.M.,' which is coarse in execution, and suggests that the artist's skill as an engraver was diminishing.
Of the twenty-two known book-plates by Skinner
 only two are undated, Dr. Oliver's, already described (p. 85), and that of Sir John Smyth, Bart., LL.D. This last he must have executed early in his career. The shield bearing the arms stands upon a platform, and is Jacobean in shape and ornamentation; the background is shaded. Clumsily drawn and clumsily posed female figures, partly draped, stand upon bracket-like excrescences that spring from the shield, whilst cupids recline below it and hold it aloft.
What happened to Skinner after 1753 I have failed to discover. He is certainly an interesting person from a book-plate collector's point of view, and it is to be hoped something more about him may some day be brought to light. In considering his identity it is worth remembering that a little after his disappearance, viz. in 1755, another West of England engraver named Skinner—Matthew Skinner of Exeter, is found working on book-plates. He signs three examples, all designed in the Chippendale style—'Jean Eli Jaquéri de Moudon en Suisse, Né en 1732'; 'Sr Edmd Thomas, Bart.,' and 'Peregrine Fras Thorne.' The two first are ordinary Chippendale examples, but in the third many implements of the soldier's art are introduced.
Another very prolific engraver of book-plates—unknown except in that capacity—was 'Robert Mountaine.' His book-plates are frequently dated, but the dates are placed in the most obscure positions, and in the smallest of figures, so it needs a careful study of the engravings to discover them. He laboured wholly in the Chippendale style; his touch is peculiar, and his treatment graceful. Roughly speaking, he worked from 1740 to 1755. His signature varies—sometimes it is 'R.M.,' sometimes 'Mountaine.'
The following are a few of his book-plates:—
|W. Harrison, D.D., Fellow of C. C. C. Oxon.|
|R. C. Cobbe.|
|S. J. Collins.|
|Ed. Gore, Kiddington, Oxon.|
John Hoadly, LL.D. [This is Dr. Hoadly, the versatile
author of oratorios and comedies.]
|C. S. Powlet, Itchen.|
|Geo. Powlet, Esq.|
A list of nearly sixty book-plates by Mountaine is given in the Ex Libris Journal, ii. p. 46.
Hogarth's book-plates have been already described in this volume. The 'W. H.' who signs certain examples, once wrongly ascribed to Hogarth, was a certain William Hibbart, who, like Skinner, was a Bath artist, and etched portraits after the manner of Worlidge. Lord De Tabley mentions that Worlidge himself executed a book-plate—that of the Honourable Henrietta Knight—which he signs in full. Worlidge was certainly a distinguished engraver; his etchings after Rembrandt are excellent and highly prized. He died in 1766.
The work of Sir Robert Strange as a book-plate engraver has been already referred to. Both Lumisden's and Dr. Drummond's book-plates were probably executed after Strange's departure from England, and therefore after 1745. His continental visit was rendered necessary, or at least expedient, by the manner in which he had identified himself with the Stuart cause during the then recent troubles. He had joined the Jacobite Life-Guards, and employed his artistic ability in designing pay-notes for the Jacobite soldiers. After studying some time in Paris under Le Bas, he returned to England, where he remained till 1760. He then went back to the Continent, where his ability was freely appreciated, and where he was loaded with decorations at Rome and Florence. England at length recognised his merit, and in 1787 the King conferred upon him a knighthood, which he lived for five years to enjoy. His devotion to the House of Stuart never altered; the inscription beneath one of his most celebrated portraits reads 'Charles James Edward Stuart, called the Young Pretender.'
After the days of Strange, an innumerable number of artists sign their names to English book-plates; yet, with three exceptions, the names of none are known to fame till we come to those of a comparatively recent date. The exceptions are Francis Bartolozzi, John Keys Sherwin, and Thomas Bewick. Bartolozzi, the man of whom Sir Robert Strange displayed such ill-concealed jealousy, began to work in England about four years after the accession of George III., though it was some years before his worth was appreciated by the people with whom he came to reside. None of his book-plates belong to a date prior to 1770 or 1780. He removed to Lisbon in 1802 to take charge of the National Academy, and while there, it will be remembered, engraved an Englishman's book-plate in 1805 (see p. 95). His death took place at Lisbon in 1815. Sherwin was born in poverty, and, owing largely to his own folly, died in it, after having at one time amassed a considerable sum of money. He was a pupil of Bartolozzi, gained the Royal Academy gold medal in 1772, and was appointed Engraver to the King in or about 1785. His book-plate work is referred to at p. 72.
Thomas Bewick, who, as we have seen (pp. 108-13), was the most prolific of any English engraver of book-plates, was born at Cherry Burn, in Northumberland, in 1753, and died in 1828. The incidents in his history are too well known to need repetition here, and his work upon book-plates has been already mentioned. It may be, however, noticed that his earliest book-plate is dated in 1797, the year in which he published the first volume of his British Birds.
It is possible that we have a portrait in the figure on the book-plate, already noticed, of Louis Bosch, a clergyman of Tamise, near Antwerp; but the head is too small to afford an interesting likeness. The priest sits at a table in his study, the walls of which are lined with volumes, and beneath him is written in Latin: 'A hunt in such a forest never wearies,'—the 'forest being,' as Lord De Tabley observes, 'the rows and ranks of his reverence's books.' In France the 'Portrait' book-plate is not uncommon; that of a French clergyman, Francis Perrault, figured opposite, is a nice piece of work, and bears the date 1764; but portraits, possibly or indeed probably, of the owners occur on French book-plates at an earlier date. In Italy there is an example in 1760, the book-plate of Filippo Linarti.
An instance of the use of the 'Portrait' book-plate
in England during the last century is afforded by that
of 'Jacobus Gibbs, Architectus, 1736,' which is found
in the architectural books bequeathed by the possessor
to the Radcliffe Library at Oxford, a building which
 he designed. James Gibbs was born at Aberdeen in 1674, but came south early in his career, and Londoners may see examples of his work in the churches of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. Mary le Strand. He also built the Senate House at Cambridge. He died in 1754. On his book-plate, which is oblong in shape and might well form the head-piece to a preface, the portrait appears in a medallion, surrounded by shell and scroll-work. The engraver, who signs his initials B. B., was Bernard Baron, a Frenchman, who came to England in 1736 and engraved Hogarth's portrait of Gibbs.
The resuscitator of 'Portrait' book-plates in England in recent times was the late Mr. Thoms. That veteran antiquary tells, in a letter to the Athenæum, how he came to use, as a book-plate, a photograph of himself taken by Dr. Diamond in the very early days of photography. Beneath this he placed an inscription setting forth that the volume in which it was fastened was for the use of himself and his friends—a repetition of the sentiment on one of the Pirckheimer book-plates, 'Sibi et amicis.' We do not, of course, know how far Pirckheimer meant what he said; but we do know, any of us who ever asked the loan of a volume from Mr. Thoms, that the sentiment was by him really meant. No worthy book-borrower ever met with refusal from that ever courteous literary enthusiast.
After considering 'Portrait' book-plates, the collector may turn his attention to the study of the book-plates that have belonged to interesting men. I have spoken of many of these in reaching this point in my volume, but to the names already mentioned may be added some more: Charles, Earl of Dorset and Middlesex, who, as Lord Buckhurst, was a prominent figure at the dull court of Dutch William, saved Dryden from ruin and introduced Mat Prior to society. Then there is Robert Harley—great minister, great statesman, and underminer of the Whig power; founder of the collection of books and manuscripts which now bears his name. The inscription on his book-plate reads: 'Robert Harley of Brampton Castle in the county of Hereford, Esqre'; it is found in two sizes—one for folio volumes, and another for those of smaller size. Its date may be fixed at the very close of the seventeenth century.
Then we have the book-plate of Sir Thomas Hanmer, the Speaker, a bold piece of work, in the 'Simple Armorial' style, dated 1707. Hanmer was born in 1676, so that his book-plate was executed when he was in his thirty-first year—that is, six years prior to his first entry of the House of Commons, and probably before he had made much use of the library with which his name was afterwards associated, when towards the close of his life he ceased to be a man of politics and became a man of letters. He died in 1746, leaving, completed, his edition of Shakespeare's works in half a dozen volumes.
With the book-plate of Sir Thomas Hanmer we may, appropriately, consider that of Sir Paul Methuen, the soldier and minister of Anne and George I., with whom Hanmer must have been frequently brought in contact. Methuen's book-plate is altogether more exceptional in style than Hanmer's; the mantling, after being blown about by a strong wind, ends regularly in tassels; curious creatures figure in the design, and the bracket, on which rests the shield, is upheld by a male and a female angel.
Methuen's book-plate was engraved about 1720. Five years later we find that of John, Lord Boyle, who, though by means of the quarrel with his father he was robbed of the Boyle library, had, whilst yet a young man, a sufficient stock of volumes of his own to necessitate the use of a distinguishing mark for them. His book-plate is by John Hulett, an indifferent engraver.
Matthew Prior's book-plate now claims attention; indeed, if these book-plates of celebrities were taken in strictly chronological order, it should have been considered before that of Sir Paul Methuen. In style it is early Jacobean, so that we may date it at, say, 1718, though there is nothing in the inscription—'Matthew Prior, Esq.'—to show to what particular period in the 'thin hollow-looked' man's life it belongs. But it is tempting to place it at the close of his career as a diplomatist, when he was settling down on the small country property that Harley had bought for him, and was rich on the proceeds of the subscription to his huge volume of Occasional Poems.
After Prior's book-plate we do not meet with another of a celebrity for a considerable number of years. One appears at last in that engraved—probably by a Scotch engraver, about the year 1740—for the luckless Lord Lovat, who lost his head on Tower Hill after the second Scotch rebellion. The inscription deserves consideration, because it is characteristic of the man: 'The Right Honourable Simon Lord Fraser of Lovat, Chief of the Ancient Clan of the Frasers, Governor of Inverness,' etc. Mark the way in which he emphasises his headship of the clan! Can he, in those early days, have heard whisperings of a story that he had an elder brother who was in hiding lest the law should mete out to him its penalty for murder? Anyhow, it is a fine bold book-plate, more in the style of English book-plates of a dozen years earlier; a heavy ermine-lined mantle of estate falls from the back of the helmet and encloses both shield and supporters.
John Wilkes had three book-plates, and what is remarkable, they all make display of the Wilkes armorial bearings. One would fancy that the great demagogue would, at least in the decoration of the shield, display bombs, kegs of gunpowder, Phrygian caps, or other emblems of the manifestation and enjoyment of liberty; but it is not so. Lawrence Sterne's book-plate is certainly more appropriate. Here we have the bust of a young man, whom Lord de Tabley considers to be either Juvenal or Martial, placed on a slab, on either side of which are closed volumes, one inscribed, 'Alas! poor Yorick,' and the other, 'Tristram Shandy.' No doubt this book-plate was engraved in or about the year 1761, when Sterne had bought—as he told a correspondent—seven hundred books, 'dog cheap, and many good,' which he was then busy arranging in the 'best room at Coxwould.' Samuel Rogers's book-plate is in the 'wreath and ribbon' style. William Cowper's is a little later, and shows us a plain shield without the festoon-decoration. His must become a scarce book-plate, for he had but few books—only 177 at his death, and the book-plate does not appear in all; perhaps he began to insert it, but was stopped by loss of reason. Mr. Bolton suggests that the book-plate may be the work of Thomas Park, an engraver who, he reminds us, offered to do anything for Cowper in the way of his art as a labour of love, so much did he appreciate the poet's writings. Byron's book-plate, alluded to elsewhere, is without one remarkable feature; whether or not it is that sent him by the fair admirer already referred to (p. 16) one cannot say. Thomas Carlyle's book-plate was engraved, in 1853, by H. P. Walker.
One might extend a list of celebrities who have used book-plates ad infinitum; but there is no need to attempt that process here, though it might be as well to point out that certain book-plates, inscribed with the names of celebrities, which have induced collectors to speak of them as the book-plates of these distinguished persons, cannot really have been made for them. There is, for instance, an early Chippendale book-plate inscribed 'William Wilberforce,' which is, or perhaps I should say, used to be, constantly spoken of as the book-plate of the famous man who was bold enough to suggest that England's colonies could get on very well without the presence of slavery. Now this book-plate is very little, if any, later than 1750, and the great emancipator was not born till 1759; as a matter of fact it was probably engraved for his grandfather, William Wilberforce of Hull. A great many specimens bear his signature written at the top of the book-plate. Then, to give one more instance, there is the book-plate inscribed 'Capt. Cook,' and in this you are told to see the mark of ownership which the once popular hero placed in the volumes that composed his library; but, so far as the evidence of this book-plate goes, Captain Cook may never have had a library at all. It bears arms highly appropriate to a navigator; but they were not granted to the Cook family till 1785, and, as every reader of travel knows, Captain Cook was murdered in 1779. In all probability this book-plate was engraved for the navigator's son, James Cook, who, in 1793, attained to the rank of commander in the Navy; 1793, be it said, is—to judge from its style and decoration—about the date of the book-plate.
Book-plates of English parish libraries and institutions deserve some notice for several reasons. In these days, when enthusiasm for the erection of free libraries is so great, it is curious to be reminded of the past and long-forgotten efforts of our ancestors to civilise their neighbours by the use of books. Gloomy affairs most of these 'parish' libraries are now! You still sometimes find them locked in a damp vestry, or in a country vicarage, where their existence is a secret to the parishioners, and, indeed, to most other people. The book-plates of some of them are interesting. There is a neat design in the Jacobean style, which shows us the shield divided, and contains on the sinister side two crossed keys, and on the dexter two crossed swords. This is inscribed 'Swaffham Library. T. Dalton, F. Rayner, churchwardens, 1737.' At least two designs for these parish book-plates are by Simon Gribelin. In one, we have St. John in the isle of Patmos; and in the other, an unidentifiable figure kneeling in prayer. To each the artist has placed his initials, 'S. G.,' and both belong to about the same date—1723.
A great many of these parochial libraries were founded early in the last century by Dr. Thomas Bray, during his lifetime, and by a body calling themselves the 'Associates of Dr. Bray,' after his death. It was at Bray's instance that the Act of 7 Anne, 'for the better Preservation of Parochial Libraries,' was passed by Parliament. One of the earliest of the foundations under it was in 1720.
It is probable that the 'Associates' issued book-plates for placing in the volumes of the different libraries established; for there is, in the design, a space left blank for the insertion, with pen and ink, of the name of the particular library using the book-plate. These book-plates generally bear texts or some appropriate words, such as, 'Accipe librum et devora illum' (Rev. x. 9), the scene depicted being St. John, in the isle of Patmos, receiving the book from the angel; or sometimes a reminder to the borrower that he needs to do more than borrow the volume in order to profit by its contents, such as Tolle, Lege, which appears on the book-plate of the parish library of Weobley!
Grotesque heraldry is not often met with in England on genuine book-plates. We have seen that on many examples the decorative accessories of the shield have a certain appropriateness to the owner; besides this, the arms borne have frequently a direct reference to the bearer's name. But grotesque heraldry, such as that which Hogarth was so fond of designing, is certainly rare in engravings prepared for book-plates. There is, however, one example of such heraldry on an English book-plate, which is worth referring to—I mean the very interesting example figured on p. 229. This belonged to the shoemaker-poet, Robert Bloomfield, and certainly the arms upon it are both grotesque and appropriate to the owner, since they commemorate his only really successful literary effort, The Farmer's Boy. Look for a moment at the details, for they repay inspection. A figure on cow-back holding a shoe on the end of a stick, does duty as a crest, two ploughmen act as supporters, whilst the bearings on the shield represent every variety of agricultural implement, every occupant of a farm-yard ordinarily met with, and various tools connected with the owner's craft; besides, on the sinister half of the shield, is a cobbler in an attitude suggestive of his having done full justice to a feast in honour of St. Crispin—not conducted on total abstinence principles. The quarterings also include three open volumes, and across the pages of one is printed 'Farmer's Boy.' The whole—even to its motto, 'A fig for the Heralds'—is most characteristic of Bloomfield, and was engraved for him, in 1813—ten years before his death—by a Cheapside engraver.
With this gathering together of scraps and clippings
I will bring my volume to a close. Most of
what I have said, and a very great deal besides, is well
known to the students of book-plates; but to them,
I fancy, this work is not intended to appeal. It is
meant for the public at large, to the majority of
whom book-plates are unconsidered trifles. To promote
wholesale book-plate collecting in albums and
portfolios is certainly not my intention. If it were,
it would be a very undesirable intention, for so far
as it succeeded it would unquestionably lead to the
wholesale disfigurement and destruction of books,
without regard to their value. What I have aimed
 at is to awaken a wider interest in book-plates, and a wider observation of them in their abiding places, by those who either possess them already, or acquire them hereafter. If I have succeeded in doing this, my work will, I am vain enough to believe, be not altogether unsuccessful; for book-plates possess really an artistic and general interest, which will be heightened the more our stock of knowledge concerning them is increased.
 Among the late Sir Bernard Burke's papers there was discovered a collection of book-plates said to have been formed in Ireland in the middle of the last century; but there is nothing to show that the collection was formed as a collection of book-plates qua book-plates.
 There are two varieties of this book-plate.
 Moore, vol. i. p. 87.
 There are two sizes of this book-plate.
 Report by the Historical MSS. Commission on the papers of the Duke of Rutland.
 A list of some Scottish book-plate engravers, compiled by Mr. J. Orr, is printed in the Ex Libris Journal, ii. p. 41.
 The design has been more recently used by Thomas Gainsford.
 William Oliver's plate from Bibliographica, vol. ii. p. 434.
 Svenska Bibliotek och Ex Libris antecknigar af C. M. Carlander, med 84 illustrationer. Stockholm, 1889, and Supplement, 1891.
 Sixth series, vol. i. p. 2.
 American Book-Plates. By Charles Dexter Allen. Bell and Son, 1895.
 The same remark applies to other book-plates bearing colonial addresses, such as that of 'Isaac Royall, Esq., of Antigua.'
 It may be remarked as curious that William Penn does not, on his book-plate, impale the arms of Hannah Callowhill, to whom he was married in 1695.
 She married, in 1767, the Hon. John Damer, a son of Lord Milton.
 A variety of this book-plate exists on which the inscription reads: 'Anna Seymour-Damer.'
 See Article in Bibliographica, vol. ii. p. 422.
Obvious punctuation errors repaired.
The remaining corrections made are listed below and also indicated by dotted lines under the corrections. Scroll the mouse over the word and the original text will .
Page xv, "Bromhill" changed to "Broomhill" (Birnie of Broomhill)
Page 144, "th" changed to "the" (perhaps the most gloomy)
Page 150, missing marker "1" added to footnote.
Page 184, the inscription on Sir Philip Sydenham's book was moved out of the end of the paragraph to allow the
Page 184, "mathematican" changed to "mathematician" (astronomer and a mathematician)
Page 195, "y" changed to "yet" (and have not yet)
Page 233, "Chadowiecki" changed to "Chodowiecki" and moved to new alphabetical position (Chodowiecki, D. N., 127.)
Page 233, "Maridal" changed to "Maridat" (De Maridat, Peter)
Page 235, "Henault" changed to "Hénault" (Hénault, M.)
Page 235, "I'anson" changed to "I'Anson" (I'Anson, Sir T. B.)
Page 236, this text uses both Jaquéri in the text once and Jacquéri in the index once. The index was changed to reflect what was in the text, but the reader should be aware that the name appears both ways in other texts and often with "Elie" instead of "Eli."
Page 235, "Kaler" changed to "Koler" and move to new alphabetical position (Koler, Susanna)
Page 236, "Linasti" changed to "Linarti" (Linarti, Filippo)
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