Jane Mount – “Bookshelves as Portraiture”

July 15, 2010


I confess to an overwhelming desire to peer at people’s bookshelves. I try to do so politely but don’t you agree it’s such fun to see who they cook with, what fiction appeals, where they have traveled or want to travel,  what poets inspire … ?  It’s so revealing and usually leads to great conversation.  Now, I may peek, peruse or flat out ponder a friend’s shelf but I’ve never gone so far as to record its contents.  Talented artist Jane Mount does though and in a most wonderful way. These delightful little scenes capture the colourful spines of special collections. Here are Jane’s own words:

For a while, I’ve been documenting people’s bookshelves as a form of portraiture; you can actually learn a lot about folks by their books’ covers. Now, I’m working on a series of “ideal” bookshelves: sets of favorites in a genre—mine or someone else’s—amalgamated in a picture, even if they don’t usually live on shelves anywhere near each other.

We all show off our books on shelves like merit badges, because we’re proud of the ideas we’ve ingested to make us who we are. We are proud to display what has inspired us, as we should be, and we hope to connect to other people by doing so. When I paint someone else’s bookshelf and they have some of the same books I do, I feel amazingly joyful about it, and about them.”

Jane has a number of her works for sale on her etsy webpage but can also do custom bookshelves –  your bookshelf. Learn how and see some samples of her work:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/janemount  More information and a wide collection of her bookshelf portraits can be found at http://idealbookshelf.typepad.com/ 

Meanwhile, I’m in the midst of trying (it’s been taking me months) to pack up my boys’ baby books and I’m suffering. I end up sitting on the floor reading and remembering all those cozy times when the boys smelled so yummy after a bath and we snuggled up at bedtime with our favourite stack of books. I just can’t part with them.  A painted permanent record of our collection could be just the solution!  


What titles would you have painted together? 

3 Responses to “Jane Mount – “Bookshelves as Portraiture””

  1. Anonymous Says:

    what a beautiful thought for the day! I’m left with so much to think about. I love that the painter exposes our displayed bookshelves as merit badges, but relates no shame to doing so. I love the idea of you capturing your sons books in painting…cause I can only imagine how many memories that painting would hold. Thanks for this.

  2. […] don’t forget earlier “artistic” posts: Jane Mount   and Sophie Blackall  and Alanna Cavanagh.   LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); […]

  3. […] love the artwork of Jane Mount and have shared it here previously. (Visit this blog entry to refresh your memory.) Now Ms. Mount has taken her beautiful bookshelf brushwork to a new venue: […]

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