Ex Libris

May 12, 2011

Art and books go together like … hmmmm … milk and honey. Where did that come from? I’ve never even had milk and honey! Doesn’t sound that appealing either.  PB & J perhaps. Rogers and Astaire? You get the idea.  Whether beautifully illustrated or fronted by a gorgeous cover, bound words are always enhanced by well chosen art. The British Museum is about to release a wonderful book featuring art in the form of Bookplates. Bookplates or Ex Libris  (literally “from the books of …”)  are the sophisticated book treasurer’s approach to declaring ownership of a book.  I may scribble my moniker inside the front cover but am inspired by this book and the wonderful discoveries I made (I’ll share below) to embrace the Ex Libris and add a little sophistication, or whimsy, to my library.

Ex Libris – The Art of Bookplates by Martin Hopkinson accompanies the upcoming exhibit at the British Museum of an archived collection of bookplates.  When printing presses led to the availability of books for the first time for personal libraries books were treasured, and valuable, possessions. Labeling the books was important and also became an opportunity to show respect for the book by decorating it with beautiful miniaturised fine art. Here are a few of the historic samples: (click on the link to the book title above to see more)



I thought I’d take a cruise around the web and see what modern versions were available. Be still, our hearts – there are some lovelies out there! I’ve narrowed it down to two of my favourite sites – click on the name to be swept off to the shop. Have fun!

From Felix Doolittle:



From Oiseaux:

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