What is a Bookplate or Ex Libris?

Most people who are familiar with the world of books will be familiar with bookplates. Traditionally, they are the printed labels pasted into books to show the name of the owner, whether to ensure that a borrowed book is returned or simply to mark the volume as one's own.

This label could simply be the name of the owner. On the other hand, it could be highly decorative and display the heraldic arms, interests or a place, object or person that is important to the owner. Other bookplates have an image that is a visual pun on the name of the owner. The words Ex Libris are simply the use of latin to establish the ownership of the book. They are a common form of wording on the label and many people refer to them as Ex Libris, rather than bookplates.

Many bookplates that are commissioned today are not intended for pasting into books. They are produced solely for the leasure of owning them and for exchange with other collectors. The links section of this Website will help you find out more about the history of bookplates.

My Interest in Bookplates

My primary interest in bookplates is that I am a wood engraver and design and print bookplates. I am also a collector with a growing enthusiasm for bookplates. The first example that I owned was a simple printed label in a book from the library of Ernest Shackleton, the polar explorer. I then acquired several bookplates produced by fellow wood engravers and these became the begining of my modest collection.

See a Gallery of Bookplates that I have Created

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