Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Bird Bookplates

“It is with the reading of books the same as with looking at pictures; one must, without doubt, without hesitations, with assurance, admire what is beautiful.”
                                                                                                     ~ Vincent Van Gogh

Wood engraving, bookplate, J. Bieruma Oosting
Wood Engraving
J. Bieruma Oosting, Dutch, b. 1898, d. 1994

Hidden in the basement of the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is Robinson's Fine Prints. If you are a fan of prints, you might want to pay this store a visit. Plan to spend a few hours going through the racks and bins of prints, with prices ranging from just a few dollars to a few thousand. They also have a remarkable collection of books for sale on printmaking and printmakers.

Wood engraving, bookplate, Emil Kotrba
Wood Engraving
Emil Kotrba, Czech, b. 1912, d. 1983

One of the things Robinson's Fine Prints specializes in is bookplates, sometimes called "ex libris", which are usually glued to the inside cover of someone's book to show that it belongs to them. Some book-lovers commission printmakers to create a series of hand-pulled bookplates for their personal library.

Wood engraving, bookplate, Josef Weiser
Wood engraving
Josef Weiser, Czech, b. 1914, d. 1994

Not all bookplates are of birds, of course. I'm just into birds, so these were the ones that caught my eye. The American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers has a website with the history of ex libris and examples of hundreds of designs, and articles about various related topics. Aren't these just wonderful little treasures?

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