Saturday, February 21, 2009

Collector Profile John Titford /A Pair Of Hearts

Occupation : I am a professional genealogist * and writer who lives in Derbyshire, England.

A sound working knowledge of heraldry has helped me in my bookplate quest.

My wife Heather and I spend many happy hours around the kitchen table, using copies of Papworth's Ordinary and other printed, manuscript and Internet sources in an attempt to identify anonymous heraldic bookplates.

Collecting Interest : I am a passionate and enthusiastic collector of the bookplates of the

American designer E D French

and am always keen to add plates or related ephemera to my EDF collection.

Other artists of interest include Americans (J W Spenceley, S L Smith, A N MacDonald) and Brits (C W Sherborn, G W Eve).

* After John submitted his profile I asked him to add a brief description of the ways he can assist bookplate collectors. The following is his response:

I can help you Identify your mystery plates and compile biographies of their owners! I am happy to undertake consultancy work in matters concerning British heraldry and genealogy. Hourly charges are UK£40.00, and queries should be addressed to

Please tell me all you know about each bookplate so far, and attach a scan of the plate(s) in question.

Dr. Norman Shaftel (1915-1998) was a graduate of The University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. He was a medical historian and a book collector. His wood engraved bookplate was designed by Ernest Huber

I am of the opinion this is a double punning plate for two reasons : The shield with the heart does not appear in my reference book (Fairbairn's Crests) so I have to assume it was made up by Rev. Hart to be a pun. The crudely drawn deer (hart) might also have been an additional pun.

Rev. Hart lived in Richmond Virginia in the early 1800's so this is probably one of the earliest American punning plates.
Mr. Joseph McMillan, The director of research at The American Heraldry Society was kind enough to respond to my inquiry about the Hart plate as follows:
"You wouldn't find the shield with the hearts in Fairbairn's Crests because it isn't a crest. The crest is the hart (deer) standing on top of the helmet. These arms are given in Bolton's American Armory, citing this bookplate as the source. They are clearly punning, or what are called "canting" arms, both as to the shield and as to the crest, although that doesn't mean the Rev. Mr. Hart originated them himself, since such puns are one of the most common sources of armorial design going back centuries.To determine whether the arms are of British or Irish origin or were devised and adopted unilaterally would require some digging in armorials, not collections of crest. The most useful of these is Papworth's Alphabetical Dictionary of Coats of Arms Belonging to Families in Great Britain, known as Papworth's Ordinary because it is arranged by the principal charge on the field. Papworth is available through Google Books, and it doesn't include these arms. That means they probably wouldn't be in Burke's General Armorial, either, since Papworth is basically an index to Burke. See our pages on England and Scotland on researching ancestral arms, for the other English and Scottish references that are available. Unfortunately I haven't done Ireland yet, but contacting the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland may yield information as to whether the arms appear in the Irish records."

New Bookplate Exhibit


I received this email earlier in the week and thought some of you might wish to participate.

"Dear Mr. Lewis Jaffe,
Thank you kindly for your interest in our bookplate project. I am co-curating with Niki Litts of the Kinston Arts Center and Professor Sarah Faris (Virginia Commonwealth University).
We have about 15 artists committed at this time and are taking submissions in an ongoing process.
Thanks kindly for your interest! Any assistance you might offer would be most appreciated.
- Charles Philip Brooks
Call to Artists / Printmakers / Works on Paper - "Ex Libris" Collaboration This is an ongoing call for printmakers and artists who make drawings or other works on paper!
A Collaborative exhibition of Ex Libris - (bookplate designs). This exhibition will be collaborative - with artists paying their own shipping and framing costs. We do have several venues expressing interest in hosting, including the Kinston Art Center in North Carolina. In addition, we are planning to document this exhibition in catalogue form. All styles and printmaking techniques will be considered - Although we do confess a preference for woodcut, linocut, etching, drawing and various traditional printmaking techniques.
Please feel free to get in touch if interested - Designs may be sent to: "A Gray Day Fine Art"- re: Ex Libris 122 North Church Street Rocky Mount, NC 27804 or email
(Please put "Ex Libris" in your subject line.)"
See you next week .

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