Sunday, April 17, 2011

This Week in Bookplates 4/17/2011

It is always a pleasure to find a talented new bookplate designer.I stumbled upon Sue Woollatt's blog and asked her to write something for us and here is her response.:

"I'm new to bookplates, but have been wood engraving for a few years  
and had prints accepted into the Society of Wood Engravers annual  
exhibition in the UK. The seagull seems to crop up in much of my work  
(maybe only small, strutting on a roof or out-staring a local cat )and  
is starting to be a bit of an icon, which is why I chose it for my  
first design.
I love the way bookplates tell something of the person who is named on  
them. Some are very witty and the puns can be terrible! All good stuff.
The story of the making of this bookplate can be seen on my blog here:
Tech Information:
The image size is 2 1/8" (5.4cm) x 3" (7.6cm)
Engraved on maple (next time I'll use box or lemonwood as you can  
engrave finer detail)
Printed on a Farley cylinder galley press using Lawrence's carbon  
black letterpress ink
Paper is Japanese Sunome Senaka"
If you wish to contact Sue Woollatt her email address is 
                      New Information About J.Bel-Chier, Allen #75
Charles Dexter Allen's American Bookplates is the best reference currently
avaialable for the study and identification of 18th American bookplates.
It is ,however,not without flaws.
Fellow collector Anthony Pinncott has done some excellent research about Allen #75.
and has discovered that  Allen was incorrect. Mr. Bel-Chier was  not American.
Here is what Anthony has written:
"Jacobean Armorial Bookplate of J Bel-Chier   Not in Franks, but F.2029 is the impression in black. It dates from about 1730. 
Below the helm is a label for cadency, so the owner of this bookplate was his father's eldest son.
This bookplate was included as #75 in Charles Dexter Allen's American Book-Plates. Allen declares it to be the "plate of the Colonial Governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire 1730-41 (Jonathan Belcher). The arms (says Allen) are the same as borne on the plate of his son Jonathan, except that his plate shows a label for difference. There is also a shortening of the motto in the other plate."
However, according to RR James (whose bookplate collection is at the Royal College of Surgeons), Belchier was a surgeon. This helps us to identify him as the John Belchier (1706-1785) who was at Guy's Hospital 1736-68. He discovered at about the time of his Guy's appointment that the vegetable dye madder stained newly forming bone tissue, opening up the study of the growth and development of the skeleton, which was vigorously taken forward by Henri-Louis Duhamel du Monceau and John Hunter. Belchier was awarded the Copley Medal by the Royal Society in 1737. He was a founding governor of the Foundling Hospital, a charity created by Royal Charter in 1739, and was a member of the Court of Assistants at the Company of Surgeons from 1751 to 1785. [Wikipedia]
The Oxford DNB entry is more extensive:  "John Belchier  (bap. 1706, d. 1785), surgeon, the son of James Belchier, innkeeper and bailiff of Kingston, was born at Kingston, Surrey, and was baptized there on 5 March 1706. He entered Eton College as a king's scholar in 1716. On leaving school he was apprenticed to William Cheselden, head surgeon at St Thomas's Hospital, London. By perseverance Belchier became eminent in his profession, and in 1736 he was appointed surgeon to Guy's Hospital. In 1732 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and his name appears on the list of the council from 1769 to 1772. He contributed some papers to the society's Philosophical Transactions. On Belchier's retirement as surgeon of Guy's Hospital he was elected one of its governors, and also a governor of St Thomas's Hospital. He had an exaggerated reverence for the name of Guy, saying ‘that no other man would have sacrificed £150,000 for the benefit of his fellow-creatures’. In the Gentleman's Magazine for 1743 is the following story:
One Stephen Wright, who, as a patient, came to Mr. Belchier, a surgeon, in Sun Court, being alone with him in the room clapt a pistol to his breast, demanding his money. Mr. Belchier offered him two guineas, which he refused; but, accepting of six guineas and a gold watch, as he was putting them in his pocket Mr. Belchier took the opportunity to seize upon him, and, after a struggle, secured him. (GM, 1st ser., 13, 1743, 50)
A stout but active man, Belchier died suddenly in Sun Court, Threadneedle Street, on 6 February 1785. His manservant had attempted to raise his master but was told ‘No John—I am dying. Fetch me a pillow; I may as well die here as anywhere else’ (Wilks and Bettany, 127). He was buried in the founder's vault in the chapel attached to Guy's Hospital."
                         Mystery Bookplate Charles Ricksher
Here is this weeks mystery bookplate. I purchased it on Ebay from Exeter Rare Books 
The artist's cypher  is enlarged below.
There was a physician in New England who might have been the owner but that is just
speculation on my part. Does anyone out the recognize the Cypher? 
Here is my contact information:

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