Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bookplate Artists From Around The World , Daniel Mitsui

I have asked several bookplate artists to send me scans and general information about the bookplates they designed in 2012..The first to respond was Daniel Mitsui.

In 2012, I received six commissions for bookplate designs. The original drawings for these were done with black technical pens on white Bristol board. The drawings were scanned at a high resolution, and transferred via a photo chemical process to copper plates for letterpress printing. 


Exlibris Corey B. French: The central subject in this bookplate is St. Jerome in his study, after the painting by Jan van Eyck. The saint wears a cardinal's garb, and is seated at his desk, which is covered in writing tools, a bookstand, an hourglass and various bottles and jars. More books and scrolls, an astrolabe and a paternoster can be seen in the background. St. Jerome's tame lion is sitting next to the desk. 

My patron requested that I include images of the Virgin & Child, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Thomas of Canterbury and St. Thomas More. I placed these in the corners, and framed the central image in a pointed quatrefoil fitting snugly between them. The small triangular spaces filling out the square have fanciful creatures in them; clockwise, these are a unicorn, a heraldic dolphin, a pig, a monopod, a blemya, a mermaid, a barometz and a green man. 

The Latin quote at the bottom is from St. Augustine: "Too late have I loved thee, O beauty ever ancient and ever new!"

Exlibris Barbara Teresa Shaw: The man who commissioned this commissioned the very first bookplate I ever  designed. Over the past several years, he has had me create bookplates for the various members of his family as well as for his godchildren; each of them have featured the recipent's patron saint. Past designs have shown St. Lucy, St. Francis, St. Columba, St. Dorothy and St. Agnes. This one depicts St. Barbara, a 4th century martyr who was imprisoned in a tower and later beheaded. The bookplate shows her with her familiar attributes: she wears a martyr's crown, and holds a sword and a chalice with a host elevated above it. Her tower is drawn in the background

Exlibris Afsheen Majid: My patron commissioned this bookpalte for his baby daughter. Because the name Afsheen means "shine like a star", I drew a nocturnal lanscape lit by starlight. The Hand of Fatima symbol refers to the midle name Zahra, one of the titles of Mohammed's daughter Fatima. I was asked to include several things that the girl especially likes: trees, ducks and animals with tails.

The artwork was inspired by 16th century Perisan illuminated manuscripts, as well as by European millefleur tapestries. 

Exlibris Kevin G. Rooney: In this one, the central image shows the Saced Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The coats of arms in the corners represent the Rooney family, the Priestly Fraterity of St. Peter, the Crowley family, and the Carmelite Order. 

Exlibris James A. Vogel III: I liked the composition that I invented for the Corey B. French bookplate so much that I used it again for my next two commissions. This one has a central image of St. James the Greater, one of the 12 Apostles. It was based on an anonymous 15th century panel painting.

The bones of St. James were discovered in the 9th century by a miraculous starlight near the northwest coast of Spain. The shrine built to house these relics became one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in Europe. Pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela collected scallop shells from the nearby coast as souvenirs. The pilgrim hat and cloak that the Saint wears in this depiction; the staff and shell that he carries; and the stars, ocean waves and path in the background all refer to this tradition. 

The square images in the corners depict the Virgin & Child in the style of a Russian icon; the coat of arms and motto of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre; a portrait of the French-English poet, essayist and economist Hilaire Belloc; and the coat of arms of the Order of Preachers with a torch-bearing dog, a symbol of St. Dominic. 

Exlibris Andrew Lohrum: This bookplate
depicts an incident from the life of St. Francis of Assisi, in which one of his novices asked to possess his own psalter:

Blessed Francis told him: After you have a psalter, you will desire and want to have a breviary; after you have a breviary, you will sit in a fancy chair, like a great prelate telling your brother: Bring me the breviary! And speaking in this way with great intensity of spirit, he took some ashes in his hand, put them on his head rubbing them around his head as though he were washing it, saying, I, a breviary! I, a breviary!

I thought that this was a particularly clever choice of subject, as it shows a man being rebuked for his pride about the prospect of owning a book. 

I used millelfleur decorative patterns in many of my drawings last year. This is an ornamental fill composed of tiny plants and animals, inspired by 15th century tapestries. Frogs, rabbits, snails, rats, a snake and a genet can be seen in the border of this bookplate. It is formatted like a page in an illuminated manuscript, with wide borders on one side and on the bottom. The bas-de-page shows the famous story of St. Francis meeting the Wolf of Gubbio.

Note from Lew Jaffe- If you wish to contact Daniel Mitsui his email address is 
Danmitsui (at)

See you next Sunday- 

The clock is ticking. If you want to enter the Humorous bookplate contest stop procrastinating.

Only a few weeks left until the contest ends on February 13th

Please submit one bookplate from your own collection. I am not expecting many entries because humorous bookplates are atypical.  That works in your favor if you have something to submit..

Send a scan of your  entry to

At the end of the contest the judges ( Mary & Lew Jaffe) will select the winner. .

The winner will receive an inscribed  hardbound copy of all blog postings for 2012

1/28/2013  Entry # 6 for humorous bookplate contest , sent by Evan Sullivan

Hello Lewis,

I'm not sure if the attached fits into the humour category, but considering humour is pretty subjective . I will submit it for your delectation. This ex libris was made for me by an artist / collector in Israel. His name is Leonid Kuris. He knows I am from Australia. It's humorous, to me, because of the age old myth that kangaroos bound down Sydney streets (ie near the Opera House). Also hilarious/ironic is the fact that a kangaroo has a 'pocket' and in that pocket is a book. My pocket book is often empty because of ex libris collecting. One more bit of humour is the fact that I'm Australian, but living in Saudi Arabia and this ex libris was designed by an Israeli.



1/29/2015 Entry # 7 received from Anthony Pincott

Dear Lew
Here is a small contribution if you would like it.
Rgds, A.
The design pictured here may not be the most beauteous exlibris ever conceived, but it was created both in tribute and pleasure, and deserves to rank high in the present selection of amusing bookplates. Its owner, Brian North Lee (1936-2007), gave a description in his booklet entitled “My Personal Bookplates” (2001) as follows:
“A bookplate just for fun was drawn for me in 1983 by Benoit Junod, showing a diminutive BNL, with pipe in mouth – customary in those days – hand in hand with a rather Amazon Minerva, a big, busty and smiling lass who is opening the door to lead me into “BOOKPLATE PARADISE”. I drag behind me an enormous Chippendale wagon, which is almost as much of an extravaganza as the Duke of Wellington’s funeral carriage, and soon the door’s height will surely deny it entry, but no matter. The Bookplate abounds in personal references, including the titles of my first books; I find it engaging; it needed a shape as exuberant with the strange creatures accompanying; and I fear that Minerva is going to take me on her knee and mother me as soon as we’re on the other side of the door” with admission reserved to only serious collectors.
It’s now six years since Brian, sadly missed, passed through that door, but his extensive contributions to bookplate literature live on. A few copies of this bookplate remain available and can be obtained, priced at £7.50 (UK addresses) or £8.50 (elsewhere), by sending payment to PayPal account

1/29/2013 Entry #8 submitted by fellow bookplate enthusiast Leigh Rutledge

1 comment:

MrCachet said...

Daniel Mitsui - A Time Sink. I haven't even started browsing his site.