Wednesday, March 04, 2015

This week in Bookplates 3/4/2015

Timothy Jones, Esqr. By John Titford

How many collectors may have been confused by such a plate? It could so easily be mistaken for an eighteenth-century item, but it was engraved by E.D.French in 1893.  Brainerd* has this to say: `297. Timothy Jones, Esq. A copy, with much variation, of the Samuel Vaughan Esqr plate, engraved as a study of the Chippendale style.' He lists three variations, of which that illustrated here is #297b: `Name partly erased, still traceable'.
*Ref. Edwin Davis French A Memorial by Mary Brainerd French -Page 75

 In The Welsh book-plates in the collection of Sir Evan Davies Jones, Bart., M.P. of Pentower, Fishguard (London, 1920), p.129, Herbert M Vaughan lists a plate for Samuel Vaughan: `Chippendale armorial. Impaling Bond. Father of Benjamin and William Vaughan (vide infra); married Sarah Hollowell of Boston, U.S.A. The coat impaled is undoubtedly Bond, not Hollowell. (Reproduced as an American plate in Allen, p.53).' The reference here is to American book-plates: a guide to their study with examples by Charles Dexter Allen (New York and London, 1894), which has an illustration (p.53) of a plate for `Samuel Vaughan Esqr.' (`a very fine example of good Chippendaleism'); the arms (impaled) are different from those on the Timothy Jones plate, as is the crest, but the design is clearly that which EDF has copied in 1893 (though a year before Allen's book was published).

Note from Lew- The following article currently appearing in The Theatre Historiography Blog has some collecting tips that have served me well.

A Bookplate Collector Shares his Passion–and Strategies
by  on MARCH 3RD, 2015
Ed. Note: Lewis Jaffe runs the website, which features images from his and others’ collections of bookplates used by important figures in the theatre profession as well as in cinema and television.
Bookplates:  why I collect them
I am retired now and devote a good deal of time in pursuit of and learning about new bookplates for mycollection. A client once asked me why people collect? It wasn’t meant to be a trick question but at the time I was at a loss to explain.
Upon reflection the answer which suits me best is that collecting is therapeutic. Sometimes I feel like an archaeologist digging up old artifacts or a detective trying to locate a person. Interestingly enough several entertainers were also notable rare  book collectors. Among them were James Cagney, Jean Hersholt, and George Jessel.
David Garrick
Here are some time-tested ways to obtain bookplates
EBay: When I started this adventure about 45 years ago there was no Ebay, so I built a collection without it. Today Ebay is certainly an excellent way to find bookplates from around the world. It takes time and discipline because there is so much clutter and misrepresentation, but it is still worth the effort.
Bookplate Societies: When I first got interested in bookplates I joined both The American ( and English ( bookplate societies. That gave me an opportunity to meet with and obtain bookplates from other collectors. It still makes good sense to join these organization and exchange bookplates with other collectors.
Antiquarian and used booksellers will go out of their way to help you if you make your interest known to them. It gets harder each year as the number of open shops decreases, and the number of pre-1940’s books on the shelves are decreasing. Nevertheless, it is often productive. Start looking in either the poetry or drama sections as owners of such books seem to have used bookplates more frequently and there is often less turnover of inventory. Ask the bookseller if he keeps a box of detached boards. I have found some excellent 18th century plates in such boxes.
John Gielgud
Michael Redgrave
Bookbinders: In most large communities there is at least one hand bookbinder. Check the Yellow Pages, Google, or ask a book dealer. More often than not they, being pack rats, hold onto old bookplates, and in some instances are more than willing to sell you a cigar box full.
Book and Paper Shows: I have always enjoyed going to shows. After a while, dealers will save things for you. It pays to stop at every booth and ask.
Noel Coward
Angel of Death letters: I am almost (not quite) embarrassed to admit to the fact that I used to look up the ages of bookplate collectors and wrote to all those over eighty to inquire if they knew of any collections for sale. The point is that it was very productive and I’ve purchased several major collections that way.
For the record, I am 77, so do not bother me until 2018!
Letters to Famous People: I've occasionally gotten some remarkable bookplates by writing to celebrities, but I have not had much luck in recent years. Most celebrity mail is filtered by clerks and more often than not you get a signed photo or an auto penned label.
Wylly Folk St. John
Wylly Folk St. John
For those of you wishing to obtain additional information about this topic,  I can be reached at

Upcoming Book Show

I will be attending The 40th annual Washington Antiquarian Book Fair on Saturday March 7th and hope to see some of you .

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