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Bookplates, also known as ex-libris, have since the 15th century been placed in books to declare ownership. Many artists, some famous such as William Hogarth, Aubrey Beardsley and John Piper, have designed bookplates, and many significant people (e.g. Samuel Pepys and Rudyard Kipling) have used them, but a personal bookplate has been available to anyone owning a library and wishing to place in the books a printed design as a mark of possession.

Founded in 1972, The Bookplate Society is the direct des-cendant of the world's first such organisation, the Ex Libris Society, 1891-1908, and its creation and successor, the Bookplate Exchange Club. So in 2012 we celebrated the Society's 40th anniversary. Our purpose is to encourage the production, use, collecting, and study of bookplates. We achieve this through our publications, members' auctions, visits to collections, social events, talks, and exhibitions.

DR JOHN M BLATCHLY (1932-2015)
With great sadness we report on the News/Events page that with the passing of our President we have lost a highly valued contributor to the life and publications of this Society.

The News and Events page of this website has details of the book issued to members in June 2013: British Royal Book-
by Brian North Lee, published in 1992. Our publication issued to members for 2011/12 was on the bookplates of Miss C Helard (see image to right). She was the wife of Arthur Fox-Davies, the great heraldic authority. Copies of both books can be ordered by non-members. One or two copies of the special edition of the Helard book, with original bookplates tipped-in, remain available. Our book for 2013/14 is currently in preparation - entitled Strawberry Leaves it will cover the bookplates of British non-royal dukes and their libraries.

Library staff in Toronto have earned our warmest thanks by converting into digital form the Catalogue of the Franks Collection of British and American Bookplates in the British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings. Rather than paying out £400 or more for ever-scarcer copies of this important reference work, you can now find it online. Each of the three volumes can be downloaded free of charge, without copyright restriction, in PDF format, which is partly searchable, or in a choice of several other formats. Alternatively, you may flip through the pages online (but not downloadable).
The links to the three volumes are:
VOL.2 H-R and
VOL.3 S-W, Bookplates of Institutions, and Heraldic Index .


The list for the members auction to be held on 16 April 2016 is available online, together with images of all the items on offer (see Members Area page).

It is worth mentioning that there exists a vibrant market in bookplates on eBay but be aware that descriptions of exlibris may not always be accurate, especially as regards dating of bookplates, their condition and the attribution of ownership.

Our latest journal. Click image for more detail.

John Blatchly (1932-2015)

The Bookplates of Miss C Helard, wife of heraldic authority Arthur Fox-Davies. By Colin Lattimore, this is  the Society's members' book for 2011-2012. Copies are available.
In memoriam: This website was realised thanks to a
grant from the fund generously established to the memory
of our former member, Darlene J Butler (1939-89).

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© The Bookplate Society 2005-2016