This week saw another long thought-of project finally enacted ; making myself a bookplate, also known as an ex libris. Bookplates are small printed labels used to claim ownership of ones books. They have a long history and have been made by commercial publishing houses and prominent artists alike. I started this small engraving this week during a class I was teaching at Megalo Print Studio. It wasn’t initially planned as an ex libris, but for somewhat unknown reasons, I left a dark corner. After proofing, I didn’t like the dark corner and was about to extend the horizontal lines and realised this could be the perfect opportunity to turn it into a bookplate. I was still a little concerned that black corner was a little clunky. After printing a whole bunch of them on Megalo’s lovely Albion Press, I did then extend the lines, and print a bunch of those as well.
While creating and printing the bookplates was fun, the real satisfaction was pasting them into my books today – at least those that I have with me at the moment, which are mostly teaching resources and a few books I’ve been reading recently. One such book to receive its new bookplate today was Jenny Uglow’s biography of Thomas Bewick – himself a prolific creator of bookplates. It’s nice to feel I am continuing a tradition that is a little on the wane.