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.


OUR LATEST BOOKS
Our book for 2014/15 was mailed to members in mid-March 2017. Entitled Strawberry Leaves it illustrates the bookplates of many British non-royal dukes and records their family histories. Royal dukes were covered in British Royal Bookplates by Brian North Lee, published in 1992, but we obtained the back stock and issued a copy to every member in June 2013.
Our members book for 2011/12 was on the bookplates of Miss C Helard (see image below right). She was the wife of Arthur Fox-Davies, the great heraldic authority. Standard copies of these and other books can be ordered from the Society (see Publications page). One or two copies of the special edition of the Helard book, with original bookplates tipped-in, remain available. In the pipeline for issue to members in the second half of 2018 (funded by subscriptions for the three years 2016 to 2018) is a 400-page book on bookplates of alumni of St John's College, Cambridge, written by John Titford FSA.


THE FRANKS CATALOGUE IS DIGITIZED AND AVAILABLE ONLINE
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.1 A-G
VOL.2 H-R and
VOL.3 S-W, Bookplates of Institutions, and Heraldic Index .


RECENT CHANGES TO THIS WEBSITE

The listing and images for members auction 83 to be held on 2 December 2017 are available online (see Members Area page).

A webpage has been created, recording bookplates sought by members and others. See recent newsletter.

A project has been launched, requesting the contribution of images of circulating library labels, with the intention of eventual publication as a miscellany of such items, together with booksellers labels. However, there is no link from these webpages because this is work in progress - we do not wish incomplete information and poor, low resolution images to be stolen by internet search engives and image libraries. Please contact our Membership Secretary if you wish to know more about, or participate in, this project.

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.


Spring 2017 journal. Click on image for more detail.

Strawberry Leaves. By Colin Lattimore, this is  the Society's members' book for 2014-2015. Copies now available, also in hard boards.

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 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).

© The Bookplate Society 2005-2017