The Society's Publication Programme
As practically no two members of the society have exactly the same exlibristic
interests, the editors of its publications have to ensure that there is a variety
of subject matter in its publishing programme. The annual members' books have
ranged across a wide range of topics over the years and will continue to do so: the
2003 book was on some bookplates of heralds, that of 2004 researched parochial libraries,
the 2005 book covered all bookplates in the trophy style, while for 2006 a history of Scottish
Bookplates was issued. The 2007/8 book East Anglian Ex-Libris, by John Blatchly FSA, is
a sequel to his 2000 book on Norfolk and Suffolk ex-libris.
For 2009/10 we circulated to members
Karen Livingstone's new book on The Bookplates and Badges of C.F.A. Voysey, published by the Antique Collectors Club.
For 2011/12 we issued to members The Heraldic Bookplates of Miss C. Helard, by Colin Lattimore. It deals with
designs by the wife of heraldic authority Arthur Fox-Davies. A book will follow on the ex-libris of people who
were notable in the history of the British Isles. We also look forward to
learning about Welsh Bookplates, a hitherto neglected area of study; the text
is in preparation by our member Tom Lloyd, drawing on his own collection and on the holdings at
the National Library of Wales.
The Bookplate Journal was relaunched in 2003
in a much improved and enlarged format, and continues to publish articles on a wide variety of subjects
with a balance being maintained as far as possible between studies of the older armorial
style of bookplates and the more modern pictorial seam. Contemporary work from home and
abroad finds its place too. A substantial portion of each issue of the Journal is
reserved for notes, queries, answers, reviews, etc. in order to ensure that ideas and
information of a less weighty kind can be disseminated freely. Details of the contents of
recent issues of Bookplate Journal are given on the News and Events page and a fuller list is given
here. The last
twenty years have seen a multiplicity of documentation in the field of bookplate research
and this, happily, continues at present with arguably even greater activity than before.
The Bookplate Society Image Bank
During the course of a year many bookplates are scanned for reproduction
in the society's publications, principally the Bookplate Journal and the
annual members' book. Rather than simply discard these images they are now
being stored on CD for future reference. A database enables browsing of the
images (at low resolution) and searching for specific owners, styles, dates,
engravers, or, indeed, any subject heading that is included in the recorded
data. Illustrations are increasingly provided from original bookplates, with
recourse to good quality photocopies when necessary, so the images available
in the database, scanned at 300dpi, are of reproduction standard. The image
bank is presently quite small but is growing steadily, with the eventual
intention being to make the searchable database available on the internet.
Union Catalogue of British Bookplates
A database of British bookplates is being complied by Anthony Pincott, to appear
eventually on CD-ROM. The main steps in this project are the digitisation of the
Franks Catalogue (almost complete), the cataloguing of bookplates in the Viner
Collection, the integration of entries compiled by Dr J. S. Pearson (whose bookplates
are now at Yale), the inclusion of bookplates in other public and private hands, and
the cross-referencing to bookplate literature. The intention is to include such
biographical, heraldic and topographical information as comes to hand. This major
undertaking will result in a single database holding records of some 80,000 British
and American bookplates. Publication is not expected before 2009 at the earliest. It is hoped
that this valuable tool will in later years facilitate the cataloguing of other
collections by reference to this database, and to the discovery of many additional
examples for inclusion.
In August 2006 at the International Exlibris Congress in Nyon, Switzerland, Anthony Pincott gave an
illustrated talk entitled Creating an ex-libris database: the example of the Franks Collection at the British Museum.
This is now available at FISAE Talks.
Until such time as the above databases can be made available, requests for searches and
for images of bookplates will be handled on an ad hoc basis as a service to members. This
is also available to non-members, for which a modest charge may possibly be made.