20189051911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 11 — Frontispiece

FRONTISPIECE (through the French, from Med. Lat. frontispicium, a front view, frons, frontis, forehead or front, and specere, to look at; the English spelling is a mistaken adaptation to “piece”), an architectural term for the principal front of a building, but more generally applied to a richly decorated entrance doorway, if projecting slightly only in front of the main wall, otherwise portal or porch would be a more correct term. The word, however, is more used for a decorative design or the representation of some subject connected with the substance of a book and placed as the first illustrated page. A design at the end of the chapter of a book is called a tail-piece.