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BOO K-P BATES

fluous. From the middle of the century, however, the ex-libris proper became quite naturalized; examples of that period are very numerous, and, as a rule, are very handsome. It may here be pointed out that the expression ex-libris, used as a substantive, which is now the recognized term for book-plate everywhere on the Continent, found its origin in France. The words only occur in the

Ejc Libru PeU~t Slntonu (poiwcrs Land one nsb N•

character of its own in England. As a matter of fact, thenceforth until the dawn of the French Revolution, English modes of decoration in book-plates, as in most other chattels, follow at some years’ distance the ruling French taste. The main characteristics of the style which prevailed during the Queen Anne and early Georgian periods are:—ornamental frames suggestive of carved oak, a frequent use of fish-scales, trellis, or diapered patterns, for the decoration of plain surfaces; and, in the armorial display, a marked reduction in the importance of the mantling. The introduction of the scallop-shell as an almost constant element of ornamentation gives already a foretaste of the Rocaille-Goquille, the so-called “Chippendale ” fashions of the next reign. As a matter of fact, during the middle third of the century this “Rococo” style (of which the Convers plate (Fig. 4) gives a tolerably typical sample) affects the book-plate as universally as all other decorative objects. Its chief element is a fanciful arrangement of scroll and shell work with curveting acanthus-like sprays—an arrangement which in the examples of the best period is generally made asymmetrical in order to give freer scope for a variety of countercurves. Straight or concentric lines and all appearances of flat surface are studiously avoided; the helmet and its symmetrical mantling tends to disappear and is replaced by the plain crest on a “ fillet.” The earlier examples of this “ Chippendale ” manner are tolerably ponderous and simple. Later, however, the composition becomes exceedingly light and complicated; every conceivable and often incongruous element of decoration is introduced, from cupids to dragons, from flowerets to Chinese pagodas. During the early part of George III.’s reign there is a return to greater sobriety of ornamentation, and a style more truly national, which may be called the “Urn ” style, makes its

j?xg. 4.—Book-plate of P. A. Convers, 1762. personal tokens of other nationalities long after they had become a recognized inscription on French labels. In many ways the consideration of the English book-plate, in its numerous “ styles,” from the late Elizabethan to the late Victorian period, is peculiarly interesting. _ In all its varieties it reflects with great fidelity the prevailing taste in decorative art at different epochs. Of English examples, none thus far seems to have been discovered of older date than the gift-plate of Sir Nicholas Bacon; for the celebrated, gorgeous, hand-painted armorial device attached to a folio that once belonged to Henry VIII., and now reposes in the King’s Library, British Museum, does not come under the head of book-plate in its modern sense. The next is that of Sir Thomas Tresham, dated 1585. Until the last quarter of the 17th century the number of authentic English plates is very limited. Their composition is always remarkably simple, and displays nothing of the German elaborateness. They are as a rule very plainly armorial, and the decoration is usually limited to a symmetrical arrangement of mantling, with an occasional display of palms or wreaths. Soon after the Restoration, however, a book-plate seems to have suddenly become an established accessory to most well-ordered libraries. Book-plates of that period offer very distinctive characteristics. In the simplicity of their heraldic arrangements they recall those of the previous age; but their physiognomy is totally different. In the first place, they invariably display the “ tincture ” lines and dots, after the method originally devised in the middle of the century by Petra Sancta, the author of Tesserae Gentilitice, which by this time had become adopted throughout Europe. In the second, the mantling assumes a much moi’e elaborate appearance one that irresistibly recalls that of the periwig of the period—surrounding the face of the shield.. This style was undoubtedly imported from I ranee, but it assumed a

appearance. Book-plates of this period have invariably a physiognomy which at once recalls the decoratie manner made popular by architects and designers such as Chambers, the Adams, Josiah Wedgwood, Hepplewhite, and Sheraton. The shield shows a plain spade-like outline, manifestly based upon that of the pseudo-classic urn then so much to the fore. The ornamental accessories are symmetrical palms and sprays, wreaths and ribbands. The architectural “boss” is also an important factor. In many plates, indeed, the shield of arms takes quite a subsidiary