Ex Libris Botanica Prints

Ex Libris Botanica Prints

16.00

Artist prints of herbal bookplates. These are MISPRINTS from a series of bookplates designed by a team of talented illustrators. They were intended to be printed as a small booklet, but a fortunate accident left us with 6.75 x 9.5in prints. This beautiful series includes 19 original illustrations printed by risograph onto cotton paper.

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Nobody likes to lose a book, and before the creation of offset and digital printing, even before Gutenberg developed moveable type, losing a book—an object requiring countless hours of labor to create—must have been a devastating thing. To deter thievery and encourage lost books back to their owners, people have developed various methods of inscription and identification. The earliest known marks representing book ownership date back to 1390 BC in Egypt. In the Middle Ages, book curses were commonly found in the front of books. A more lasting tradition has been the inclusion of a name or insignia in the front of a valued tome. Historically this has taken the shape of a simple name, a book rhyme, or a book plate.  ¶The first known printed book plates date to 15th century Germany. The German tradition of book plates was rich, including the work of artists like Albrecht Dürer. The practice spread to France, England, and America in the 17th and 18th centuries. The content of plates varied, but often involved a personal device, portrait, or image, the words ex libris, exlibris, or from the library of, and sometimes more elaborate instructions for the return of wayward books. ¶Collectors of historical book plates note their significance as art historical objects, and many famous writers and thinkers had a bookplate engraved to mark the contents of their libraries. As a modern bibliophile, history nerd, and printmaking enthusiast, I have always been fascinated by book plates—from the delicacy of Dürer’s to the richness of Art Nouveau examples—there is even a humorous subgenre of naughty book plates for particularly… special books in one’s library.  ¶Inspired by all of these things, I reached out to several illustrators who also happen to be plant enthusiasts and we worked together to create a unique and original set of ex libris plates. Consistent with the history of book plates, these are intended to be small, collectable pieces of art as much as they are intended to be used to mark your favorite books. Many thanks to the illustrators for sharing their talent, and to Ali Leeds Chavez for assistance in printing this volume.