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On Monday, December 5, 1836, a report on heraldic book signs was published by his member Rev. Daniel Parsons at the Society of Heraldry and Archeology of the University of Oxford, which was published in the Third Annual Report of the Society on May 31, 1837 goals. This is the first print book about bookplates, which appeared in England after several centuries people in many European countries used these small pieces of paper, their style and technique reflect the spirit and fashion of the era in which they were created. The first bookplates were heraldic, their design obeyed the canons of heraldry. Heraldic bookplates can tell us about the nobility of the owner’s family, his titles, occupation and seniority in the family. Daniel Parsons intended to write The Story of the Bookplate, but, unfortunately, did not live to publish.

The English bookplate of the Tudor era. People began to seriously engage in collecting, and, therefore, the study of bookplate in the second half of the nineteenth century. In 1874, the book French Ex libris was published, by Auguste Poulet-Malassis (1825-1878), and the following year this book with significant additions to the text and illustrations was published in the second edition. England took the baton. In London, in 1880, L. Warren’s book (Lord de Tablay) published a book on the study of bookplates, admirably accepted by English collectors as a reference to the subject and, which undoubtedly gave impetus to the study of bookplates. L. Warren was the first to classify bookplates in “styles”, arranging them in an understandable sequence. Of course, there are criticisms on the terms of the Jacobin and Chippendale styles, but they are accepted, since nothing better has been proposed. The period defined by Lord de Tablay as the early heraldic dates back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and a certain number of signs goes even into the second quarter of the eighteenth century. This is a fairly long time for one group, although the number of characters found is relatively small. This long period is divided into three periods, in accordance with three “styles”, the features of which, although not sharply, but noticeably distinguishable. Under the “style” of the English bookplate of the Tudor era, we mean the decoration of bookplates, reproducing the prevailing taste for the decoration of such things as architectural details, furniture, clothes, jewelry, etc. Taste and fashion had an undeniable influence here. Therefore, book signs could be studied both from a historical point of view and from an aesthetic side, helping to trace the path of development and change of decorative techniques in different periods. Specialists in heraldry and genealogy also find in ex libris a connection between different eras and famous genera. Dated bookplates and those that have recognizable emblems help determine style criteria and record the approximate date of origin of others, unsigned and undated.

Heraldic signs are well classified by the method of forming the coat of arms and the style of its decorative design.

Early heraldic:

Tudor style from the first English printed characters to the second quarter of the seventeenth century (1590-1625);
Caroline style, following the “Tudor” until the restoration of the monarchy in England (1625-1660);
the style of “Restoration of the monarchy”, limited to the last four Stuarts (1660-1700).

style “Jacobin” (early Gregorian);
Chippendale style (Middle Gregorian);
Garland, urn style. (late gregorian)
Modern armorial (nineteenth century).

Chronologically, all styles overlap to some extent. Old tastes in decoration were further developed.

Colors on the coat of arms are indicated by lines or dots. For example, vertical lines expressed red color. Dots denoted gold, etc. Who invented this system is not so important. It is interesting for us when it began to be used in heraldry, again in order to determine the approximate dates for the production of bookplates. But sometimes the lines were used only as a hatch or to achieve darker shades. For example, in the ex-libris of Francis de Molherbe (Fig. 1), which was probably engraved at the beginning of the 17th century. De Maleb himself said that on his coat of arms there was a silver shield, six red roses and black ermines. It is clear that in this case the colors of the lines do not mean anything at all.

Later, hand-painted emblems and initials were used to indicate ownership, but they are not considered to be bookplates in the full sense. However, one of them, the sign of Cardinal Wolsey, deserves attention (Fig. 2). This is not a printed bookplate in the usual sense, but a carefully executed sketch of the cardinal’s coat of arms and hand-painted. How many such signs were unknown, but this is undoubtedly an ex libris, since it is pasted on a book belonging to King Henry VIII, which is now in the British Museum.

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