Ex Libris, a Latin phrase meaning from the books. The bookplate was developed when mass ownership of books became common, after the first printed books in the fifteenth century. Early bookplates depicted a coat-of-arms. In the late middle ages and Renaissance, heraldry became a developed discipline. Heraldry is the art of representing coats-of-arms. It was developed to distinguish individuals in battles and jousts. Eventually bookplates evolved to include initials, monograms, hobbies, pets, interests, etc.
In the first of this series, I have pulled out some examples courtesy of the Pratt Institute Libraries, Special Collections. These examples show restraint and effective use of negative space. The simplicity of this doorknocker example is wonderful.
Amazon.com recently announced that for the last three months, sales of ebooks for the Kindle outnumbered sales of hardcover books. Are we to add the bookplate to the endangered species list?