Sunday, March 21, 2010
Armorial Ex Libris III
Not unexpectedly the majority of the armorial plates are British. A fine example of the great plates from the 18th century and a typical royal bookplate is one of the ex libris of the great bibliophile Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, (1773-1843). His library at Kensington Palace had more than 50,000 volumes and was sold at auction after his death. One of the volumes, a heraldic book in Latin printed in1606, was sold in Stockholm in 2004. The ex libris shows the royal arms as born 1801-37 with a label of three points and the ribbon and collar of the Most Noble Order of the Garter; above the ducal coronet the royal crest (ill. 5). The motto SI DEUS PRO NOBIS QUIS CONTRA NOS means "If God is for us, who can be against us". There is a blank oval for the shelf mark, common in these days. The plate is signed "Perkins and Heath Hardened Steel Plate", which means that it was engraved in steel by the American engineer and inventor Angier March Perkins, in England from 1827 specialized in banknote engraving.
The most famous British artist of armorial ex libris was Charles William Sherborn (1831-1912). His copper engravings are unsurpassed and a fine example is the plate he made for the Duke of Westminster, Hugh Lupus Grosvenor (ill. 6). The duke was born in 1825, succeeded his father in 1869 as 3rd Marquess of Westminster and was raised in 1874 to Duke of Westminster. He resided at the castle of Eaton Hall at Chester. The plate was engraved in copper in 1884 and shows his full coat of arms with the ducal coronet and the Garter ribbon and collar with "Great George". The motto VIRTUS NON STEMMA means "Virtue, not pedigree".