Posted on: 25 July 2012

The extraordinary world of Ex-Libris Art:

Sometimes ex libris is more valuable than the book containing it.

Ex libris, meaning ‘from the library of’, or ‘from the books of’ is a Latin expression concerning the artform of bookplates - stamps or labels inside books that identify the owner. Ex libris bookplates range from the simple to the decorative and elaborate, the obscure or even bizarre and surreal.

Noble families often used a personal coat of arms or crest, frequently featuring a family motto in their native language or Latin. Naturally, the styling of bookplates changed over time, but most reflected the decorative styles of the day. A vast array of illustrations feature on bookplates - dragons, angels, trophies, animals, birds, children, musical instruments, weapons, floral displays, trees, plants, landscapes and much more.

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And for those who would like to order their own bookplates:

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looks like Harry Clarke's illustration work

We have had ex libris labels on books in our family for 3 generations. Not knowing Latin I always though it meant 'this belongs to the library of'.