There’s been a lot of discussion of late about the future of reading and of books as physical objects, but if paper-and-ink reading ever goes the way of the dodo bird (please, please let it not happen), there will be a symbiotic, minor art form that will die as well: the bookplate.
Lewis Jaffe sent me a link to his blog, Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie, thinking I might find it of interest. It’s extremely interesting. I think my favorites artistically are the angular, 1920s modern styles (check out Hart Crane’s) and the science fiction-related styles. The art nouveau (check out Freud’s) and the heraldric styles are nice but perhaps the most familiar to me. Then there are those that sort of defy description. Celebrity bookplates are fun, too.
I have no idea how many people are creating new bookplates nowadays, but where there’s books, there’s hope. (I seem to remember that my friend John Green received a set of bookplates not too long ago.) Anyway, Jaffe’s collection is really worth seeing.
(A reader asked me to include more images — at Likely Stories, we aim to please.)