Ex Libris Prints

Most people are familiar with commercially printed bookplates with a picture, followed by the name of the owner: "from the library of . . ." . Underneath this purely practical use lies the long history of a specialized art form dating back as far as the 13 th century. Some of the most famous artists in the past five centuries have let their imaginations have free reign designing these miniature prints. Besides images relating to the life and pastimes of the book-collectors who commission them, ex libris prints often explore themes of eroticism, surrealism, religion and mythology.

Albrecht Dürer is known to have engraved at least six plates. More recently artists such as Audrey Beardsley and Rockwell Kent have contributed their own examples. Many of the currently active ex libris artists are in Eastern Europe, where the form originally flourished.