Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Bookplate by C. W. Sherbourn

This is one of the finest bookplates that I own. It is a large (154 x 91mm) plate engraved on copper by Charles William Sherbourn, undoubtedly the greatest engraver of his time. It is dated 1893 in the plate and signed by the artist in pencil.

It was engraved for the Burlington Fine Arts Library and it truly magnificent. Not only is it staggering to behold in its entirety, it also repays close attention through a lens. Here is a detail. Click on the image to enlarge it.

I have a small number of bookplates engraved by Sherbourn. He produced about 350 of them, mainly between 1881 and 1912, and they are regarded as being his finest achievement. He was also a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and was a founder member of the Society of Painter-Etchers.

Here is a smaller plate for Constance Penn of Taverham Hall, Norwich, dating from 1900. The detail is quite remarkable, especially the tiny musical score. The lettering on the scroll in the design is also very fine.