Could there be a better bookplate for January?
It has taken several months, but I’ve now checked most of the books around here for good bookplates. This one takes the prize.
Fred and Emilie were “my kind of folk;” I want to be in that rocker by that fire, with them for company, whoever they are or were. I like the brick apron in front of the fireplace, too; the small fire-place that surely is a Rumford that throws the heat out into the room; the massive chimney that stores the heat; the brass dogs and set of tools.
Who built the house? Who picked out, dragged home, split, fit, and finished that log for the mantel? Just think: you could grab ahold of one of those home-fashioned corbels while leaning over to stir the fire and at the same time enjoy the classical-Roman look of that big finial, or cap, on the fire-box. That finial looks slotted, as though designed to let more warmth into the room from the back of the fire-box. Think that’s what it is?
And is that a globe on the mantel? It bears a design that might be North and South America. It looks a bit smushy, though, up there in the shadows. Think that is an artifact of the woodcut technique?
The bookshelves sag to one side, and Fred and Em would certainly have more volumes spilling out all over, including lying horizontally on top of the others, not just to keep them off the floor but also to keep things organized by subject. And they would want them handy to the fireplace and the rocker. What are they reading tonight?
This 1904 true-life thriller has for complete title Pathfinders of the West, Being the Thrilling Story of the Adventures of the Men Who Discovered the Great Northwest: Radisson, La Vérendrye, Lewis and Clark. So of course it starts off with the fur country: trees, wolf-howls through crystal skies, sleds and sled dogs, and lots of snow and ice! We need blankets for our rocking chairs. You just sit right there, honey, I’ll throw on another log.
I don’t know who Roger Hirsch is or was, but I love him just the same. Look at the bookplate he chose for his copy of the Modern Library’s Sixteen Famous British Plays! I hope he read plays aloud at home, and with friends.
The spectacular hat of this dwarf I suspect has two horns, like a jester hat. What think you? The book under his arm has those plates at the corners, bison leather or metal, and a cover that looks like deeply-embossed leather or maybe wood. What is he reading? Every thing about him is just as gnomish as it ought to be, with pebbles underfoot, mushrooms sprouting up, gnarled trees; patches on his clothes, – and reading glasses!?!
And then the frame has the most wonderful creatures all haloed about with vines! Up top we have Chuck and Nancy, then a bear, a rooster, a reindeer or some such, a giraffe, some kind of bird (those who can see birds, please identify it,) a superlative ram, another bird (mayhap a heron?) a leaping rabbit, and a woodpecker. Our cares amount to nothing when there are such books to be read and such friends to be met.
This is not a bookplate at all, but a painting by Heinrich Schlitt (fl. 1870s.) It is Gnom mit Zeitung und Tabakspfeife (Gnome with Newspaper and Tobacco Pipe.) The gnome is sitting under a mushroom and looking up at a jar, and in the jar is a frog. What this means I leave for you to determine. Stare into the lovely warming flames of the fire and figure it out.
Those blue flowers on the left we have around here; we call them Bluebells of Scotland. If spring comes, they will start up again at the front of the house.
Christmas 1898 – Aunt Rimmie to Leon H. Teitenberg. Why, thank you, Aunt Rimmie! The Treasure of the Seas is the perfect gift for a lion-hearted lad in 1893. Check the first part of the Table of Contents:
A Mast in Mid-ocean! Buccaneers! Spanish Galleon! Leon, your friends will want to borrow this book. You had better put a bookplate in it. Oh, look, so he did: