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An artistic book-plate is the expression in decorative illustration of the tastes of the owner, and properly, made by an artist who can sympathetically realize the feeling desired. It may express one or two salient characteristics, of temperament, habits or pleasures of its owner. There are innumerable ways in which to make such a book-plate, and as each one of us has some trait not common to all, the aim of the artist should be to embody same in decorative form, simple and direct, the simpler and more direct the more satisfying the result. In other words, one should not set the artist an impossible or aesthetically distasteful problem to solve; but recognizing the fact that in matters of composition and technique the artist is usually the better equipped, after suggestive initial directions give to him absolutely free play. The real book-plate is a matter of genuine inspiration, at least it should be made so, and its charm, value or utility depends as much on the artist as on the individual who desires it. It should be planned with care and executed with feeling, and like no other book-plate in that it shall possess some feature that is private and personal.
Bookplate design, Elisha Brown Bird
Bird, Elisha Brown, "A booklet devoted to the book plates of Elisha Brown Bird, being a collection printed in photogravure" (1907). Books and Publications. 34.