Thursday, 20 October 2011

Commissioning A Bookplate


I hope that this guide to commissioning a bookplate (ex libris) will answer any questions that you have. However, please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss any aspect of the process. Please note that my work is in great demand and there is always a waiting list but I will try to accommodate you if you need a bookplate by a particular date. However, I must emphasise that no part of the process can be rushed.

As far as possible, I will try to give you an idea when to expect your finished bookplate.

The Design

I will be pleased to include any subject that you choose in the design of the plate. Some
clients already have a clear idea of the composition; others prefer to work with me to
develop the design. I do like to involve you in the process. If you have seen an engraving of mine that you particularly like, I should be able to make a bookplate for you in a similar style.

To start with, it is useful for me to know something of the interests of the person who will
receive the plate. Some bookplates involve a single theme; others show several different
facets of a person but I do warn against trying to include too many elements.

Here is a separate website that shows a gallery of many of the bookplates that I have engraved. You might get some ideas from your own bookplate by looking through these. CLICK HERE


Another decision is to decide on the lettering that will be used. Some people like the
traditional use of the phrase “Ex Libris” before the name. Others just want the name itself.
Other possibilities include a phrase in English, such as “This book belongs to”, or just the
initials of the owner.

Planning The Design

I normally make a few different small sketches for you to see. At first, these will be rough sketches in pen or pencil to give you an idea of possible compositions.

If you like one in particular, we can develop that until you are happy with the final drawing. This will be in pen and ink.

I then transfer the design to a block of English boxwood and start to engrave.
I usually include my initials as a discrete part of the design.

When I have finished the engraving, I will ink the block and print a “proof” in the press. I
will use this to make any final adjustments before printing the number of plates that are

The Paper

PLEASE NOTE that my bookplates are printed in the traditional fashion onto
high quality acid-free paper., normally a mould made paper from the Zerkall Mill which takes impressions from engraved blocks particularly well I do not use gummed paper. The plates have to be pasted in; instructions can be found on my website.

If you want self-adhesive "peel and stick" bookplates, I can provide these via a company in the US. Contact me for further details. These bookplates would not be printed from the woodblock.

The Block

Please also note that the engraved block will normally remain in my archive. I will happily
print additional copies for you in the future. If you prefer to own the block outright, please let me know at the time of commissioning.

The Cost

The cost of designing and engraving also includes 100 hand printed and trimmed bookplates and ten signed and numbered proofs printed on larger paper. The cost depends on the size of the image.

1. Booklabel

These are 25 x 50mm and show the name with a small amount of decoration
GBP 225.00

2. Small Pictorial Bookplate

These are 50 x 50mm and combine text and image
GBP 375.00

3. Standard Pictorial Bookplate

These are 75 x 50mm and combine text and image
GBP 495.00

4. Large Pictorial Bookplate
These are 100 x 75mm and combine text and image
GBP 890.00

Please note that the above bookplates can be different shapes as long as the total area
remains the same. I am very happy to quote for other sizes.

Postage and Packing

The posting of the small packet containing your bookplates is charged at cost. It is a sensible precaution to be able to track the package so I will normally choose this option.

Cost Of Printing Additional bookplastes

100 bookplates printed from the original woodblock costs £50
200 “ “ “ “ £90
300 “ “ “ “ £130
400 “ “ “ “ £170

I am happy to quote for larger numbers, if required.


I am also very happy to sign and number up to 100 of the bookplates at no extra charge.

Other Extras

You may also buy the final signed artwork for the bookplate for £65 (unframed).


Payment is to be in Sterling. I prefer a direct bank transfer  but Paypal is also an option.
I am also able to accept a Sterling cheque.

If you are a new client, I may ask for a deposit at the beginning of the design process, or a part payment when I start to engrave your bookplate.

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