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Bookplates - Coombe Bissett Down

Coombe Bissett Down

‘For the lender, the greatest concern must be to get his or her book returned in good condition and in good time. One approach, by the writer and hostess Dorothy Nevill, who died in 1913, was to put a sticker inside each volume saying “This book was stolen from Lady Dorothy Nevill”. Flann O’Brien once said page 96 was “the secret page on which I write my name to catch out borrowers and booksharks”.


A bossy lender will record the deed in an imposing ledger or demand a deposit, but will then get a reputation for meanness. You may stick in handsome personalized Ex Libris bookplates, all beautifully engraved and perhaps slyly pretending to be your family’s coat of arms, but your shelves will be stripped bare as soon as word gets round the community of avid and unscrupulous collectors of bookplates.’

Oliver Pritchett on the etiquette of lending and borrowing books, from Slightly Foxed issue 33. There’s no sly coat of arms here, but if you’re in need of some beautifully engraved bookplates to protect your library, may we direct you to our handsome designs by Howard Phipps and Sue Scullard? We can’t promise they will stop the book borrowers, but they might encourage a more prompt return to your shelves. Featured here is Coombe Bissett Down by Howard Phipps.

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