Most Slightly Foxed readers, we suspect, have some irritating gaps on their bookshelves left by favourite titles lent and never returned. Our regular contributor Oliver Pritchett addressed this problem back in SF Issue 33, offering readers some elementary do’s and don’ts of book etiquette, writing:
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 . . .
A personal bookplate is an elegant and practical way of solving this problem and gives the book itself a special interest, identity and provenance. But commissioning an original bookplate is costly, and with this in mind, we’re offering readers the opportunity to acquire a personalized yet affordable bookplate featuring a wood engraving by two of our favourite engravers, Howard Phipps and Sue Scullard.
Our bookplates are printed to order on fine Italian Fabriano acid-free paper by Anthony Eyre at The Letter Press in Cirencester. They are not gummed and will last for years, making them an ideal Christmas, christening, graduation or wedding present, or provide an excellent incentive to do that sort-out of your own books that you’ve long had in mind.
There are eight charming engraved scenes to choose from, with a space on which the individual reader’s name will be printed. Read on to browse designs and read Oliver’s article.