Here be Midnight

Friday, 13 April 2012

Ex Libris

A few weeks ago I had a wonderful day visiting Bateman's,  Rudyard Kipling's home and sanctuary in East Sussex. I am almost embarrassed to say how very much at home I felt amidst such overt affluence. There is something about the smell of old buildings such as this, a comforting mustiness that cannot be contrived. The wooden paneling, antique furniture and beautiful textiles ooze handmade craftsmanship, a sense that everything has been slowly, lovingly and patiently coaxed into being. The walls are adorned with beautiful art, bookshelves are filled with tall tales and glass cases and mantles pieces display exquisite curios from the east. It was a magical combination that within minutes lulled me into a sense of peace and tranquility that coloured the rest of my day. I could almost feel serenity take it's place on my face as I ambled around the rooms, holding back the small but noticeable urge to kick my shoes off and slump into an aged chair to listen to the gramophone.

Amongst the many wonders there, and there are many, a couple of  small pieces of rectangular paper took my fancy.  John Lockwood Kipling designed for his children personalised bookplates. 

I have always loved bookplates.  Beautifully decorated front with a deliciously tasty gummed back.  As a child I had a small selection of them given to me as gifts. The process of matching the right book with the right ex libris plate was one I took very seriously.  I would conscientiously make my choice, then with the same attention that I would give my last chocolate easter egg, I would lick the sweet glue and place it on the page. But I could never bring myself to use them all up,  saving the last few for a very special book. As a result I still have the last few even now.

Below is a little bookplate design that came out of my pen one evening. It requires a little photoshopping, something I have never done before.  There are a few dots in places where I would rather they weren't, due to a change of mind as to the technique I was going to use. I feel sure this is just the beginning of many bookplates and I love the idea of doing personalised bookplates for people. In an age of kindle and such electronic devices books are becoming all the more treasured and respected. There are many that have pledged to read the printed word. I am currently looking into the cost of printing these and so they may well be available for purchase in the near future. Size available will be 10 x 7 cm. Commissions for personalised bookplates are welcome, please drop me a line at .

original size 80mm x 105mm


  1. Very nice.You are quite talented.
    Lew Jaffe

  2. Thank you very much. I have just had a quick peek at you blog and will definitely be going back there, an endless source of inspiration.