American Art Posters of the 1890s


Selections from a 1987 Metropolitan Museum of Art exhbition catalogue which features many more colour plates. My choices gravitate as usual to the American Beardsley, Will Bradley. The other artists here are EB Bird (above) and Louis Rhead, both of whom also produced bookplate designs (see here and here).


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Title pages


Ghost Stories and Phantom Fancies (1858) by James Hain Friswell.

The vast repository of copyright-free images from the British Library is still being sifted into Flickr sets. These are a few examples from a set of 786 title pages which range from elegant book plates to Dime Westerns and Penny Dreadfuls. A Plunge into Space is a science-fiction novel about a journey to the planet Mars in a spaceship called The Steel Globe. Robert Cromie was also the author of A New Messiah (1901), and The Crack of Doom (1895). The latter—which has some great chapter titles: The Universe A Mistake!, The Murder Club, A Telepathic Telegram—may be read here.


Vom Amazonas und Madeira (1874) by Franz Keller-Leuzinger.


Yorkshire Rivers. Reproduced from The Yorkshire Weekly Post (1890) by Tom Bradley.


A Plunge into Space (1890) by Robert Cromie.


Idylls of the King (1898) by Alfred Tennyson. Illustrated by George and Louis Rhead.

Previously on { feuilleton }
A Trip to Mars

Koloman Moser bookplates


Ex libris Fritz Waerndorfer (1903).

I could happily post things by the indefatigable Koloman Moser (1868–1918) all the time but he’s not exactly an unknown figure even if his work does get overshadowed by his colleague in the Vienna Secession, Gustav Klimt. This handful of ex libris plates almost all date from the Secession period, and include one for Adele Bloch-Bauer, a woman whose name is familiar these days for her being the subject of a very well-known Klimt portrait.


Ex libris Fritz Schwartz (1900).


Ex libris Rudolf Steindl (1900).

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Erotic bookplates by Franz von Bayros


Tuesday’s bookplate post included a rather mild example by Franz von Bayros (1866–1924), the greatest pornographic artist of his generation. Quite by accident I found a substantial collection of his work earlier this week that includes more bookplates.

Von Bayros is far better known today than he would have been during his lifetime when his explicit rococo prints and drawings were available only to collectors. Erotic couplings of any variety quickly become repetitive so the Von Bayros approach was to make a feature of the decor and design, creating elaborate frames and decorative embellishments where the tiniest details emphasise the theme. Alan Moore once described this process to me as “fractal porn”, something you can see at work in these bookplates which are part of a substantial cache at This is the best collection of Von Bayros art I’ve seen anywhere, quality copies for the most part, in with what appear to be complete sets from each of his illustrated editions. Whenever I look at this artist’s work I think it’s a shame he wasn’t gay. But then as Osgood says at the end of Some Like It Hot: “Nobody’s perfect!”



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German bookplates


A selection from Das Moderne Deutsche Gebrauchs-Exlibris (1922) edited by Richard Braungart, an overview of the practioners of the bookplate form in Germany and Austria during the first decades of the 20th century. Some of the German and Austrian art magazines featured here over the past couple of years included bookplate designs, and Braungart’s collection includes many artists from those magazines: Melchior Lechter, Hugo Höppener (aka Fidus), Julius Diez, Heinrich Vogeler, Marcus Behmer, Franz von Bayros, Koloman Moser, Carl Otto Czeschka, Ephraim Moses Lilien, Franz Stassen and others. 400 examples in all.



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