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The beautiful language of bookplates

Bookplates – small, printed decorative labels pasted into books – reveal much about the volumes they grace and their collectors. Here, Librarian Alexandra Hill and Collections Assistant Emily Lansell open a few front covers to find fascinating images that reveal insights into the history of design, and into the books’ owners.

Words by Alexandra Hill and words by Emily Lansell

  • In pictures

About the authors

Photograph of Alexandra Hill

Alexandra Hill

Dr Alexandra Hill is the Llibrarian for the Printed Rare Materials Audit at Wellcome Collection. Her research focuses on the materiality of books printed between 1450 and 1851, while her book ‘Lost Books and Printing in London, 1557–1640: An Analysis of the Stationers’ Company Register’ explores the role of loss and survival on our understanding of early modern print culture.

Photograph of Emily Lansell

Emily Lansell

Emily Lansell is a Collections Assistant at Wellcome Collection, working on an inventory project across both early printed book (pre-1851) and visual and material culture collections. Alongside spending time immersed in the collections, she is particularly interested in highlighting and researching material that may be sensitive and/or offensive in support of collections access, as well as diversity and inclusion priorities at Wellcome Collection.