Album of embossed heraldic letterheads.

[Likely Cambridge, late nineteenth century?]

Album (282 x 232 mm), ff. [50]; 24 compositions of embossed emblems laid onto printed backgrounds (monogrammed ‘PW’), the remaining 26 ff. with backgrounds only, several hand-coloured (a few with brighter, likely later colouring), a further composition and several individual emblems loosely inserted; marginal damp-staining to later leaves with a little mold to lower corner; contemporary brown morocco over bevelled boards, blocked in black, edges gilt, blue silk moiré endleaves; upper board neatly rejointed and tailband resewn, surface worn and scuffed with some retouching and a few marks; contemporary ink ownership inscription ‘J. Hunter’ to front flyleaf.


US $306€290

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Album of embossed heraldic letterheads.

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An intriguing collection of embossed emblems, used to create an album of elaborate designs. Several designs appear to be arranged by their source, including two pages of Cambridge colleges and others of military regiments (both of which feature heavily throughout the album), while others are likely arranged aesthetically, for example one comprising only monograms and another only escutcheons. The emblems represent an extensive range of both institutions and individuals (including many devices incorporating women’s forenames), and alongside the familiar English and Latin mottos can be found examples in Hebrew and Arabic.

The backgrounds, by an accomplished but unidentified ‘PW’, are varied, including geometric, floral and foliate, and architectural designs, of which several in imitation of stained-glass windows. The few pieces loosely inserted provide evidence that many of the emblems were collected from letterheads and envelopes, suggesting that the album offers a curious memento of its author’s circle of correspondents.

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