Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Benjamin's Bookplate

Benjamin Kissam Bookplate

This is Benjamin Kissam's bookplate by Henry Dawkins. It can be found on page 51 of the bookplate reference book, American Book-plates. The description of the bookplate follows:

Armorial. Chippendale. Motto, Honestum Praetulit util [Ed. note: He has preferred honesty before profit.] Signed, H. Dawkins. Invt. et Sculp. This is in the happiest vein of this engraver. At the left a young lady in the low-necked, hooped dress of the period, carrying a shepherd's crook, and at the right the shepherd himself, but having his crook, is seated. By his side a very docile, even weakly appearing lamb, listens while he plays the flageolet. A prominent lawyer in New York in the middle of the last century. (desc. from pg. 234, ibid. translation from pg. 329)

I believe the coat of arms it that of the Whiteheads. It closely matches this one and another bookplate book notes that the coat of arms are taken from an ancestress. I'll have to dig up that reference.

More info on the particular Chippendale style:

Dawkins used three distinct varies of the Chippendale style. The plates of Benjamin Kissam, the Ludlow and Roome plates, the Whitehead Hicks and the James Duane are examples of the debased Chippendale. pg. 129, ibid.

This is one of my favorite finds so far. You can also see a bigger version of the image.

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