For the Edwardians, bookplates were as rebellious as modern day tattoos

From The Conversation: For the Edwardians, bookplates were as rebellious as modern day tattoos.

For countless young people, and even the odd deeply defiant older person, tattoos are the ultimate way to express your identity.

Go back just over 100 years, however, and revealing your personality to the world was a very different matter. Though tattoos and intimate piercings were had by people at all levels of society – even King Edward’s son, George V, was said to have had a tattoo during his time in the Royal Navy – the slightly more conservative Edwardians turned to something very different: bookplates.

The small decorative labels used to denote book ownership which date back to the 1500s, became hugely popular across the Western world at start of the 1900s, fading into obscurity just before World War I. But they offer a fascinating insight into the people who used them. [continue]

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