Friday, August 30, 2013

A Book Plate Design at the Cooper Hewitt Museum - 1895

This bookplate design by Alice C. Morse, dated 1895, is in the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Museum. (Accession number 2009-6-58). The media is pencil and ink on paper, with white paint used as a correction aid. It is the only known bookplate design by Morse, although she may have designed others. It is signed in the lower left corner of the design.

As with Morse's other original designs at Cooper Hewitt, this drawing gives us insight into Morse's process. Her underlying pencil sketch, areas where Morse used white paint to modify her drawing, and notes on size (2 1/2 x 2 3/4 in.) are evident. She obviously wanted this design returned to her, but we don't know to whom it may have been commissioned from or sent to on spec. The verso image has been color-corrected (or uncorrected) to show you more detail. The board is quite brittle and yellowed. The drawing paper is still white and in good condition. Perhaps one of us will one day find this bookplate in printed form in a book. If anyone does find one, please let me know, as it is now known if the plate was ever printed and used.

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