Burne-Jones coat of arms bookplate design Burne-Jones coat of arms bookplate design

Burne-Jones coat of arms bookplate design

Publication Date: 1894
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Two designs for Sir Edward Burne-Jones's coat-of-arms bookplate. The first design is done in pencil, with various studies sketched in the margins; pencil notes on the recto and verso by Robert Catterson-Smith, signed and dated 30 December 1927, explain that the design was intended for Catterson-Smith to translate into an ink line drawing. The second sheet features the same design in a rough pen and ink wash. Burne-Jones was offered a Baronetcy in November 1893 on the recommendation of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. The title was formalized on May 3, 1894, after which Burne-Jones took the necessary steps of creating a family crest and motto. This bookplate shows an early try at creating that heraldry. In the sketch, the crest is made up of two wings against stylized fire and an estoile, a star with six wavy rays, in the center. Below, the coat of arms has a diagonal band with three sets of wings over a field spangled with seven estoiles and a hand, which represents the baronetcy. A curling banner shows the family motto, also chosen by Burne-Jones, "sequar et attingam," which means "I will follow and attain." The set likely shows an attempt at actually designing the coat of arms, rather than simply transferring the finished design onto a bookplate, as there are several key differences between the sketches and the final, formalized heraldry. In the official design, the hand is absent, and the wavy-legged estoiles are simple straight-legged mullets. Also, the helmet sketches in the margins suggest that Burne-Jones was considering other ideas for the crest before he settled on the wings and fire. This set offers an interesting glimpse into the process of an artist becoming a peer. Light soiling to both pages, and some spotting to the pencil design. (Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones, p. 241; The Art of Heraldry, p. 70; Fairbairn's book of crests of the families of Great Britain and Ireland, p. 309). Bookseller Inventory #

Bibliographic Details

Title: Burne-Jones coat of arms bookplate design
Publication Date: 1894
Illustrator: Burne-Jones, Edward

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