In provenance research – the study of evidence of previous ownership of items – bookplates and other ex-libri can be a great resource. Taking into account that these plates could sometimes be recycled or added considerable time after a book had entered a collection, the identification of the individuals behind the bookplates can nevertheless be really rewarding. This is especially the case when plates turn up unexpectedly in unrelated collections or when we know for certain that the owner’s collection was dispersed.
This week, the bookplate of Charles Pinfold, a governor of Barbados in the mid-eighteenth century, which I found in an edition of Suetonius’ works printed in Leeuwarden (Netherlands) in 1714-15. The two volumes were at Calke Abbey by the nineteenth-century, when a small die-sinker style shield bookplate was pasted underneath Pinfold’s armorial plate.