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Some bookplates designed by Stephen Gooden

Stephen Gooden (1892-1955) was an artist and engaver, mainly on copper. I have proofs of a few of the bookplates that he designed, which are shown below. I have also created a list of his bookplates, with a link to an image of it, if I can find one.

Goodens' designs for bookplates issued before 1944 are reproduced in the book by Campbell Dodgson, The Iconography of the engravings of Stephen Gooden (Elkin Matthews, London). I know of no complete catalogue of his bookplate designs, but there may be one.

All bookplates shown below are in proportion to each other based on the dimensions of the plate if there is a plate mark, or the size of the paper if there is no plate mark.

Update on 24/1/2020: three more plates added to the bottom of the list.

The Royal Library Windsor Castle, large design

Date: 1937
Plate size: 173 x 110

Notes: This large bookplate was first designed for King George VI. This version lacks the initials G R, to the left and right of the crown, and the Roman numerals VI within the letter G to the left, which is reported by Dodgson to be the final version. However I suspect that this version is the seventh and final state, with no cipher.

Image of bookplate

The Royal Library Windsor Castle, medium design

Date: 1937
Paper size: 177 x 133 mm
Plate size: 122 x 85 mm

Notes: This medium bookplate was first designed for King Edward VIII with a Royal cypher at the top, but he abdicated, so it was modified for King George VI. This version has no royal cypher, so is probably later.

Image of bookplate


Date: (1946)
Plate size: 138 x 92 mm

Notes: This bookplate was for designed by Gooden for Princess Elizabeth in 1946, when she was 20 years old, so before she became Queen. My copy is a trial proof on a sheet of thick wove paper, which is often used by engravers to check their designs, about 355 x 190 mm. It is not listed in Dodgson (1944).

Image of bookplate

S.L. Courtauld

Date: (1925)
Plate size: 110 x 83

Notes: This bookplate was for Stephen Courtauld, a philanthropist.

Image of bookplate

John Raymond Danson

Date: 1934
Plate size: 106 x 63 mm

Notes: John Raymond Danson served in both World Wars and was a collector and benefactor.

Image of bookplate

Margaret Griselda Wedderburn

Date: 1928
Plate size: 83 x 62 mm

Notes:Margaret Griselda Wedderburn (1888-1987) was married secondly to Bertine Entwistle Sutton, who also had a bookplate designed by Stephen Gooden. She had five children with her first husband, Stuart de la Rue, who died in 1927 aged 44y. Two of her sons, Christopher and Patrick, died within 5 months of each other in 1939, aged 23 and 18y, before the Second World War started.

Image of bookplate

William George Arthur, IVth Baron Harlech

Date: 1938
Plate size: 131 x 105 mm

Notes: William George Arthur Ormsby-Gore (1885-1964) was a Conservative politician and Secretary of State for the Colonies between 1936 to 1938, the year he inherited his title and the year he commissioned Gooden to design a bookplate for him. At the top is part of the family crest, described as: a Dexter Arm embowed in armour proper holding in the hand a Man's Leg also in armour couped at the thigh.

The father of the first Lord Harlech was born William Gore in Ireland in 1779. In 1815 he married Mary Ormsby, an heiress, and added her family name to his to become Ormsby-Gore.

The bookplate is initialled 'SG' in the scroll, lower right. Click on it to see it in more detail.

Image of bookplate

Liverpool Medical Institution Library

Date: 1936
Paper size: 129 x 84 mm
Plate size: trimmed

Notes: This bookplate was for Liverpool Medical Institution Library, which was founded in 1779.

The snake wound around a stick is the Rod of Asclepius, an ancient symbol of medicine believed to represent the means of removing the nematode worm Dracunculus medinensis through the small abscess, usually on the lower leg, through which the female worm releases its larvae into water. The worm needs to be removed slowly, otherwise it could break and cause inflammation, so it was wound around a small stick and every day more of the worm was pulled out. By the way, my first career was as a Parasitologist.

Image of bookplate

Antoinette Esher

Date: 1927
Paper size: 104 x 77 mm
Plate size: trimmed

Notes: Antoinette Heckscher (1884–1967) was an American who married Oliver Sylvain Baliol Brett in 1912. When her husband's father died in 1930 he became the 3rd Viscount Esher so she changed the bookplate to give her new name.

Image of bookplate

Central African Archives Library

Date: 1946
Paper size: 158 x 102 mm
Plate size: 138 x 83 mm

Notes: The Central African Archives was established in 1946 by the Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia Archives Ordinances. The Ordinances transformed the Southern Rhodesia Archives in to a Central African Archives to provide common archival services for Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (now Malawi). All the three territories were then under the colonial administration of Britain. The archive was established in Salisbury (now Harare). In 1958 the Central African Archives was renamed as the National Archives of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In 1963 the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was dissolved and this was followed by the independenceof Malawi in July 1964 followed by Zambia’s independence in October 1964. The white minority government of Rhodesia declared independence unilaterally in 1965 leading to a 15-year war until 1980, when Zimbabwe was created.

I suspect that Stephen Courtauld (see above) may have been instrumental in commissioning this bookplate. In 1951 he moved to Mutare in Southern Rhodesia where he lived for the rest of his life and where he was a notable philanthropist. I suspect that he had been to Rhodesia before he moved there.

Image of bookplate

City of Liverpool Public Libraries, large plate

Date: 1944
Plate size: 124 x 91 mm

Notes: The main library in Liverpool is now called Liverpool Central Library. The Liver bird on the plate is represented as a Comorant with laver seaweed in its bill.

Image of bookplate

Royal College of Surgeons, large plate

Date: 1953
Plate size: 117 x 89 mm

Notes: The Royal College of Surgeons is a professional body that regulates surgery. The designs for this plate were presented to the RCS by Sir Geoffrey Keynes, who also had a bookplate designed for him in 1926 by Gooden.

Image of bookplate

Royal College of Surgeons, small plate

Date: 1951
Plate size: 66 x 51 mm

Notes: The Royal College of Surgeons is a professional body that regulates surgery. The designs for this plate can be seen here.

Image of bookplate