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Contents:
  1. Katherine Reynolds Brown (Author of Frankish Art In American Collections)
  2. Object Details
  3. ISBN 13: 9780870994036

So a separate, unified approach has been needed. This was not a rigid date, because the database ought also to include all the post work of artists and engravers who were actively making ex-libris at my cut-off date. American examples of the 18 th century, up to about , also deserved inclusion. My purpose in compiling such a database was to:. The golden days of collecting British plates were more than a century ago.


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He bequeathed 35, British bookplates to the British Museum, where he had worked all his life. Franks was born near here, in Geneva, in , and he also gathered a great number of old French and German ex-libris, including many early examples. Thanks to the great efforts of Edward Gambier Howe over a period of 5 years, the British items were sorted into alphabetical order by family name and pasted into large albums bound in leather.

A slip of paper was written out for each bookplate, and these slips of paper were the basis for a 3-volume printed catalogue SLIDE 3 which appeared in However, just a couple of years later, in , the marvellous collection of Julian Marshall was auctioned. Some went directly into the collection of W. In the days when the British Library was still in the British Museum, long before the move to the new building at St Pancras, you would have seen me, some weekday evenings and Saturday mornings, in the typing room, with a portable typewriter and a Viner album in front of me.

But I made slow progress. My list never got beyond beginning the letter D! The task was too great to tackle in that way. I gave up. Thirty years later, computers have changed everything. As you all know, they make it possible to enter vast quantities of data. Thus it became possible for me to make a fresh start on the task of creating a union catalogue of bookplates.

I began this by transcribing the Franks Catalogue into an Excel spreadsheet, which is a grid of boxes, or cells, in rows and columns. I did consider scanning the three volumes using Optical Character Recognition software, but unfortunately I quickly found that the typeface and layout of the text made this impossible. So every entry had to be typed in, with the Franks number of each bookplate at the start of each row down the page, and with the data fields across the columns from left to right. I decided not to use database software because in Excel:.

This has been very helpful when entering plates which have only slight differences; and. Once I had transcribed the Franks catalogue into three Excel files I was already far ahead of anything attempted previously. A modern database needs to split up such data if it is to be fully searchable.


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Dates of birth, marriage, succession, and death all need separate fields. Heraldic quarterings and impalements must all be searchable by family name. This results in a more than two dozen fields. If the nature of these fields is of interest to you, we can discuss them further during questions at the end.

Transcription of the printed catalogue was only the first step because Gambier Howe had neither the time nor the resources to be able to give anything more than brief biographical and heraldic details. I own a copy of the full microfilm of the Franks Collection, and the second step is for me to work through the images, checking the entries and recording such information as differences between similar bookplates, the exact inscription, mottoes, and points worth mentioning.

For example, one has to look out for any design that is of a similar pattern to another bookplate elsewhere in the collection, because the two may be by the same engraver. At some future time the third phase will be to go through each Franks album, looking at the originals, and noting down sizes of ex-libris.

Beyond the printed inscription, a few bookplates may carry valuable additional notes in manuscript, but not on every copy - this is why it is helpful to gather information from many collections. This was the famous catastrophe on All Saints Day, 1 st November , which claimed 60, lives and which had wide impact across Europe through the writings of Voltaire in Candide.

Katherine Reynolds Brown (Author of Frankish Art In American Collections)

So this one print of the bookplate is the key to determining who its owner was. It is quite possible that these manuscript additions are unique to my particular copies of these ex-libris, and so you can understand why this extra evidence of ownership needs to be entered into a central database. Just a few British collectors have in the past taken the trouble to search for biographical information. Their notes have been scattered into public and private collections, but it would be most worthwhile to gather such data.

Look for example at the mid th century bookplate of James Wickins. For most British bookplates we lack details of the owner. One day there will be an online index of all memorial inscriptions in British churches, but who will have the time to check and cross-reference them to a bookplate database? To expand on what I mean about differences between plates, I should explain that copper plates were not just engraved and forgotten. Very often one finds that the inscription and heraldry were changed several times as errors by the engraver were corrected, or the owner of the bookplate acquired new titles or moved address or got married, or the copper plate might have been re-used by a son or other relative.

As the copper plate got worn, it might have its life extended by being re-engraved.

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SLIDE At first sight they appear to be exactly the same, but look again. Careful examination shows many places where the righthand ex-libris has been re-engraved.


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  4. Look also at my next slide. Both ex-libris for James Yonge carry the same inscription. The heraldry is identical. The layout is similar, but they were engraved on different copper plates, at different times. In other cases the dimensions of the engraved area may be different, or there is some other obvious distinction, but often a careful explanation of the differences is needed. I fear that these collections receive very few visitors.

    Aegidius , was originally the magister militum of northern Gaul appointed by Majorian , but after Majorian's death apparently seen as a Roman rebel who relied on Frankish forces. Gregory of Tours reported that Childeric I was exiled for 8 years while Aegidius held the title of "King of the Franks". Eventually Childeric returned and took the same title. Aegidius died in or Clovis later defeated the son of Aegidius, Syagrius , in or and then had the Frankish king Chararic imprisoned and executed.

    A few years later, he killed Ragnachar , the Frankish king of Cambrai, and his brothers. By the s, he had conquered all the Frankish kingdoms to the west of the River Maas except for the Ripuarian Franks and was in a position to make the city of Paris his capital. He became the first king of all Franks in , after he had conquered Cologne. Clovis I divided his realm between his four sons, who united to defeat Burgundy in Internecine feuding occurred during the reigns of the brothers Sigebert I and Chilperic I , which was largely fuelled by the rivalry of their queens, Brunhilda and Fredegunda , and which continued during the reigns of their sons and their grandsons.

    Three distinct subkingdoms emerged: Austrasia , Neustria and Burgundy, each of which developed independently and sought to exert influence over the others. The influence of the Arnulfing clan of Austrasia ensured that the political centre of gravity in the kingdom gradually shifted eastwards to the Rhineland. The Frankish realm was reunited in by Chlothar II , the son of Chilperic, who granted his nobles the Edict of Paris in an effort to reduce corruption and reassert his authority. After the Battle of Tertry in , each mayor of the palace , who had formerly been the king's chief household official, effectively held power until in , with the approval of the Pope and the nobility, Pepin the Short deposed the last Merovingian king Childeric III and had himself crowned.

    Object Details

    This inaugurated a new dynasty, the Carolingians. The unification achieved by the Merovingians ensured the continuation of what has become known as the Carolingian Renaissance. The Carolingian Empire was beset by internecine warfare, but the combination of Frankish rule and Roman Christianity ensured that it was fundamentally united. Frankish government and culture depended very much upon each ruler and his aims and so each region of the empire developed differently. Although a ruler's aims depended upon the political alliances of his family, the leading families of Francia shared the same basic beliefs and ideas of government, which had both Roman and Germanic roots.

    The Frankish state consolidated its hold over the majority of western Europe by the end of the 8th century, developing into the Carolingian Empire. As such, the Carolingian Empire gradually came to be seen in the West as a continuation of the ancient Roman Empire. This empire would give rise to several successor states, including France, the Holy Roman Empire and Burgundy , though the Frankish identity remained most closely identified with France. After the death of Charlemagne , his only adult surviving son became Emperor and King Louis the Pious.

    Following Louis the Pious's death, however, according to Frankish culture and law that demanded equality among all living male adult heirs, the Frankish Empire was now split between Louis' three sons. Germanic peoples, including those tribes in the Rhine delta that later became the Franks, are known to have served in the Roman army since the days of Julius Caesar.

    After the Roman administration collapsed in Gaul in the s, the armies under the Germanic Batavian Postumus revolted and proclaimed him emperor and then restored order. From then on, Germanic soldiers in the Roman army, most notably Franks, were promoted from the ranks. A few decades later, the Menapian Carausius created a Batavian—British rump state on Roman soil that was supported by Frankish soldiers and raiders. Frankish soldiers such as Magnentius , Silvanus and Arbitio held command positions in the Roman army during the mid 4th century.

    From the narrative of Ammianus Marcellinus it is evident that both Frankish and Alamannic tribal armies were organised along Roman lines.

    ISBN 13: 9780870994036

    After the invasion of Chlodio , the Roman armies at the Rhine border became a Frankish "franchise" and Franks were known to levy Roman-like troops that were supported by a Roman-like armour and weapons industry. This lasted at least until the days of the scholar Procopius c. The Franks under the Merovingians melded Germanic custom with Romanised organisation and several important tactical innovations. Before their conquest of Gaul, the Franks fought primarily as a tribe, unless they were part of a Roman military unit fighting in conjunction with other imperial units.

    The primary sources for Frankish military custom and armament are Ammianus Marcellinus , Agathias and Procopius , the latter two Eastern Roman historians writing about Frankish intervention in the Gothic War. At this time the Franks, hearing that both the Goths and Romans had suffered severely by the war Now the iron head of this weapon was thick and exceedingly sharp on both sides, while the wooden handle was very short.

    And they are accustomed always to throw these axes at a signal in the first charge and thus to shatter the shields of the enemy and kill the men. His contemporary, Agathias, who based his own writings upon the tropes laid down by Procopius, says:. The military equipment of this people [the Franks] is very simple They do not know the use of the coat of mail or greaves and the majority leave the head uncovered, only a few wear the helmet. They have their chests bare and backs naked to the loins, they cover their thighs with either leather or linen. They do not serve on horseback except in very rare cases.

    Fighting on foot is both habitual and a national custom and they are proficient in this. At the hip they wear a sword and on the left side their shield is attached.