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National Gallery of Art
National Gallery of Art
East Building, Ground Floor, Study Center, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC
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Once the introduction of movable type allowed the printing of exact copies, book owners needed a way to identify the works in their possession. Stamps, handwritten notes, and special bindings with embossed coats of arms were all used, but it was the bookplate, introduced around the time of Gutenberg's press, that became the most popular means of marking ownership.

This selection from the National Gallery of Art Library showcases how collectors marked their books, with an emphasis on highly artistic examples of bookplates from the 19th and 20th centuries.