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James Craig Annan, Ex Libris 1909

James Craig Annan, Ex Libris 1909

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James Craig Annan

Ex Libris, 1909

Camera Work XXVI

Photogravure, 19.6 x 14 cm

The plate for this print was prepared for Stieglitz by James Craig Annan. The print was made by Annan's firm, T. & R. Annan & Sons in Scotland.

In this image Annan treated the photographic image as the basis for a graphic design. Ex Libris may have begun as a portrait of Dorothy Carleton Smyth, then a tutor in crafts at Glasgow School of Art, but with the addition of ‘Ex Libris’ on this print, a bookplate results. The platinum Ex Libris in Stieglitz’s collection measures 33.7 x 25.3 cm. which might suggest that Dorothy Carleton Smyth owned immense books. The photogravure Ex Libris in Camera Work is smaller, 20.2 x 15.2 cm., but still large for a normal book. Bookplates were then highly fashionable, though mostly the field of the illustrator or the etcher. Why not use photogravure? It could yield enough prints for a very large library. Yet few photographic bookplates were produced. [1]


Harker, Margaret F. The Linked Ring: The Secession Movement in Photography in Britain, 1892-1910. London: Heinemann, 1979. pl 9.1 (titled Design for a Book Plate)

Naef, Weston J. The Collection of Alfred Stieglitz: Fifty Pioneers of Modern Photography. New York: Viking Press, 1978. no. 32.

[1] Annan J. Craig and William Buchanan. J. Craig Annan : Selected Texts and Bibliography. G.K. Hall 1994.

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