Highly Desirable Work, Three Signed by the Artist
One of the Most Respected (and Collected) Bookplate Designers Ever
[BOOKPLATES]. SEVERIN, Mark. Nine Bookplates Designed and Engraved by Mark Severin. London: n.d.
A fine set of nine standard sized bookplates including three signed by the artist in pencil. Three feature erotic figures; one for the British Museum; one armorial; two nautically themed; one of a stylized greenhouse; the last a natural history scene. An outstanding set by one of the foremost bookplate designers and engravers who has ever lived.
1. Ex Libris A. Rousseau - Erotic
2. British Museum - Natural History, signed by the artist in pencil
3. Ex Libris Leplae - Armorial
4. Ex Libris P.E. Levy - Erotic, signed by the artist in pencil
5. Ex Libris Lawrence H. Seccombe - Nautical
6. (Unidentified) - A natural history scene
7. Ex Libris Georges Neelemans - Nautical, signed by the artist in pencil
8. Ex Libris [Albert] Collart - A stylized greenhouse
9. (Unidentified) - Erotic, a stylized lotus with central male and female figures in coitus
-. Accompanying autograph note card by esteemed bookplate collector Albert Collart
Mark François Severin (1906-1987), son of poet Fernand Severin (1876–1931), was a Belgian-born artist and graphic designer who lived in England for most of his life. Esteemed as one of the most outstanding engravers of his generation, Mark Severin specialized in fine miniature work, including postage stamps, book illustrations, and bookplates, of which he designed and engraved close to five hundred with a great number on erotic subjects. He was also active as an advertising designer in Great Britain, creating posters for Imperial Airways and the London Underground. In 1935, Severin married Nina Holme, a children's book illustrator, daughter of Charles Geoffrey Holme, editor of The Studio, an illustrated fine arts and decorative arts magazine founded and, until 1919, edited by his father, Charles Holme. Mark and Nina Sevarin had two sons, Erik and Geoffrey. Noted below, a catalogue raisonné of Severin's works was published in 1993.
Included is Severin's most famous erotic bookplate (and one of the most celebrated erotic images ever created, often pirated and reprinted), made for an anonymous collector. In a stylized Buddhist motif, it features a man and woman in coitus as viewed from below with legs entwined and yoni and lingham exposed, the scene portrayed against a lotus blossom.
The signed erotic bookplate, created for P.E. Lévy, features a naked woman in a bucolic tableau, reading a book while lying face downward in a forest clearing, with pudendum exposed and one leg seductively raised at knee.
The work of Mark Severin is found in museums across the globe.
In 1993, David Chambers published Mark Severin's Bookplates in The Private Library Spring 1993, published by the Private Libraries Association. In the same year, Antoine Rousseau (whose Severin-designed bookplate is included in this set) wrote Marc Severin Graphiste/Grafisch Ontwerper/Graphic Designer, a catalogue raisonné of Severin's work, with text in French, Dutch and English, and containing a list of every bookplate he designed, as well as all his other work; the most complete work on Severin thus far (tough omitting his frankly erotic work to allow for the widest possible distribution). Item #02661
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