"Ex libris" (from the library of) bookplates were first used during the Renaissance, and became very popular during the 18th and 19th centuries. By the turn of the 20th century, artists such as Robert Anning Bell and Charles Ricketts made practically their whole careers out of designing intricate bookplates for their customers.
Today bookplates are little used, but bookplate collectors have their own subculture, with clubs, magazines, and conferences.
Homoerotic and beefcake-heavy bookplates are especially prized.
1. Wilhelm Mertens, a German herpetologist, professor at the University of Frankfurt and author of 13 books, promises that he's "immer an deck" (always alert), like the semi-nude muscleman looking at the stars.
4. A rather minimalist David slaying Goliath, but unusual for its coloration. I don't know who this was for, maybe painter Franca Moggioli, who died in Turin in 2015 at the age of 94.
More after the break.
6. Jorgen E. Tews is known primarily for the bookplates he commissioned for his library. A lot of them are erotic.
7. A nude boy climbs on books to reach for the stars (or a tree branch) in this bookplate from Dr. Ludwig Huberti (born 1866), the author of several books on jurisprudence, including The Influence of the Peace of God on the Rights of the Community.
8. The Bible and Shakespeare bookend the ex libris of Charles P. C. Mains-Jackson. I don't know who that is.