Ex Libris

This project explores the stories told by a collection of books - not the stories contained within the pages but the stories of the books as objects.

All the books photographed in this project were part of the collection of John Gibson Spencer. He was a great Francophile, a fluent Italian speaker, travelled widely in Europe during his 20s and 30s between the wars and he was also my grandfather. Naturally the books reflect his interests, but they also tell their own stories - and it is these stories that this project seeks to tell.

Rather than the cover or the title page, it is the inside front cover we see in these images - here the ex-libris ticket or tickets sits alongside hand written inscriptions and the odd bookseller's price. From these images we have no idea of the book's subject, but we have some wonderfully tangible clues to the story of the bound object itself.

John Gibson Spencer c.1970
John Gibson Spencer c.1970
Copyright Jon Spencer 2003-2019