Priestley, Joseph

the 'rushing water' bookplate

Birmingham, designer Josiah Allen,  1780s, 

75 by 104mm (3 by 4 inches). copper engraving  

Charles A Brown writes in ‘The Journal of Industrial and Engineeering Chemistry’  June 1920 (pp 611) that when Priestley’s home in Birmingham was attacked by a mob in 1791, most of his books were destroyed, although some survived. Browne says he found a copy of this book-plate in a copy of The Laboratory or School of Arts by George Smith, ‘a translation of a German collection of receipts for working gold and silver’ (London: T. Cox, 1738), which he had acquired from a dealer in London.  However this copy of the book which was donated in 1949 by Brown to the Smith collection at the University of Pennsylvania does not contain this bookplate. However the Smith collection does contain an unmounted copy donated to them by Bolton Society Member William Helfand  in 1997 and is ex the Grolier Society. Helfand led a project at the Grolier Club to thin out the collection of the club. Of the 6,000 objects in the collection, about half were put up for sale to members. Helfand later purchased what remained, and that lot included the Priestley rushing water bookplate.
  A copy is in the Priestley Collection formed by Samuel Timmins housed in Birmingham City Archives

[ref: 12545] £250