Placed end to end the choicest bookends might not encircle the earth, but they would make a fine collection.
Another fine collection is also presented in the newly released Book Ends: Objects of Art and Fashion by Robert and Donna Seecof. There are more than 350 of them richly presented in vivid color.
“Historically,” write the authors in the book’s introduction, “bookends were always meant to be decorative. They were commercial products and always responded to the prevalent styles in order to sell.”
“Today we find bookends that were designed in the popular fashions of their times—in Arts and Crafts style or in Art Deco style, for example, and changes in decorative art fashions that took place in the United States, decade by decade in the 20th century.”
Not surprisingly then the book presents exquisite bookends in chapters based on style. These include Victorian, aesthetic, Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern, and 21st century Modern. There are also chapters on bookend manufacturers, and bookend artists.
Happily there is a wide variety of bookends for the musing of the reader. They range from birds and cowboys to horses and women. Additionally there are Greek pillars, stagecoaches, skyscrapers, pirates, flowers and even Joan of Arc.
Coverage of valued bookends in the book is as diverse as it is by topic and time period. A pair of floral design brass bookends, from the 1920s in the Art Nouveau style, is estimated to be in the $60 to $90 range. Meanwhile, the book offers a boy and girl pair of book ends from the Roman Bronze Works by sculpture Karl Grupp. They are dated 1918 and estimated to be current worth $9,000 to $10,000.
Robert Seecoff is a retired scientist and physician. Donna Seecof has spent most of her working years as a consultant for hospitals.
Bookends: Objects of Art and Fashion by Robert and Donna Seecof, hardcover, color illustrated, with values and index, 160 pages, is $39.99 plus shipping from Schiffer Publishing, www.schifferbooks.com.