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Bookplate of Augustus Frederick, Prince, Duke of Sussex


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Bookplate of Augustus Frederick, Prince, Duke of Sussex


Augustus Frederick, Prince, Duke of Sussex, 1773-1843


This is the bookplate of Augustus Frederick (1773-1843), Duke of Sussex and ninth child of King George III of England. The Duke was a great bibliophile, and his library was expanded book-by-book (as opposed to large acquisitions) from 1819 to 1830. His librarian and surgeon, Thomas Joseph Pettigrew, oversaw the library's expansion and cataloged its contents. A catalogue of its theological manuscripts was published in 1827 under the title "Bibliotheca Sussexiana." Of the Duke's 50,000 manuscripts, 12,000 were theological and 51 were in Hebrew. The Duke was known for spending lavish amounts of money on his library to purchase new volumes and to build custom-made bookcases.

The bookplate depicted here is affixed to his copy of "Sefer Ḳorban reshit" by Judah Loeb Margolioth, a book of responsa and commentary on the Rosh ha-shanah portion of the Talmud. This bookplate is the smaller of two bookplates produced for the Duke and features a garter surmounted by the ducal coronet. Within the garter is the Duke's crest, a lion atop a crown. The garter itself displays the arms of the English Order of the Garter, which is inscribed with the Old French phrase "Honi soit quit mal y pense" ("Shamed be he who thinks evil of it"). The Order of the Garter is the highest order of chivalry in England and the Duke was made a knight of this order in 1786. Beneath the garter is an image of a knight slaying a dragon, which most likely refers to the legend of Saint George and the dragon. On the bottom towards the left is a depiction of a knight's helmet, which also highlights the Duke's knighthood. On the right is an owl, which probably serves as the traditional symbol of wisdom.

The Duke died having acquired considerable debts in his lifetime and his library was sold in 1844.


Perkins & Heath




Digital Image: Washington University in Saint Louis


Paper, Patent Hardened Steel Plate


French, English







Perkins & Heath, “Bookplate of Augustus Frederick, Prince, Duke of Sussex,” WUSTL Digital Gateway Image Collections & Exhibitions, accessed May 28, 2024,