A natural effect of these cordial relations with other amateurs was eventually to enrich the collection which Sir Wollaston was himself in process of forming ; all the more inasmuch as his intention of ultimately bequeathing it to the British Museum was well known. The first impulse of any friend giving up the pursuit was to offer his series to Sir Wdllaston, whose collection was thus rapidly increased by the wholesale incorporation of others, as well as by purchases both large and small from every trade source available. Its contents, although for the sake of reference they are catalogued in the following pages in one alphabet with the rest, have as a matter of practical arrangement not been incorporated with the main series, but kept apart. All that was done was to take them off the leaves of the old damaged album and to remount and rebind them in exactly the same order in a new and solid one ; so that the student can still inspect them as a separate series in their original sequence and connection.
CATALOGUE OP BRITISH AND AMERICAN BOOK PLATES BEQUEATHED TO THE TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM BY SIR AUGUSTUS WOLLASTON FRANKS, K. Experienced collectors and beginners alike formed the habit of appealing to him, and it was almost an unknown thing that he should decline to give the information sought.
227) which is without other inscription and is probably a dedication plate. ; but this seems to be the only trace of an actual signature known to exist on any book plate belonging to the " Brighton " series.
The plate of Major-General John Tidcomb occurs in "Brighton" without signature; on another impression in the main series is found a signature reading A. Though every considerable collection contains a certain number of these same plates which are brought together in " Brighton," there are in this album many plates hitherto absolutely unknown to collectors, as well as known plates in early states not previously described.
It contained in reality a series of 640 armorial engravings, of which 637 are unquestionably book plates, all of one period, most of them rare, some previously quite unknown. 1 and 2, which are not book plates, and possibly a third — the plate of William Fitzgerald, Bishop of Clonfert, 1698 — they are all either the work, as Sir Wollaston Franks thought, of one hand, or, as seems more probable from internal evidence, of several hands employed in one and the same workshop.
The album had been in Sir AVollaston's keeping for a long while before it became his property on the death of its owner. Both collectors always referred to it by the name of its place of purchase, " Brighton " ; and it is so labelled in the Museum collection.
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No one who has not collected book plates can reahse how absorbing the work may become.