History of the "Ex libris"
The first example in the history of 'ex libris', meaning the mark of ownership, dates back to the ancient Egyptians when ceramic plaques reflected ownership of papyrus belonging to Pharaoh Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye. Medieval Monks who painstakingly produced copies of bibles and codices by hand inscribed the name of the owner. The advent of the printing press in the 1400's saw the frontispiece engravings of books to indicate where they come from. The artist or engraver produced the 'ex libris' or bookplate bearing a heraldic motif that related to the owner of the book such as the owner's name, motto, coat-of-arms, badge or family crest. The people who could afford a personal library would also have a family crest. As time passed the 'ex libris' became a decorative label pasted into a book, often on the inside front cover.