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A Pair Of Putti Bookends, by M. Moreen circa 1925
silvered bronze and marble
17.2cm high, 13.2cm wide, signed in cast 'M.Moreen'

A pair of silvered Putti sit on the top of these wonderfully veined marble slabs. I bought these from Bonhams, from the largest known collection of art deco bookends (180 pairs) and they are certainly a cut above your average art deco bookend.

"The vendor lives in Europe and had a passion for books and bookends, devoting 40 years to acquiring every Art Deco bookend he could find. Now downsizing, he has no room for the thousands of books and hundreds of bookends. We believe that this is the most extensive collection ever put together." - Mark Oliver, Director of Bonhams Decorative Arts Department.

Amongst the other items in the collection is a pair of bronze modeled elephant bookends made circa 1920 by Ary Bitter (French, 1883-1973). The bronze beasts throw their weight against wooden props, straining against the load of the books between them. Each bookend stands at 17.5cm high and the pair is offered with estimates of £2,500-£3,500.

Other highlights include some quirky wrought-iron Pelican Bookends made circa 1925 by Edgar-William Brandt (French, 1880-1960) which are estimated at £1,500-£2,000. The stylized pelicans are depicted with open beaks and fountains of water pouring into their mouths.

René Lalique (French, 1860-1945), the famed Art Deco glass designer, features in the collection with Hirondelle an elegant pair of frosted and polished glass swallows. The glass bookends are etched 'R.LALIQUE FRANCE' on the base and valued at £1,000-1,500.

A Pair Of Putti Bookends, by M. Moreen circa 1925

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  • During medieval times the vast majority of people were not literate, only monks and scholars would have owned books. Vast, hand written and richly illustrated books would have been kept chained to lecterns. By the Renaissance period books had became more available, yet even then, only wealthy and learned individuals would have been able to own a small collection – enough to keep stacked horizontally in a small pile.

    It was not until around the end of the 16th century that books became more accessible and collections grew to the size of libraries. Now, the need for categorical systems for arranging books meant that vertical storage was more practical, as well for ease of moving and removing books. Book shelves and heavy bookends became a necessity to store collections vertically.

    Modern book shelves meant that bookends changed from being a necessity to a decorative item and the wonderful array of designs that appeared make bookends valuable collector's item today.'

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