Thursday, 31 July 2008

Col. Hugh OWEN (1784-1861)

Major Hugh Owen of the 7th & 18th Hussars, Macphail lith., 1849

Born at Denbigh he served with distinction in the Peninsular War, and in 1810 joined the Portuguese Army.
Colonel Hugh Owen begun his military career in the Shropshire Volunteers as a gazetted Captain in 1803.
He served in the Peninsular War, arriving in Portugal in 1809, as a Lieutenant of the 16th Light Dragoons Regiment, under the command of Lord Cambermere. He was present at Albergaria, Grijó and in the pursuit of the French Army under Marshall Soult on their flight to Salamonde.
At the battle of Talavera he commanded the united skirmishers of the 14th, 16th and 23rd Light Dragoons and of the 1st German Hussars of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade under the command of Brigadier General Stapleton Cotton.
In 1810 was promoted a Captain of the Portuguese Army by Marshall Beresford serving as Aide-de-Camp of General Fane commander of a Brigade attached to the Hill Division on the retreat to the Lines of Torres Vedras and operations thereafter.
As a Major, he then served as aide de camp of General Benjamin d’Urban, commander of the Portuguese Cavalry Brigade.
At the battle of Vitória he commanded the cavalry charge that ended French resistance, having attracted the attention of Lord Wellington.
At the end of the war, in 1815, Owen entered the service of the Portuguese Army as a Lieutenant Colonel of the 6th Chaves Dragoons Regiment.
In 1820, he accompanied Marshal Beresford to Brazil having returned on August with dispatches to the Regency and transferred as a brevet Colonel to the 4th Portuguese Cavalry Regiment.
But, by this time the 1820 Revolution had taken place and the Provisional Junta had dismissed Marshall Sir William Beresford and all British Officers in the Portuguese Army.
Colonel Hugh Owen then abandoned the Army but decided to stay in Portugal, marrying on December, 1820, a Portuguese rich heiress from Oporto – Maria Rita da Rocha Pinto Velho da Silva, dau. of a very wealthy Port Wine Merchant.
For his services during the Peninsular War he was made a Knight of the Order of the Tower and Sword and a Commander of the Order of St. Benedict of Avis. Awarded also the Army Gold Cross and the Peninsular Military General Service Medal with 4 clasps for Talavera, Albuera, Vittoria and Pyrenees and three Spanish medals.
In 1832, at the start of the Civil War he lived at Oporto then taken by the troops led by D. Pedro, duke of Braganza who immediately invited him the command the Cavalry as a General. Col. Owen refused being a British citizen and obeying the instructions from H.M. Government. But during the siege of Oporto by D. Miguel’s army he gave his collaboration to D. Pedro.
He published his memoirs of that period - The Civil War in Portugal: And the Siege of Oporto, London, E. Moxon, 1836, of which there was a Portuguese edition - O Cerco do Porto contado por uma Testemunha - O Coronel Owen, Porto 1915.
In 1856 he returned to Britain leaving behind his wife and children.
Sources: Edmund Burke, The Annual Register... for the Year 1860, London, Rivington, 1860, p. 478; «The Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies», University of Wales Board of Celtic Studies, 1921, p. 269.

In his bookplate Colonel Hugh Owen bears pending from his arms the insignia of the Order of the Tower and Sword and its motto - «Valor e Lealdade». In the first and second quarters his other medals are shown.

Motto: Alert and Loyal.


It is yet another British bookplate showing the insignia of the Order of the Tower and Sword obtained for services during the Peninsular War.
See, another miniature portrait of 1808 - at the National Portrait Gallery

Monday, 28 July 2008

Edward Pratt of Ryston Hall

Edward Pratt of Ryston (1717 - 1784)

The son of Roger Pratt of Ryston, Sheriff (d 1771) and Henrietta Davers, dau of Sir Robert Davers, Bart. Married Blanche Astley, dau of Sir Jacob Astley, Bart of Melton Constable.
A Fellow of Caius College, Cambridge
Levi Sculpt.

Arms: argent, on a chevron sable between three ogresses charged in chief with martlets of the first and in base with a trefoil argent, as many mascles or.
Crest: a wolf’s head erased and collared, between acorns slipped and leaved.
NIF but referring a jacobean armorial bookplate of Roger Pratt, who died in 1771 (see above). F24045. Possibly the same plate reworked with the name changed.
A grandson Jermyn Pratt, of Ryston Hall (1798-1867) also bore bookplates referred by F #24036, #24037 & #24039)

Source: Stirnet


China will be holding for the first time a FISAE EX LIBRIS CONGRESS.

The Congress will take place at Beijing, 14-17 October 2008, at the International Museum of China Millennium Monument, the finest art museum in Beijing.

The exhibitions include the “Retrospective Exhibition of Chinese Exlibris Treasures” and the “International Exlibris Exhibition of World Famous Artists” – both of which are supported by the Chinese Government.

An International Competition for Ex Libris Artists has been launched and the works chosen by the Jury will be exhibited during the Congress.

The modern ex libris movement, which begun as part of an European cultural manifestation linked to the love of books and the development of the printing arts, moved to the New World, spread to Japan in the late XIXth century, rechead the Middle East (Turkey) and has finally "returned" to China - where paper was invented and the printing arts were born centuries ago.

Ex libris collecting and the love of books has built a bridge between different Cultures, which have so often lived ignoring each other, except among a few enlightened.

The Ex Libris international movement is a powerful way to gather and unite people with a common passion, beyond, political, social religious or cultural differences.

This was the aim of the founders of FISAE, after WWII. Their wishes have seemingly fruitified!

Let's hope for a reasonable attendance of Western bookplate lovers at the Beijing Congress, despite the distance that separate Europe, the Americas and Austrlia from China.
Our best wishes for the Congress organizers and the Chinese bookplate lovers.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Richard de Ruffey

Gilles Germain Richard de Ruffey (1706 - 1794), seigneur de Ruffey sous Beaune, de Vesvrotte, de Trouhans, du Martray et de Crilloire en Anjou.

Richard de Ruffey - Président à la Chambre des comptes de Bourgogne and élu du Roi aux États de Bourgogne, was a passionate numismate and known as a man of culture and a bibliophile having formed a rich library.
Married in 1739 Anne Claude de La Forest.
In 1759 he was elected président de l'Académie de Dijon.
His daughter Marie Thérèse Sophie (b. 1754-1789), marquise de Monnier by marriage (1771) was famous by being the lover of Mirabeau with whom she eloped to Geneva and then to Holland (see, Memoirs of Mirabeau: Biographical, Literary, and Political…, London, E. Churton, 1835).
His elder son Frédéric-Henri Richard de Ruffey, président au Parlement de Bourgogne till its dissolution by the Revolutionary Assembly in 1790, was arrested and imprisoned during the Revolution accused of being an émigré and a Royalist and executed in 1794.
The bookplate:
Arms: Azure, on a chief or three bezants gules.
Supporters: Two eagles proper with a marquess’ crown
Motto: Quo Justior, Eo Editior
Legend: «Ex Libris Dni. Richard de Ruffey, Regi à Conciliis. Ejusquè in generalibus Burgundiae Comitiis Electi perpetui»
Artist: Copper engraving by Jean-Baptiste Scotin (b. 1678- d. aft. 1733) who belonged to dynasty of notable engravers.

Léon Quantin, Ex-Libris Bourguignons, Paris, 1907, page 49 ;
Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne, ouvrage rédigé par une société ..., Tome Quatre-Vingtième, Paris, L. G. Michaud, 1847, pp. 135-141

Paul Cottin, Sophie de Monnier et Mirabeau d'àprès leur correspondance secrète inédite…, Paris, 1903

Monday, 21 July 2008

The Bookplates of the Claret Fleurieu Family

The French Claret Fleurieu De La Tourrette are a fine example of the love of books and the use of superlibris or bookplates by successive generations of the same Family. Here are some examples although others might appear:

Jean Claret (1620-1704)

The grandson of a needle merchant established at Lyon, he laid the foundations of the family’s social uprising by acquiring the fortified mansion of La Tourette, in 1681, from Jean Michon, bourgeois of Lyon, and by becoming an échevin (municipal magistrate) of the city of Lyon in 1689-90 and later obtained the office of secrétaire du roi, maison et couronne de France et de ses finances en la généralité de Lyon. The alliance between the two families was consolidated by the marriage of the latter’s daughter Bonne Michon to Jean’s son Jacques Claude Claret, in 1690.
The above superlibris is believed to have been used in his books.

Jacques-Annibal Claret Fleurieu de La Tourrette (1692-1776), Knight, baron d’Evreux, seigneur de La Tourette and Fleurieu.
A high magistrate of the city of Lyon – Prévot des marchands de Lyon (1740-45) and Président en la Cour des Monnaies.

A grandson of the above mentioned Jean Claret and the son of Jacques Claude Claret (1656-1741), Knight, seigneur de la Tourette, Fleurieu, Saint-Pierre, Eveux, Bélair, etc. Président à la Cour des Monnaies and his wife Bonne Michon, dau. of Jean Michon, a wealthy bourgeois merchant of Lyon who detained the fief of La Tourrette. His father was a patron of the Arts who built a valuable collection of paintings, books and numismatic.
In 1716, Jacques-Annibal Claret Fleurieu was admitted to the Academy of Lyon, becoming in 1736 its secretary for life. Having inherited his father’s love for books he greatly augmented the Library, reputed as one of the richest private libraries in Lyon, famous for its fine bindings and rare editions. Left many works in prose and verse unpublished.

Arms: argent, on a bend azure, a sun in his splendour or.
A shield supported by two eagles proper, with an earl's crown.
Legend: «Ex Libris Jacobi Annibalis Claret Delatourrette Equitis, Regi à consiliis in Supremâ Lugdunensi mon etalium Judicum curia praesidis, capitalium rerum Pratoris Primarii. 1719»

The Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon holds however books in which appear bookplates dated «1740».

Charles-Pierre Claret de Fleurieu (1738-1810), comte de Fleurieu

A famous French statesman and scientist interested in the theoretical study of the nautical sciences.
The younger son of Jacques-Annibal Claret Fleurieu de La Tourrette, he entered the French Royal Navy becoming a distinguished Officer. In 1777, Fleurieu was appointed directeur des ports et arsenaux (inspector general of ports and navy yards) and from 1778 till 1783 he elaborated all the plans for the naval war against England, to assist the struggle for the independence of the United States.
In 1790, Louis XVI appointed him Minister of the Navy and Colonies but under pressures from the Jacobins at the Assemblée, he soon presented his resignation to the King. However, as a proof of his esteem, Louis XVI appointed Fleurieu, gouverneur du Prince-Royal - the future Louis XVII.
During the Terror he was imprisoned till the 9 Thermidor having lost all his fortune and properties. Under the Directory he was appointed to the Bureau des Longitudes and to the Institut and elected a member of the Conseil des Anciens in 1797.
In 1800, Bonaparte called him to the council of state and appointed him as Minister Plenipotentiary for the signature of the treaty ceding Louisiana to the United States.
In 1804 he became Intendant général de la maison de l'Empereur, governor of the Tuileries and the Louvre, grand officer of the Légion d’Honneur, a senator, in 1806, and was made a count of the Empire.

Napoleon honoured him ordering a national funeral and his burial at the Panthéon.
His Library and geographical collections were sold in an auction in 1798 (see, Catalogue des livres de la bibliothèque du C.***, dont la vente se fera en la maison d’agence et de commerce des citoyens Mauger, Amelot et Hubert, rue des Fossés-Montmartre, n° 4, le tridi 23 Prairial an VI et jours suivans, à cinq heures précises du soir., Paris, Hubert – Mauger, 1798)

Between 1793-98, he published many works on his travels, nautical sciences, the French Discoveries, hydrography, geography, botany and atlases.

(Sources: &

Robert de Saint-Loup, Dictionnaire de La Noblesse Consulaire de Lyon, Versailles, Mémoires et Documents, 2004
Sylvain Claret de Fleurieu, Histoire de la Famille Fleurieu
Pierre Forissier, Les Claret de Fleurieu, seigneurs de la Tourette – Une grande famille d’Evreux

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Major-General Sir Robert John HARVEY

Major-General Sir Robert John HARVEY, CB, KTS, FRS, FAS (1785-1860), of Mousehold House, Norwich

The son of John Harvey, Esq,, of Thorpe Lodge, Norfolk and Frances Kerrinson, daughter of Sir Roger Kerrinson, of Brooke House. In 1815, he married his distant cousin Charlotte Mary, dau. of Robert Harvey, Esq., of Watton.
In the expedition sent to Portugal in March 1809, under the command of Major-General Lord Hill, he served as a Captain of the 53rd Foot Regiment. In 1810, he was made a Major and appointed Assistant-Quarter-Master-General of the Portuguese Army attached to the Headquarters of the Portuguese Army’s Commander-in-Chief - Marshall William Carr Beresford. In 1811, Beresford appointed him to General-Headquarters of Marshall Lord Wellington – Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces, as a liaison Officer with the Portuguese troops in the field and as Chief of the Staff of the Portuguese Army, in his absence. He remained in this position till the end of the war in 1814[1].
During the first years of the War his services were particularly relevant in organizing nine Portuguese Guerrilla Corps, the Ordenanças and in intelligence services[2] owing to his superior linguist abilities and perfect domain of the French and German languages.
He was present namely, at the battles of Oporto, Buçaco, Salamanca, Vitoria, Pyrenees, Nive, Nivelle, Orthez, Toulouse and in the sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo, Burgos, Badajoz and San Sebastian. After the capture of Badajoz (April 1812) Harvey was made a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Portuguese Army. After Salamanca and Vitória, Harvey was promoted a Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army, on the recommendation of Lord Wellington.
For his distinguished services in the Peninsular War he was made by the King of Portugal a knight of the Order of the Tower and Sword (British Royal Warrant of May 1816). The Prince Regent awarded him a knighthood, in February, 6th, 1817, [3] and in 1831 he was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath.
In an engraved portrait of 1821, by Charles Knight, he proudly bears his Portuguese decorations – the Peninsular War Campaign Cross (6 campaigns), the insignia of a Knight of the Order of the Tower and Sword and the rare Commander’s Medal of the Peninsular War (10 campaigns) -, and the Army Gold Medal (Orthez). The absence of the insignia of the order of Avis means that the award was made after that date, also for services in the Peninsular War.

The bookplate bears the arms of Harvey of Thorpe with Harvey on an escutcheon[4], with several augmentations of honour:
Arms: Erminois on a chief indented gules between two crescents argent, the Army Gold Medal awarded by the Prince Regent for his services at the Battle of Orthes, a canton ermine charged with the badge of a Knight of the Order of the Tower and Sword[5].
Crest: Over a dexter cubit arm, erect, ppr., a crescent arg. between two branches of laurel also ppr., with the augmentation of a mural crown or, out of which the arm is issuant.
Motto: Alteri si Tibi.
The bookplate also shows the badge of the Order of the Tower and Sword pending with a ribbon from the shield, which only occurs with few British recipients of the Order, founded in Brazil in 1808. It proves how highly Sir Robert John Harvey esteemed this award.
Sir Robert J. Harvey used yet another armorial bookplate in stencil, bearing also pending from the shield the cross of the Order of Avis of which he was a knight commander[6].
According to the Catalogue of the Franks Collection of Bookplates, Sir Robert Harvey’s father – John Harvey, Esq. also used an armorial spade shield bookplate with Harvey impalling Kerrinson [7].

Thanks are due to our good friend Paulo Estrela for his valuable help in clarifying Sir Robert J. Harvey’s Peninsular War decorations and in calling our attention to the fact that those decorations were sadly dispersed, sold in auctions namely, at Christie’s (24.04.92) and at Spink’s (25.09.01).
[1] For a more detailed account of his military career, namely in the Peninsular War see, the Obituary published in «The Gentleman's Magazine», London, 1860, pp. 191-193
[2] H G Hart, Hart's Annual Army List, Militia List, and Imperial Yeomanry List, J. Murray, 1845, p. 26
[3] Francis Townsend, Calendar of Knights: Containing Lists of Knights Bachelors, British Knights of Foreign Orders ..., W. Pickering, 1828, pp. 30 and 92
[4] See, Franks Collection Catalogue, # 14013, vol. 2, p. 29.
[5] John Burke & John Bernard Burke, The Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland, London, 1841, pp. 169-170 and Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, Vol 1, London, Henry Colburn, 1847, p. 544
[6] John Blatchly, Elegant Economy: the stencilled ex-libris, in «The Bookplate Journal», Vol. 4, #1, March 2006, p.37; referring the Order of Avis, see, Hart’s, ibidem, p. 471
[7] Ibidem, # 14002

Monday, 14 July 2008

Rear-Admiral Thomas Western

Rear-Admiral Thomas Western (1761 - 1814), of Tattingston Place, co. Suffolk, inherited in 1080 from a cousin of his father.
He was the second son of Thomas Western (1735 -1781), of Walcot Church, Bath and of Jane Calvert. Married Mary Burch (1777 – 1856), born in Bermudas, West Indies.
The trophy armorial bookplate bears the badge of the Order of the Tower and Sword pending from the shield (badly represented since the star should have seven rays).
During the Portuguese Royal Family voyage to Brazil, avoiding Napoleon’s invading troops, escorted by a Squadron of the British Royal Navy, under the command of Commodore Moore, the then Captain T. Western commanded H.M.S. London.
On December 17th, 1808, on the Queen’s birthday, the Prince Regent Dom João granted Captain Western the class of Commander of the newly reinstituted Order of the Tower and Sword.
According to Francis Townsend, Rear-Admiral Thomas Western only received the Royal Licence to accept the decoration on August, 26th, 1814, few months before he died[i].
See, the Order of the Tower and Sword – II Centenary (1808 – 2008)


Contra-Almirante Thomas WESTERN (1761-1814), de Tattingston Place, co. Suffolk, propriedade herdada em 1808 de Thomas White primo de seu pai.
Filho segundogénito de Thomas WESTERN (1735-1781) de Walcot Church, Bath e de Jane CALVERT. Foi casado com Mary BURCH (1777-1856) n. nas Bermudas, Índias Orientais.
O ex-líbris com as armas do titular, e rodeado de troféus, ostenta as insígnias da Ordem de Torre e Espada (mal representadas, uma vez que a placa deveria ter uma estrela de seis raios).
O então Capitão Thomas Western comandava o navio «London», que integrava a esquadra Inglesa, sob o comando do Comodoro Moore, que escoltou a Família Real na sua viagem para o Brasil.
Recebeu a Ordem da Torre e Espada, no grau de comendador, em 17 de Dezembro de 1808.
Ver A ordem da Torre e Espada – II Centenário (1808 – 2008)
Paul Latchan, Bookplates in the Trophy Style, London, The Bookplate Society, 2006, plate #244, p 158.

[i] Cf. Calendar of Knights: Containing Lists of Knights Bachelors, British Knights of Foreign Orders ...: London, W. Pickering, 1826

Sir Rutherford Alcock's Bookplate (Reviewed)

Sir Rutherford Alcock, K.C.B., D.C.L.,F.R.G.S. (1809-1897)

After the death fo King John VI, in 1826, Portugal was ravaged by a Civil War between (1828-1834) opposing the proclaimed King, Dom Miguel I and the Liberals, led by Dom Pedro, duke fo Braganza, former Emperor of Brazil and for a short while King of Portugal. Dom Pedro gave a Constitutional Chart to the nation and abdicated the crown on his daughter D. Maria II, backed by Great Britain with the condition that she should marry his younger brother D. Miguel then exiled in Vienna. The prince at first complied and swore the new Constitution, but soon after with the support of the conservative forces called the ancient Cortes and was proclaimed King. The Liberals were prosecuted, emprisoned, some executed and others fled into exile, mainly to England.

Engraving by Daumier, 1833 (BNL)

When the Liberal forces disembarked in the North of Portugal taking the city of Oporto they were assisted by a Battalion composed of British Volunteers, under the comand of Lieut.-Colonel G. Lloyd Hodges ((1792-1862) and whose action was so important for the outcome of the war in 1834.

Among those Britons, was the young Doctor Rutherford Alcock, a Brigade Surgeon, who served throughout the civil war with bravery and distinction assisting the wounded and curing the sick amongst many difficulties.

After the end of the Civil War, Doctor R. Alcock was made a Knight of the Order of the Tower and Sword (founded in 1808 and reformed in 1832 by Dom Pedro, duke of Braganza) by Royal Decree of Queen D. Maria II, of May, 30th, 1835. The decree mentions Doctor Alcock's relevant services assisting the wounded under fire and the 6 wounds received during the battle of Lordelo, on July 25th, 1833 (*).

Other British Officers like Col. G. Lloyd Hodges KC TS (who later resigned and returned the order), Major Charles Shaw, Major Staunton (later killed in action) and Lieut. Mitchell, had received the Order of the Tower and Sword during the Civil War.

After the end of the war in Portugal, Doctor Alcock joined as a Surgeon the Naval Brigade who fought in Spain (1836) during the Carlist War.

Leaving the medical profession he was appointed British Consul at Fuchow and later in Shangai, in China and in 1858, he was appointed consul-general in the empire of Japan, and one year later was promoted to be Minister Plenipotentiary.

In 1865 he was appointed Minister to Pekin till he retired in 1871. He was also President of the Royal Geographical Society (1876-1878).
His activity as Envoy to Japan has been masterly discussed by Ambassador Sir Hugh Cortazzi, Sir Rutherford Alcock, the first British minister to Japan 1859-1864: a reassessment, «Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan»(4th series) 8, 1994, pp. 1-42.

Keen of oriental art, specially Chinese and Japanese, Sir Rutherford Alcock wrote Art and Art Industries in Japan, London, Virtue & Co, 1878 and Notes on the Medical History of the British Legion of Spain (1838), Elements of Japanese Grammar (1861); The Capital of the Tycoon (1863) and Familiar Dialogues in Japanese (1863).
Portrait at

The bookplate bears the insignia of the Orders of Bath, Isabel, a Católica (Spain) and the Tower and of the Sword (Portugal) and it must have been made (or altered) after 1860, date in which he was made a CB.

This bookplate is particularly interesting since there are few British members of Portuguese Orders, namely the order of the Tower and Sword (f. 1808 and reformed 1832) who proudly bore the order's insignia in their armorial bearings.

Apparently, Doctor Alcock used another bookplate with the same arms but with his initials.

Doctor Alcock's presence in Portugal at Oporto explains the presence of his bookplate in Portuguese collections.

See, G. Lloyd Hodges, Narrative of the Expedtition to Portugal in 1832, Under the Orders of His Imperial Majesty Dom Pedro, Duke fo Braganza, 2 vols., London, James Fraser, 1833;
Col. Hugh Owen, The Civil War in Portugal: And the Siege of Oporto, London, E. Moxon, 1836); Charles Shaw, Personal Memoirs and Correspondence of Colonel Charles Shaw: Comprising a ... , 2 vols., London, H. Colburn, 1837; Thomas Knight, The British Battalion at Oporto: With Adventures, Anecdotes, and Exploits in ..., London, 1834.

See also, an interesting article by Anna Jackson on the The Victorian Vision of China and Japan where Sir Rutherford Alcock’s oriental collection contribute to the the London International Exhibition of 1862 is discussed.

Biography; and for the military carrer see, Prof. Kaufman's:

Further reading: MICHIE, Alexander., THE ENGLISHMAN IN CHINA DURING THE VICTORIAN ERA: As As Illustrated in the Career of Sir Rutherford Alcock, K.C.B D.C.L. Many Years Consul & Minister in China & Japan, London 1900, and at

(*) Special thanks are due to my dear friend Paulo Estrela, a keen researcher and author on Phaleristics, for letting me know the documents referring the award of the Order of the Tower and Sword to Doctor Rutherford Alcock.

Posted November 6th, 2006
Text reviewed July 2008