"One of the delights and glories of bibliography is the bookplate, or ex libris, as it is now the fashion to term those dainty little art works used as marks of ownership in books." So wrote John Vinycomb, the foremost exponent of the art of bookplate design in the north of Ireland in his day. Vinycomb worked for the local printers Marcus Ward & Co. He designed many bookplates, including that of the Linen Hall Library. Over the years the Library has acquired a comprehensive collection of Irish bookplates and is fortunate in having examples of craftsmanship of such noted artists as Vinycomb, J. W. Carey, J. F. Badeley, Graham Johnston, Robert Gibbings and Jack B. Yeats. The Core of this collection was donated by the photographer and natural historian Robert J. Welch. His own bookplate was designed by J. W. Carey from a photograph he took on Clare Island, County Mayo in 1909-10, depicting the great headland of Croaghmore from the north-east. The collection and study of bookplates has long been a recognised area of endeavour for the bibliographer, the artist, the collector and the social historian. This collection compliments and extends other major collections in Ireland.
This collection includes examples of craftsmanship of artists such as John Vinycomb, J. W. Carey, J. F. Badeley, Graham Johnston, Robert Gibbings and Jack B. Yeats.