Bookplate design by Stanisław Wyspiański for Lucjan Rydel, kept at the Jagiellonian Library
The subject of the article is Stanisław Wyspiański’s bookplate design for Lucjan Rydel, drawn by watercolour on grey paper (23,8 x 16,9 cm). As a standing rectangle, it shows symmetrically arranged twigs with flower buds, which resemble magnolias and freesias. e signs that appear next to the twigs, which are painted emerald green and light violet, are Z Księgozbioru (“From the book collection”) as well as Dr (?) LRydla [“Dr (?) LRydel’s”], the latter being the facsimile of a signature. It can be assumed that this drawing was Wyspiański’s present for his friend, gifted sometime in the years 1894–1899. Rydel never made a decision to have it printed, which undoubtedly contributed to its status of being unknown among experts and absent from the topic literature, either printed, handwritten or epistolary. The piece is nevertheless particularly important for the history of Polish bookplates. is seemingly ordinary drawing appears revolutionary when one considers that it shows an emblem shield deprived of the actual emblem, lacks an epic theme, does not have any text, and features art nouveau embellishments as well as a handwritten signature of the owner. It can be compared to the works created already in the first decade of the twentieth century by artists such as Jan Bukowski, Antoni Procajłowicz and Kazimierz Sichulski.