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ArtLex Art Dictionary



ffrontispiece - An illustration that faces or immediately precedes the title page of a book, or section of any publication. In architecture, a façade, especially an ornamental façade.

May refer to a small ornamental pediment, as on top of a door.


Examples of frontispieces in the first sense:


Luigi Chizzola (Italian, d. 1790), author; Brescia : [s.n.], 1760. (Stampe di Giambatista Bossini ??), publisher, Le Pitture e Sculture di Brescia che sono esposte al pubblico con un' appendice di alcune private gallerie., 1760, printed book; xxiv, 196 pages: illustrations, plates; 21 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
see thumbnail to rightIllustrated: frontispiece and title page of Le Pitture e Sculture di Brescia....




see thumbnail to leftWilliam Blake (English, 1757-1827), Frontispiece to 'Visions of the Daughters of Albion', c. 1795, color print finished in ink and watercolor on paper, 17.0 x 12.0 cm, Tate Gallery, London. See Romanticism.



Giovanni Belzoni Battista (Italian, 1778-1823), author; London: J. Murray, 1820, publisher, Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries Within the Pyramids, Temples, Tombs and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia: and of a Journey to the Coast of the Red Sea, in Search of the Ancient Berenice; and Another to the Oasis of Jupiter Ammon / By G., 1820, printed book; xix + 533 pages: 2 portraits, 1 plate, 1 map; 29 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
see thumbnail to rightIllustrated: frontispiece lithograph portrait of G. Belzoni beside the title page.



Theodore Henry Adolphus Fielding (British, 1781-1851), author; London: published for the author by Ackermann and Co., publisher, On Painting in Oil and Water Colours, Landscape and Portraits Including the Preparation of Colours, Vehicles, Oils, etc., Method of Painting in Wax, or Encaustic, 1839, printed book; viii, 159 pages, 10 leaves of plates: illustrations (some colored); 28 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
see thumbnail to leftIllustrated: hand-colored frontispiece and title page from Fielding's treatise on painting. See palette.




see thumbnail to rightSamuel Hollyer (American, 1826-1919) after Gabriel Harrison, Walt Whitman (1819-1892), c. 1854-1855, stipple engraving on paper, sheet: 29 x 21.3cm (11 7/16 x 8 3/8 inches), National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC. Whitman was 36 years old, and self-published the first edition of Leaves of Grass, 1855, using this portrait for its frontispiece, and later wrote of it: "I look so damned flamboyant, as if I was hurling bolts at somebody-full of mad oaths-saying defiantly, to hell with you!"




see thumbnail to leftRichard Doyle, illustrator, cover of Andrew Lang's The Princess Nobody, A Tale of Fairyland, 1884, published by E.P. Dutton & Co., New York.

see thumbnail to rightDoyle's frontispiece for The Princess Nobody.






see thumbnail to leftHelen Beatrix Potter (English, 1866-1943), from Illustrations for "The Tailor of Gloucester", Frontispiece: The Tailor Mouse, c. 1902, pen and ink and watercolor on paper, 11.1 x 9.2 cm, Tate Gallery, London. See illustration.




see thumbnail to rightAubrey Beardsley (English, 1872-1898), Frontispiece to Chopin's Third Ballade, 1895, pen and ink and ink wash on paper, 26.0 x 24.5 cm, Tate Gallery, London. See aestheticism and fin de siècle.






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