In black ink. A marshalling of 12, this bookplate incorporates several notable charges, including two sets of eagle heads, erased, a leg erased, three garbes, a stag salient with hounds in pursuit, a scythe, three bugle-horns, three maiden's busts, three crosses-crosslet, three mullets and a lion rampant. The escutcheon is surrounded by an ornate, foliage border in the Chippendale style. It is crowned with a peer helmet, set upon a vegetative backdrop. The mantling supports two straight wreathes, charged with a demi-eagle, holding an escalop in its beak (dexter) and a stag courant (sinister). Among the many heraldic armorials depicted, this bookplate includes several identifiable familial crests. The originator's descendants, include, from dexter chief to sinister base, the Wilmot family in armorial one, the Eardley family in armorial three and the Marrow family in armorial seven. The Wilmot family armorial displays a sable (black) background parted per fess, or (gold), with three escalops on the fess, situated between three eagle heads, erased, two over one. The Eardley family armorial is argent (silver), with a chevron, azure (blue), charged with three garbes (sheaves of corn) and in canton gules (red) a fret, or. The Marrow family armorial is azure, parted per fess, or, engrailed, situated between three maiden's busts, two over one.
Though the Berkswell manor was inherited by John Eardley Wilmot, it seems likely that this bookplate belonged to his son, Sir John Eardley Eardley-Wilmot (1783-1847), lawyer, politician, colonial administrator and abolitionist, who was created first baronet in 1821. Wilmot built Berkswell Hall c.1815 and resided there until appointed to serve as Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemens Land (Tasmania) in 1843. In 1822 Eardley-Wilmot published "An Abridgement of Blackstone's Commentaries" and in 1827 "A Letter to the Magistrates of England." Prior to his relocation to Tasmania, Eardley-Wilmot served as MP for North Warwickshire (1832-1843) and chairman of the quarter sessions for Warwickshire (1830-1843). During this period, Eardley-Wilmot was an active proponent of penal reforms, particularly those affecting juvenile offenders. It is suspected that his interest in penal reforms was a contributing factor in his appointment to serve as colonial administrator in Van Diemens Land. Upon his arrival he was confronted with a dysfunctional probation system and a depressed economy, his failure to repair this system led to his chastisement by the Colonial Office and his unpopularity with the colonists. After a request for his recall in 1846, due to both his failure as an administrator, and questionable reports regarding his private life, he died in 1847 in Van Diemens Land, gathering evidence to defend his character and administration. Sir John Eardley Eardley-Wilmot, 1st Bt (1783-1847) is featured in several group portraits in London's National Portrait Gallery, including, the oil painting by Benjamin Robert Haydon, "The Anti-Slavery Society Convention,1840" (1841). For more information on the Thomas Murray Collection, see: http://www.library.ubc.ca/spcoll/murray/default.html