In black ink on white paper, a clock is pictured in the top right corner (possibly a grandfather clock), and a table stands in the foreground. On the table there are several items: a framed portrait of a man, a few books, a vase holding some flowers, and a paint palette and some brushes. There is a lyre on either side of the name at the bottom.
The same bookplate can also be found in McGill University’s Philippe Masson Ex Libris Collection. Owen Staples (born Owen Staple, September 3, 1866) was a Canadian artist. The second of eight children to Christopher Lucas Staple and Frances Davy Staple, Staples was born in Stoke-sub-Hamdon, England. In 1872, the Staple family moved to Ontario (Hamilton and Toronto), where they resided for a few years before moving to Rochester, New York. Interested in drawing and art from a young age, Staples received formal and informal training for his artistic skills, from various sources, during his time in Ontario and Rochester. It was in Rochester that he was first exposed to the art of wood engraving and etching. In 1882, Staples moved back to Toronto, where he found employment as an artist for newspaper articles. He later worked at an engravers and designers firm, where he was introduced to lithography. During his second stay in Toronto, Staples received his first continuing, formal art education, which he pursued further when he left in 1886 to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, in Philadelphia, for two years. Returning to Toronto after his education at the Academy, Staples became widely known as the cartoonist for The Telegram. The owner and founder of The Telegram, John Ross Robertson, also commissioned Staples, along with several other artists, to produce works depicting scenes of Canadian history. These works would eventually comprise a collection of thousands of paintings, etchings, pen drawings, lithographs and prints, which would become Robertson’s Landmarks of Toronto series. By the time of his death, Staples had established himself as a prolific and accomplished artist, having produced a large number of paintings, etchings and pen drawings. It is unknown when Staples created this bookplate, but its design emphasizes his love of art, literature, music and nature.