Graham Johnston – Ex Libris The Honourable Mountstuart-Elphinstone

Out of stock

Original line-block drawing in black ink and grey wash on white paper – laid on board. Signed with monogram (GJ) and dated 1908. A stamp on the back reads The Court of The Lord Lyon, Graham Johnston, Heraldic Artist to Lyon Court, Edinburgh. The design and execution of this armorial are breath-taking and should be considered one of his finest works. The drawing will be delivered in a clear protective polyester sleeve along with a gallery label listing all relevant details including provenance.


The Hon Mountstuart Elphinstone FRSE (6 October 1779 – 20 November 1859) was a Scottish statesman and historian, associated with the government of British India. He later became the Governor of Bombay (now Mumbai) where he is credited with the opening of several educational institutions accessible to the Indian population. Besides being a noted administrator, he wrote books on India and Afghanistan.

Bookplates reached the height of their popularity domestically in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Not only was it considered the height of fashion for you or your institution to own your very own ex-libris, but, following the publication in 1880 of J. Leicester Warren’s Guide to the study of Book-plates, there emerged a certain vogue in collecting them.

Additional information


8 in x 5 1/4 in. (20.4 cm x 13.5 cm.)

Frame or Mount

Mount: 16 5/16 in x 13 3/8 in. (41.4 cm x 34 cm.)


Johnston, Graham (1869-1927)

From 1900 the finest Scottish practitioners available for commissions tended to be armorial designers. The best of them did work for or were herald painters at the Court of Lord Lyon in Edinburgh. Lyon Court has at any one time only one designated "herald painter". The finest early artists were Graham Johnston and Law Sampson. Johnston was the first principal artist to work from 1898 to 1927 and produced in excess of 160 plates. He advertised diligently, both directly and by sending so much work for inclusion in the Ex-Libris Journal post-1900. He despised the heraldry of many of the engravers used by J & E Bumpus, even going so far as to write to the King in hopes of commissioning. Never-the less Johnston dominates in that golden age of Scottish armory, he has also inspired armorial designers ever since.