Plate II: Frontispiece, Page 6

By Kelley Smoot Garrett, Austin, Texas

The definition of frontispiece from OxfordDictionaries.com states:

noun

1. an illustration facing the title page of a book.

2. Architecture the principal face of a building.

  • a decorated entrance.
  • a pediment over a door or window.
The Fairy Queen finds a baby in a shiny pink tulip

The Fairy Queen finds a baby in a shiny pink tulip

So clearly any frontispiece sets the stage for the story to come, and that’s clearly what Letitia did in this first page of the book, a full-page illustration of the Fairy Queen finding a baby in a “shiny pink tulip.”

In fact, the very use of a frontispiece is part of a long tradition of publishing books, that dates back to the first book ever printed on moveable type: Gutenberg’s Bible. Letitia anchored all of “Princess April Morning-Glory” in traditional book-publishing principals, which actually predated the mid 1400’s, when the first Gutenberg Bible is believed to have been printed.

That this frontispiece does not actually face the title page of the book is only due to my editorial bow to modern sensibilities, and placement of dedication and copyright pages in today’s books. In its page ordering as Letitia designed, and left it, this frontispiece is to be displayed opposite the title page, where it rightfully belongs.

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