Bookplate of Joseph Smith (1673/4-1770)
Bookplate of Joseph Smith, book collector, patron, and British Consul in Venice, from an edition of Madame Riccoboni's Recueil de pièces détachées (1765). As well as marrying Catherine Tofts (the first English prima donna), helping to set up a printing firm in Venice, and commissioning works from Canaletto, 'Consul' Smith built up a vast library, including many incunabula. He was eventually forced to sell his collection to George III, to help himself out of financial difficulties, and it now forms a significant part of the King's Library, which functions as the centrepiece of the new British Library. He continued to buy volumes in later life, particularly contemporary literature, and St John's has three volumes bearing his bookplate, all given by Thomas Gisborne. The arms on his bookplate are those of the Smith family of Essex and Suffolk, although he never established his right to use them.