|Birth: ||May 10, 1866|
|Death: ||Aug. 5, 1942|
Frederick Charles Blank was a general engraver and designer of the early 1900s. He designed and engraved many Ex-Libris bookplates of the period, including the Daughters of
the American Revolution (DAR) bookplate. He also engraved gold presentation razors for King Gillette of the Gillette Razor Co. Especially known for his engraving showing the history of the Panama, the Canal and the development of
the west exhibited at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, where he was awarded the gold medal.
From the Book, "Frederick Charles Blank and his Art." By John Roth, 1923 as re-printed from the American Society of Bookplate Collectors and Designers 1923 Yearbook:
The distinctive and very interesting bookplates by Frederick Charles Bank of Boston in this issue of the Year Book mark rather the active resumption of a long dormant interest in this art than the entrance of a new designer and engraver. Mr. Blank, a native of Rockville, Connecticut, is a master of ornamental letter and pictorial engraving and design, having studied and practiced the art in the days when a watch-case was a work of art. Some sixteen or seventeen years have passed since he made his first bookplate.
After having designed some few examples, business pressure compelled him to devote his entire attention to other lines of engraving, especially the engraving of King Gillette's presentation razors. However, his interest in bookplates was not abandoned, though necessarily some-what abated.
Late in 1919 he re-entered the field with the distinctive William Emery Nickerson plate. The design shows that the owner, a designer of intricate mechanical appliances, has also a deep interest in literature and the fine arts.
The ship "Fortune" and the dates 1621-40 allude to the purely New England ancestry of the owner of the plate. The execution of this plate was entrusted to other hands by Mr. Blank, not only because of the pressure of other work, but
also by reason of the fact that for many years the artist had confined his attention to engraving for direct effect, a style which differs radically from that done for its effect in the struck impression. Not wholly satisfied with
the results in this and companion plates, Mr. Blank resolved to engrave his own designs, and he therefore executed his personal plate. That this decision was a
wise one is apparent upon examination of this plate: also the recent copper in the pure colonial for Ida Cony Frazee.
In his personal plate Mr. Blank expresses his admiration for the old masters of the art, viz., those artists who executed their own plates as well as those moderns whom he considers their most worthy successors. The Greek Legend (Strive for the best things) is a reminiscence of his school days and carries the English translation "Strive for the best things," a motto to which he has always been faithful.
Mr. Blank has also designed plates that have been reproduced in methods of intaglio, other than hand engraved as well as certain attractive designs executed by him in steel-die form. He is an ardent admirer of the great masters of engraving, past and present, and while accepting the trend of modernism in art, refuses to cater to the so-called
ultra modern. He holds also that a bookplate should be individual, expressive of the owner's personality and tastes, and although a student of heraldry, he does not consider that the purely armorial plate should be used except in rare cases.
Of his other work, perhaps the most admired has been the carved and engraved Gillette Razor set showing the history of Panama, the Canal and the development of the West, as well as the achievement of the large manufacturing company he is connected with, made for and first exhibited at the Panama Pacific Exposition, where it was awarded the gold medal. This set often placed before the public, is a beautiful example of the possibilities of the graver in the proper hand, combining the history with art.
Ida Cony Blank Frazee (1889 - 1974)*
Aged 62 YRS
Grove Hill Cemetery
Created by: Sue
Record added: Feb 06, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 33592625
Added: Mar. 5, 2010