John Feely (ca. 1819–1878)
Born in Ireland, Feely moved
to London in the early 1840s, where he engraved brass stamps,
or dies, for three or
four books. He and his family emigrated to the United
States in around 1843, and by 1846 he was advertising
his services as an engraver (a.k.a. diesinker, die
cutter, die stamp cutter/engraver) in the New York City
Feely cut stamps for more than fifty publishers, most
of whom were in New York City, but his stamps are also
found on a few books published in the present-day Midwest.
Over his working life of
about thirty years, Feely signed almost half of his attributed
output of at least 270 stamps. Feely cut a wide variety of images from natural
to political scenes, and his most recognizable design motif is the exaggerated
serpentine line used to fill in backgrounds. For an example, please see pbw00013, The
Hero Boy, or, The Life and Deeds of Lieut-Gen. Grant by Phineas
C. Headley (W.H. Appleton,
here to search the PBO database for bindings designed
by John Feely.
Monograms: FEELY in caps; Feely in script; or more commonly,
a conjoined JF.
Source: Sue Allen and Charles Gullans, Decorated
Cloth in America (1994).
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