Book frontispiece  

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"Musei Wormiani Historia", the frontispiece from the Museum Wormianum depicting Ole Worm's cabinet of curiosities
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"Musei Wormiani Historia", the frontispiece from the Museum Wormianum depicting Ole Worm's cabinet of curiosities
 Frontispiece for the 1638 edition of The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton
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Frontispiece for the 1638 edition of The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

A frontispiece in books generally refers to a decorative or informative illustration facing a book's title page, being the verso opposite the recto title page. While some books depict thematic elements, other books feature the author's portrait as the frontispiece.

The word originates from the French word frontispice, which was originally an architectural term referring to the decorative facade of a building. In the 1600s, the French term came to refer to the title pages in books, which were often decorated at the time with intricate engravings that borrowed stylistic elements from architecture, such as columns and pediments. Over the course of the 16th century, the title pages of books came to be accompanied by illustrations on the facing page and the term took on the meaning it retains today as early as 1682. By then, the English spelling had also morphed from frontispice to frontispiece.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Book frontispiece" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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