World Book Day

Cowan Arts & Crafts Ceramic "Monk Reading" Bookends (LEO Design)

23 April is World Book Day—a day devoted to the promotion of reading, publishing, book collecting and copyright protection.  This date was first marked by Catalan booksellers who, in 1923, wanted a way to commemorate the burial date of national literary giant Miguel de Cervantes.  Interestingly, William Shakespeare also died on 23 April (according to the ancient, Julian calendar which England was still using at the time of the Bard’s death).

Since 1926, Catalonians have exchanged books on this day.  Since 1995, it has been recognized by UNESCO as a world-wide event.

The Arts & Crafts “Scholar Monk” bookends, pictured above, were made about a decade before the first Book Day—in the 1910’s. They were made by Cowan in Lakewood, Ohio of ceramic and finished with a rich, matte green glaze. Click on the photo to learn more about them.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248