John Shorter 1625-1688

From Book Owners Online

Sir John SHORTER 1625-1688

Sir John Shorter's bookplate (British Museum Franks Collection *469)

Biographical Note

Son of John Shorter of Staines, Middlesex, baker. Apprenticed to James Sherley, goldsmith, 1641 (freed 1649), after which he developed a successful career as a goldsmith and merchant in London. Alderman of London 1676, Lord Mayor 1687-88.


Shorter had an engraved armorial bookplate dated 1687 (Franks *469). His will has no mention of books (though it reveals extensive wealth and property), and he was described by John Evelyn as "a very odd ignorant mechanic". No books with the bookplate have been traced and it has been suggested that Shorter provides an example of a wealthy grandee who perhaps owned books more for show than for reading.


  • Will of Sir John Shorter, The National Archives PROB 11/392/393.
  • Gambier Howe, E. R. J. Franks bequest: catalogue of British and American book plates bequeathed to the ... British Museum. London, 1903.
  • Pearson, D., Book ownership in Stuart England, Oxford, 2021.
  • Woodhead, J. The rulers of London 1660-1689. London, 1965, p.149.