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is a decorative illustration facing a book's title page
The title page of a book, thesis or other written work is the page at or near the front which displays its title and author, usually together with information relating to the publication of the book...
. The frontispiece is the verso (left-hand page) opposite the recto
The recto and verso are respectively the "front" and "back" sides of a leaf of paper in a bound item such as a codex, book, broadsheet, or pamphlet. In languages written from left to right the recto is the right-hand page and the verso the left-hand page...
title page. Elaborate engraved frontispieces were in frequent use, especially in Bibles and in scholarly books, and many are masterpieces of engraving
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...
. The word may also refer to the title page itself, but this meaning is obsolete according to the Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...