The frontispiece is an illustration, which is on the second side of a book, the book cover not being counted in the page count (pagination). The frontispiece is therefore on the left side. Thus, the frontispiece is opposite to the title page, that is, the third side, and is printed on the back of the carpet, which is the first page. There is a book cover next to the book. Nowadays, this frontispiece page is rarely printed, but in biographical writings such as memoirs and autobiographies, as well as art books, it sometimes still shows a portrait of the respective author, poet or artist. In scientific treatises or even works that are part of a series, such a frontispiece can also show details of the respective complete series. In some cases, however, the frontispiece also contains information on the content of a book (see content), on the author, and on his other publications (cf.
The term is derived from the French noun frontispice, which can be translated with the front side and is due to the Latin frontispicium. This again consists of the noun frons for brow and the verb spicere for looking together. As a result, the translation is somewhat misleading, since the front side of a thing is usually referred to as the front side. Let us look at two examples below, which illustrate the position and type of such frontispiece:
The above examples show two open books. On the left is an edition of Allan Quatermain, a novel by the English writer Henry Rider Haggard, and on the left an edition of the Knaben Wunderhorn, a collection of songs published by the romantic writers Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano. Opposite the two frontispieces are the title sheets, which calls for information about bay titles with subtitles, author and publisher.