Definition of frontispiece in English:



  • 1An illustration facing the title page of a book.

    • ‘The trophies and insets painted in the vertical margins of the Soane frontispiece and title page may refer to those duties.’
    • ‘Images are from the frontispiece to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein.’
    • ‘Known for hiring some of the best artists of the day to illustrate his publications, Bell provided each volume with fine engravings, including frontispieces of contemporary actors and actresses.’
    • ‘As a frontispiece, the book reproduces a plate by Albrecht Durer from his 1498 Apocalypse of Saint John, in which the picture of a book prefigures millennial revelations.’
    • ‘The frontispiece is a photograph of the oldest woman in the world and her son, Bulgarian peasants.’
    • ‘As a child, Henriette posed for her father's illustration for the frontispiece.’
    • ‘This example, an oration delivered in a Jesuit school, was later printed with a frontispiece representing its visual equivalent.’
    • ‘Moreover, the identification of the now celebrated and no longer pseudonymous writer with his text was emphasized by an engraved frontispiece which reproduced the head and shoulders of Daniel Maclise's recent portrait of him.’
    • ‘Owning a photograph of the queen or of your party leader gave a new, direct form of association with national life, and many cheap biographies had real photographs mounted as frontispieces to suggest an intimate relationship.’
    • ‘The images in the 15 black-and-white photographs, measuring roughly 24 x 20 inches in the original, are difficult to make out in their reproduction as the book's frontispiece.’
    • ‘Indeed, a photograph of Pinka posing as Flush in a Victorian interior serves as the book's frontispiece.’
    • ‘Yet the double-page spread of frontispiece and title page for Konstantin Biebl's collection of poems, With a Ship Importing Tea and Coffee, would have been a winner in the Bauhaus.’
    • ‘Passerotti's Self-Portrait with Skeleton, Ecorche and Nudes, early 1580s (Warsaw University Library), is presumed to have been drawn as the frontispiece for his book.’
    • ‘The first illustration was a colour frontispiece entitled ‘Chemical Industry, Upheld by Pure Science, Sustains the Production of Man's Necessities.’’
    • ‘Edwards's painting appeared twice, showcased as frontispiece and chapter illustration.’
    • ‘Inside I found a frontispiece of the sort once sees in books of fairy tales - it depicts a boy and his dog at the gates of something like a castle.’
    • ‘The sisters saw that I was much taken by the book as a handsome period curiosity; also that I was intrigued by the frontispiece engraving of Connop, aged eleven.’
    • ‘The frontispiece to Hokusai's Illustrated Manual on Coloring of 1848 shows a fanatical painter holding five brushes in feet, hands, and mouth, all at work painting.’
    • ‘I have pasted over the frontispiece a drawing of Yeats by the Senior Yeats which this edition does not reprint from The Trembling of the Veil.’
    • ‘In some ways, the writhing full-page illustrations are relief to the genre-scene frontispieces.’
  • 2Architecture
    The principal face of a building.

    • ‘It was a low, flat building with arched windows and a central balcony and square frontispiece, with the post office occupying one wing.’
    • ‘The image shows a campus with lush green lawns, classical architecture and a brick frontispiece displaying a sign that reads ‘State College’.’
    • ‘It came with a frontispiece showing damage caused by fascist artillery to the Goya Foundation.’
    • ‘The first was a low, flat building with arched windows and a central balcony and square frontispiece.’
    1. 2.1A decorated entrance.
      • ‘The frontispieces for the first three parts of The New Foundling Hospital for Wit are catalogued, respectively, no.s 4244, 4200, and 4245.’
    2. 2.2A pediment over a door or window.
      • ‘In the lower half of the frontispiece, the Muses adorn the monument with attributes of their respective arts.’


Late 16th century (in frontispiece): from French frontispice or late Latin frontispicium facade, from Latin frons, front- front + specere to look. The change in the ending (early in the word's history) was by association with piece.