Each bookend shows a young man standing and reading. He wears clothing appropriate to about 1895 – a cap, rolled up sleeves, suspenders, and short pants.. Perhaps he is reading a newspaper. His disheveled clothing and lack of shoes suggest he is poor.
Beyond these observations, the young man is a mystery. Does he represent some circumstance from long ago? Is this a reproduction of a painting or a sculpture or a depiction of a character in a book? We cannot place the young man so we conclude that he has no special significance other than the bookend-artist’s presentation of a young man from that era.
Perhaps one of our viewers will tell us the significance of this young man. Until then we simply have a very well cast and finished pair of bookends from Jennings Brothers, a respected foundry.