Tuesday, 30 March 2010

"Henry IV Part1" Published by Cambridge University Press 1958 (Cover design by Cecil Keeling)

This jacket is so good - there's so much going on in these four faces yet still eye-catching as a book cover. All illustrations and designs I've seen by Cecil Keeling (born in Teddington, Middlesex 1912 and died in 1976) are elegant and quite distinctive. Here's a link for his work on a 1947 book called "Pictures From Persia" http://www.fulltable.com/VTS/aoi/k/keeling/ck.htm
I'm hoping to find some more of his books one day - I've not read this one yet!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

"Some Tales Of Mystery And Imagination" by Edgar Allan Poe, with engravings by Douglas Percy Bliss (Penguin Illustrated Classics, 1938) -part two

The last five wood-engravings by Douglas Percy Bliss from this book. Here's also the title page illustration - it does remind me of William Blake's work but great nonetheless.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

"Some Tales Of Mystery And Imagination" by Edgar Allan Poe, with engravings by Douglas Percy Bliss (Penguin Illustrated Classics, 1938) -part one

So pleased to have this book in my collection - each one of these ten engravings is fantastic. Brilliant compositions with such variation in marks and rhythm. The mood is dramatic and somber, almost metaphysical which matches the essence of Poe's stories really well. There is quite a good article on Douglas Percy Bliss (Scottish artist, 1900-1984) on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Percy_Bliss

Sadly, a lot of his early work (such as these) was stolen or damaged during World War II so I imagine it would be hard to come across any originals. I'd love to see other books he illustrated before the war, like "Border Ballads" - OUP(1925) or "The Spanish Lady and Two Other Stories" by Cervantes - OUP(1928).

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

"It must be true - it was all in the papers" - Denys Parsons, illustrated by Ronald Searle (published by Macdonald & Co, London 1952) - part one

This has to be the most precious item in my collection yet! Early work by Ronald Searle, so striking and fresh after so many decades! There are a number of pen and ink drawings in the book illustrating a collection of bizarre stories taken from newspaper announcements or reports. Brilliant and hilarious characters throughout! It's so inspiring studying Searle's masterful line work and his inventiveness for faces and expressions.

I've been meaning to put this up on the blog for ages and I'm so pleased it coincides with the artist's 90th birthday and the start of a retrospective exhibition of his work at the Cartoon Museum in London (3 March - 4 July 2010). There is a report on the opening night of the exhibition, photos and other material on Matt Jones' excellent blog http://ronaldsearle.blogspot.com/ which is dedicated exclusively to Searle's work. There's so much of the artist's work presented on this blog together with well documented information that it would take days to go through! There is also Brian Sibley's blog with an extended article on Searle and the exhibition http://briansibleysblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/searley-days.html

Saturday, 6 March 2010

"Winner-93" Toy box cover from 1973

Found this in the attic, left by the previous owners. It does have a signature (which I can't make out) and a date! I love the naive but bold graphics. No toy motorcycle inside the box though...

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

"Robinson" - Muriel Spark, book cover by Terence Greer

Picked this one at a charity book sale last Sunday. It stood out among dozens of other books - which goes to show the importance of a strong illustration on any book jacket. I have to admit I wasn't aware of this illustrator who must have been quite well known in the 60's because a few of his books turned up on the amazon search. Also the two other book jackets below were posted by someone(an admirer presumably) on flickr.