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Penguin Books, Cover Art.

March 11, 2012

I was on Ebay the other evening, looking through this and that and I came across an entire series of King Penguin Books from between 1939 and 1959.  I wasn’t interested in buying them, but their covers were wonderful and it got me thinking about the patterns and illustrations that were used by Penguin over the years.

Subjects ranged from Popular English Art, through to English Clocks and Flowers of Marsh and Stream.  The series based on the much admired Insel books from Germany, were one half text and one half colour illustration. They were very much reference books but still pocket sized, if a little taller and wider than the Penguins and Pelicans that had gone before. They were launched in November 1939 and ran for the next twenty years.

More overall patterns could be found on Penguin’s Poetry books and Musical Scores.  The poetry patterns were either cool and soft colours with a 1930’s /40’s feel, or bold and brash with a 1960’s vibe. Here’s a mix of both.

The music books, were produced from the late forties through to the late fifties, in a wide, pocket-sized paperback format. They had brief historical notes on the music and musicians, and represented a selection of works which would have been familiar to the general public during this period.  I found these examples on Oliver Thomas’s page.

Many artists were producing endpapers for the inside of books too.  Of course not all of them ended up being patterns. Can you spot the rather famous example of a picture story endpaper ?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. ssarahlou permalink
    March 12, 2012 9:48 pm

    Those covers would definitely entice me to buy them. Thanks Craig for an inspirational blog….great pattern reference page for future projects. X

    • March 12, 2012 11:08 pm

      Always great to know when a blog post hits the mark lol thanks for the ‘heads up’ 🙂

  2. March 15, 2012 8:38 am

    These are stunning. I’ve picked up a couple of the natural history books 2nd hand because the covers had a certain something about them. I’ve not seen all of these covers before and want to keep looking at them they’re so beautiful! Thanks.

    • March 15, 2012 8:51 am

      That’s great to hear Jo, thanks for letting me know. If you’ve anything similar you’d like to share then please feel free to get in touch.

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