Author: Martin Salisbury
Publication: Thames & Hudson, hardcover, 2017
Genre: Nonfiction/Books about Books/ArtDescription: This book describes the history of the dust jacket, beginning in the 1920s, as an illustrated art form that is decorative and promotional, rather than merely providing protection. The author provides background on the subject, then focuses on more than 50 illustrators who were influencers of the period, some of whom became household names (that is, depending on your household). The book contains four-page spreads of these illustrators with biographical information, along with some of their best-known or interesting work, reflecting visual style and changes in the industry during the fifty years covered.My Impression: It is such a pleasure after a hectic day of work to sit and look at beautiful books. I learned about this book in a glowing LA Times review. If you are interested in art and books, I suggest you watch this video which captures the beauty of the interior pages. It is delightful to page through, whether or not one is familiar with the illustrator. In fact, the author/collector, a professor of Illustration at a British university, points out that few dust jackets are signed so apart from illustrators whose style is instantly recognizable like Edward Gorey or Edward Ardizzone, his research must have been a lot like detective work. The dust jacket was intended to promote the book and author (and occasionally, the publisher or brand), not the artist.
Two that will be recognizable to my readers are Tom’s Midnight Garden by Susan Einzig for which she was paid £100 in 1958 by Oxford University Press and The Borrowers by Mary Norton, designed by the popular husband and wife team, Americans Beth and Joe Krush. The Krushes were also known for their illustrations of authors Elizabeth Enright, Virginia Sorensen, and Sydney Taylor, to name just a few. For more on the Krushes, click here. I also really like the cover of Bless This Day by my beloved Elfrida Vipont, designed by Harold Jones.
My grandmother, who loved books as much as anyone, discarded the dust jackets of her books published in the 50s and 60s, which always puzzled me. Later, she changed her mind and I felt some of her unjacketed books looked very reproachfully at their better-dressed cohorts.
Links: Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository * LibrariesSource: Boston Public Library