Monday, 29 December 2008

The World of David Gentleman

I'm currently reading a very good and, almost inevitably, out of print novel by David Garnett: A Shot in the Dark (nothing to do with the Pink Panther movie of the same name). It's an old Penguin paperback, with a cover by David Gentleman.



Gentleman has a long history as an artist, and there are a number of interviews with him available online. He does lithography, woodcuts, ink and watercolours, and has designed numerous stamps as well as book covers.

To begin with, here are some of his Penguin Modern Classics (click for bigger versions of almost everything here).








Then there are some of his other Penguin designs.








He also designed all of the New Penguin Shakespeare covers in the 1970s: here they are displayed on an advertising sheet from the era.




Gentleman's own travels have yielded a number of art books...






..and this talent for landscape has been used to great effect on the Faber covers for gun-mad Lawrence Durrell and others.









He's also collaborated with previously un-noted Hero of this Blog Russell Hoban (anyone who can write books as brilliant and as different as Riddley Walker, Turtle Diary and the Frances the Badger series is highly regarded around these parts).



And here's the bit at the end of the post where the other covers I've found by him get all jumbled together...






Ebury published a collection of Gentleman's artwork in 2000, cunningly entitled Artwork.



The cover is a detail from one of Gentleman's many stamps.

8 comments:

Levi Stahl said...

I think it's a good sign of the trust you've generated as a blogger that I've just bought a copy of the first edition of A Shot in the Dark for $1.00 online, despite knowing nothing about it.

As for the cover art: the one that gets me is the illustration for the W. W. Jacobs. The perfect expression for the closing moments of "The Monkey's Paw"!

JRSM said...

Well thank you, Levi! I hope you enjoy it: it's sexy, romantic, wise and unexpected, and very appealing. You're right about the Jacobs cover... a wonderful illustration.

JRSM said...

I should add that I've taken a number of recommendations from your own blog, and never regretted them: AN Wilson, Barbara Pym, Richard Stark, etc, and I just bought a trilogy by Edward St Aubyn which looks very promising.

Sarah said...

I've not read A Shot in the Dark (yet) but can recommend Garnett's Lady into Fox, which Hesperus recently republished.

JRSM said...

Thanks for that, Sarah: 'Lady into Fox' is indeed a lovely (and odd) book. Great stuff.

John Self said...

That Henry Green Concluding is lovely.

If the St Aubyn trilogy is Some Hope (known in some territories as The Patrick Melrose Trilogy) - and I can't think what else it would be - then you are in for a treat. Even the titles of the individual volumes - Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope - instil a little aesthetic thrill in me.

Steerforth said...

I've just looked up David Garnett on Wikipedia. What a life! I particularly enjoyed reading about his decision to marry the daughter of Duncan Grant, even though she was only a few days old.

I had no idea that he lived locally and slept his way around the Bloomsbury set. I want to read the book now.

JRSM said...

It IS 'Some Hope'/'Patrick Melrose', so I'm looking forward to that, John. And yes, re Garnett, you get the feeling from his writing that his author's note (married with daughters) didn't quite tell the full story...