Peake’s Pan


Another charity shop book-raid this week netted me a copy of Ian Fleming’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in its 1965 Pan Books edition, one of the Bond series with great covers designed by Richard Hawkey. The sight of the tiny Pan silhouette above reminded me that this logo was based on drawings commissioned from Mervyn Peake when the company was launched at the end of the Second World War. The design persisted for many years, usually printed on a yellow background.


I wasn’t sure I had a copy of Peake’s original version to hand but G Peter Winnington‘s Peake biography, Vast Alchemies (2000), includes a reproduction, one of two drawings Peake produced for the publisher. The other can be seen on this Pan Books site which also reveals that Peake’s Pans were printed at quite large size on the initial run of books. The design model may have been the early Penguin style which nearly always had the famous bird prominently placed in the lower third of the cover. In book terms at least, the Penguin has proved to be the more powerful god, having survived virtually unchanged since 1935. Peake’s Pan is long gone, dropped in favour of two red squiggles.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Buccaneers #1
Recovering Bond
Mervyn Peake in Lilliput
James Bond postage stamps
Wanna see something really scary?
T&H: At the Sign of the Dolphin