The Art of Fontana Modern Masters


Design by John Constable, painting by Oliver Bevan (1971).

James Pardey was in touch again this week with news of his a book cover site which follows his earlier (and justly praised) Art of Penguin Science Fiction. The new site The Art of Fontana Modern Masters presents the abstract cover designs for Fontana’s collection of pocket-sized introductions to notable writers, philosophers and scientists. My own copy of the Joyce volume from the initial run of the series is shown above. A note on the back cover states that Oliver Bevan’s painting is part of a single work arranged across ten books which “can be rearranged to form a variety of patterns”. In a pitch to some presumed “collect-the-set” mentality among intellectuals, this idea was continued on later books in the series and James’s site gives an idea of how the covers might be arranged. Until I saw all these covers together I hadn’t realised how impressive the series looks. As with the Penguin site there’s copious information about the production and evolution of the designs.


If that’s not enough, James has a short essay about the series at Eye magazine and HarperCollins (who bought out Fontana) are producing a fine art print of the entire run of covers as shown above. For more details about that, go here.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The book covers archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Penguin science fiction