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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for the ‘book covers’ tag


HPL in France


Les Autres Dieux et autres nouvelles (2002). In 2002, French publisher J’ai Lu used my perennially popular view of R’lyeh on the cover of a small collection of HP Lovecraft’s fiction. This replaced a Michael Whelan painting on an earlier edition which looks fine but which happens to be a detail from one of his […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {comics}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {lovecraft}, {work} | 2 comments »


The Plutonian Drug


Cover art by Leo Morey. To HP Lovecraft, Pluto was the planet Yuggoth, home to the fungoid, brain-harvesting Mi-go whose exploits are detailed in The Whisperer in Darkness (1931). Clark Ashton Smith wasn’t averse to imagining the planets of the Solar System as exotic worlds but in his short story The Plutonian Drug, published in […]

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Invisible Cities: Miscellanea


Cover art: The Castle in the Pyrenees (1961) by René Magritte. A final post for this week devoted to Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and it occurs to me that “Miscellanea” could easily be the name of one of Marco Polo’s cities. One thing that’s become apparent over the past few days is that this subject […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {cities}, {design}, {fantasy}, {painting} | Comments Off


La Bibliothèque de Babel


It was perhaps inevitable that this small collection of works of fantastic fiction was named after its director’s most famous creation, the Library of Babel. Jorge Luis Borges chose the titles, and also wrote introductions for each of the books. The series was published in France by Retz–Ricci, with 4000 numbered copies of each title […]

Posted in {books}, {borges}, {design}, {fantasy} | 6 comments »


Prawdziwie magiczny sklep, a film by Mieczyslaw Waskowski


Another short film by Mieczyslaw Waskowski, this is very different to the abstraction of Somnabulists being a remarkably faithful adaptation of HG Wells’ short story, The Magic Shop. Waskowski wrote and directed Prawdziwie magiczny sklep for Polish television in 1969. The title translates as “Truly Magical Shop” although “Genuine Magic Shop” would be more accurate, a […]

Posted in {fantasy}, {film}, {television} | 2 comments »


Philippe Caza covers


As usual, one thing leads to another. Research for yesterday’s post turned up a Caza book cover I’d not seen before. Les Miférables was published by Éric Losfeld in 1971, a year after producing Caza’s eyeball-searing psychedelic comic book Kris Kool. The author sounds like a character, a friend of André Breton who wrote a […]

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More vapour trails


Those covers everyone likes. My designs for KW Jeter’s steampunk novels from Angry Robot and Tor Books. When I wrote a brief history of steampunk for Eye magazine last year I ended by somewhat provocatively declaring that until something better appeared this was the defining aesthetic of the moment. A year later, the movement (if […]

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Moravagine book covers


First publication, Grasset, 1926. I should have liked to open all cages, all zoos, all prisons, all lunatic asylums, see the great wild ones liberated and study the development of an unheard-of kind of human life… Recent reading was Moravagine (1926) by Blaise Cendrars, a novel that resists easy summary. It’s a Modernist work to […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {painting}, {photography} | 5 comments »


In Homage to Priapus


I’ve written a few things in the past about the covers of the gay pulps but decent source material—never mind the books themselves—has often been difficult to find. So it’s been good to stumble across the huge trove of covers at LibraryThing where diligent collectors have tagged and archived some very scarce publications. These are […]

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The Use and Abuse of Books


Savoy • Savoy • Savoy: The first wave of book covers pinned to the Beardsley wallpaper of the Deansgate office. I often feel I’m in a minority in never having been desperate to see my work in a gallery. We are, after all, living in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (thanks, Walter), and the idea […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {comics}, {design}, {events}, {work} | 3 comments »


Weekend links 217


Le Petit Journal, June 16, 1912. Via Beautiful Century. • Occult art by Nicomi Nix Turner, Daniel Martin Diaz, Amy Earles and William Crisafi. Related: Illustrations by Ernest M. Jessop for The Witches Frolic by Thomas Ingoldsby. • “Our definition of ‘Industrial’ then was a very broad one, it’s definitely not so much now.” Chris […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {comics}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {music}, {occult}, {television}, {theatre}, {work} | 2 comments »


Weekend links 215


Julian House artwork for Other Voices, a new singles series on the Ghost Box label. Other Voices 01 is a collaboration between Sean O’Hagan of the High Llamas and Jon Brooks of The Advisory Circle. Last week I linked to a copy Zadie Smith’s new introduction for Crash by JG Ballard. That piece could only […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {design}, {drugs}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {horror}, {music}, {occult}, {photography}, {science}, {television}, {work} | 1 comment »


Steampunk catalogued


Another month, another exhibition catalogue. Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism is still running at Artcenter IDA in Seoul with a selection of my book covers on display among a great variety of mechanical sculptures, costumes and other creations. The catalogue is a suitably lavish affair, so much so that it puts to shame many […]

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Acid covers


LSD: The Consciousness-Expanding Drug (1964). From serious scientific study, to tabloid concern, to psychedelic exploitation…a brief evolution of acid-related cover art in books and magazines. These are mostly American titles so who knows what else has yet to be rediscovered. LSD (1966) by Richard Alpert & Sidney Cohen. LIFE, March 25th, 1966. See inner pages […]

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Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism


Those who were wishing a few years ago that steampunk would crawl into a hole and quietly die must be gnashing their teeth at the way the sub-genre continues to flourish. (See Pinterest for examples from the increasingly wild world of steampunk fashion.) If anyone reading this is visiting Seoul in the next couple of […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {fashion}, {science fiction}, {work} | 3 comments »


Morning of the Magicians book covers


Éditions Gallimard, France, 1960. Yesterday’s post proved popular so it seemed worthwhile taking another look at the book which birthed Planète magazine. The main problem The Morning of the Magicians presents for an art director is how to encapsulate such wildly diverse contents in a cover design. To judge from the examples here, most people […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {occult}, {painting}, {science fiction}, {surrealism} | 7 comments »


Uncharted islands and lost souls


The pulp fiction of the early 20th century favoured remote or uncharted islands as locations for the bizarre and the fantastic; in isolated jungles all manner of savage and grotesque behaviour could take place out of sight of the civilised world. Islands are secure from interference; they can be visited by accident or intention, and […]

Posted in {books}, {fantasy}, {film}, {horror} | 1 comment »


Doctor Moreau book covers


William Heinemann (first edition, 1896). The inevitable book cover post. The examples here are among the better ones, Wells’ novel having been blighted over the years by monstrosities as hideous as those that fall from Moreau’s vivisection table. That said, some early covers might be bad but they look like masterpieces next to some of […]

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The Island of Doctor Moreau


Painting by Paul Lehr for the Berkley Highland paperback (1970). The Island of Doctor Moreau is one of those Victorian novels everyone thinks they know well enough from various film or television adaptations, even when those adaptations have accreted a layer of misconception around the story. In the case of HG Wells’ novel we have […]

Posted in {books}, {film}, {horror}, {science fiction} | 4 comments »


Harry Willock book covers


This time last year I happened to be re-reading my way through the collected short stories of HG Wells; this year I’ve been reading The Island of Doctor Moreau, not to continue the seasonal trend, I simply felt the urge. More about Moreau tomorrow. These covers are from a series of Penguin reprints which first […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {illustrators}, {science fiction}, {typography} | 1 comment »







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