Sunday, July 27, 2008

Art Books - Mervyn Peake

As I go through the shelves of my book collection and realise how many books I haven't looked at for years, I keep thinking that I was fortunate to be in the position to buy them when I did. Some are quite rare these days, so the 1970s editions - of which there are quite a few - represent to me a golden age of book publishing. Publishers in those days seemed more adventurous in what they chose to publish, hence such gems as I am about to reveal, were at the time readily available even here in Australia.

Penguin books published Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy in their Modern Classics series in 1969. All of a sudden Mervyn Peake was a discovery and a lot of his work was subsequently made available.

As I've said before I became Peake mad after reading the Gormenghast trilogy and I acquired every book on or by him as it came to my notice. This of course included books on his art.

He was an original in both his writing and his artwork. Below is one of his illustrations for Treasure Island. It is stunning and highly individual in style. It is unquestionably Mervyn Peake.

peake_illust (Small)

The drawing was scanned from the book The Drawings of Mervyn Peake, a handsome large format hard cover, published in 1974 by Davis-Poynter.

peake_drawings (Small)

I have two other large format books on Peake's art and writing as below.

peake_writings_drawings peake_rhymes (Small)

Writings & Drawings is a large paperback published in 1974 by St Martins Press and is a collection of various writings and lavishly illustrated with photos and drawings.

Rhymes Without Reason, also published in 1974 by Methuen, has board covers and is a collection of nonsense poems written for children.

2 comments:

Peter said...

You really need to add Mervyn Peake: The Man and His Art (2006) to your collection. It contains hundreds of drawings and paintings you won't have seen, plus bio-critical chapters and memoirs. There's a paperback edition due out later this year.

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