Monday 30 September 2013

The Old Person of Barnes

The Old Person of Barnes, an illustration by JVL in The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear
Jonathan Cape, 1984 and republished in 2012.

Sunday 29 September 2013

'Mr Hasbini's Garden'

'Mr Hasbini's Garden', an illustration by JVL for a story by Elizabeth Laird in 
Muck and Magic; Stories from the Countryside, edited by Michael Morpurgo, Heinemann, 1995

Saturday 28 September 2013

'Gregor Mendel and his peas'

'Gregor Mendel and his peas', 
an illustration by JVL in Biology and the Social Crisis by JK Brierley, Heinemann, 1967.

This illustration depicts Gregor Mendel (1822-1884). Mendel was recognised (posthumously) to be the founder of the science of genetics. He showed that the inheritance of certain characteristics of pea plants follow particular patterns.

Friday 27 September 2013

The Owl and the Pussy-cat with the pig

The Owl and the Pussy-cat with the pig, an illustration by JVL in 
The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear, Jonathan Cape, 1984 and reprinted in 2012.

Here is the text:

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
    In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
    Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
    And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
      What a beautiful Pussy you are,
          You are,
          You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
    How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
    But what shall we do for a ring?'
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
    To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
    With a ring at the end of his nose,
          His nose,
          His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

'Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
    Your ring?' Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
    By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
    They danced by the light of the moon,
          The moon,
          The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Thursday 26 September 2013

'The Book of Taliesyn'

'The Book of Taliesyn' a Deep Purple vinyl LP record Album cover, designed by JVL in 1968. 
The recording was made by EMI Parlophone and Tetragrammaton Records.

This is the only record cover I have ever designed and the original artwork was never returned. A website claimed that I had carried out the artwork under the art direction of Les Weisbrich but in truth I never met him. My agent gave me the title saying that the art director wanted a ‘fantasy Arthurian touch’ and to include hand lettering for the title and the musicians’ names. I mainly drew from The Book of Taliesin, which is a collection of poems, said to be written by the sixth century Welsh bard Taliesin. I was paid 30 guineas for the job. At one time I thought I may have been given this job because the lead musician of Deep Purple was called Jon Lord. However, just before he died, Jon confirmed to me in an email that this wasn't the case. It was just a coincidence.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Three designs for Folio Society books

Three binding designs for Folio Society books designed by JVL. 
Left: Myths and Legends of the British Isles, Richard Barber, Folio Society, 1998.
Middle: The Icelandic Sagas (Volume 2) Magnus Magnusson, Folio Society, 2002.
Right: Epics of the Middle Ages, Richard Barber, Folio Society, 2005.

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Perceval (the White Knight) fights the Dragon Knight

Perceval (the White Knight) fights the Dragon Knight, an illustration by JVL 
in King Arthur and his Knights, Macmillan, 1995.

Monday 23 September 2013

'Ars Longa Vita Brevis'

'Ars Longa Vita Brevis' an illustration by JVL for the Radio Times, 1964.
This was for a Radio play by John Arden, written in 1963.

Sunday 22 September 2013

A Celtic knot arrangement

A Celtic knot arrangement, an illustration by JVL in Henry Gilbert's King Arthur and His Knights, Macmillan 1995.

Thursday 19 September 2013

Punch and Judy

Punch and Judy, an illustration by JVL for a magazine entitled Holly Leaves, 1965

Tuesday 17 September 2013

The Cheshire Cat

The Cheshire Cat, an illustration by JVL in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,
Artists' Choice Editions, 2009

The Text:

  The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice.  It looked good-
natured, she thought:  still it had VERY long claws and a great
many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.
  `Cheshire Puss,' she began, rather timidly, as she did not at
all know whether it would like the name:  however, it only
grinned a little wider.  `Come, it's pleased so far,' thought
Alice, and she went on.  `Would you tell me, please, which way I
ought to go from here?'
  `That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said
the Cat.
  `I don't much care where--' said Alice.
  `Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
  `--so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
  `Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only walk
long enough.'

The Cheshire Cat disappearing, an illustration by JVL in Lewis Carroll's 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Artists' Choice Editions, 2009

The Text:
 ... I wish you wouldn't keep
appearing and vanishing so suddenly:  you make one quite giddy.'
  `All right,' said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite
slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the
grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.
  `Well!  I've often seen a cat without a grin,' thought Alice;
`but a grin without a cat!  It's the most curious thing I ever
say in my life!'

Monday 16 September 2013

The Dodo presents the thimble to Alice

The Dodo presents the thimble to Alice, an illustration by JVL in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Artists' Choice Editions, 2009.

The text:

At last the Dodo said, `EVERYBODY has won, and all must have
  `But who is to give the prizes?' quite a chorus of voices
  `Why, SHE, of course,' said the Dodo, pointing to Alice with
one finger; and the whole party at once crowded round her,
calling out in a confused way, `Prizes! Prizes!'
  Alice had no idea what to do, and in despair she put her hand
in her pocket, and pulled out a box of comfits, (luckily the salt
water had not got into it), and handed them round as prizes.
There was exactly one a-piece all round.
  `But she must have a prize herself, you know,' said the Mouse.
  `Of course,' the Dodo replied very gravely.  `What else have
you got in your pocket?' he went on, turning to Alice.
  `Only a thimble,' said Alice sadly.
  `Hand it over here,' said the Dodo.
  Then they all crowded round her once more, while the Dodo
solemnly presented the thimble, saying `We beg your acceptance of
this elegant thimble'; and, when it had finished this short
speech, they all cheered.
  Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all looked
so grave that she did not dare to laugh; and, as she could not
think of anything to say, she simply bowed, and took the thimble,
looking as solemn as she could.

Thursday 12 September 2013

'The Antipodes'

'The Antipodes', an illustration by JVL in Lewis Carroll's Alices Adventures in Wonderland
Artists' Choice Editions, 2009.

This is the episode when Alice falls down the rabbit-hole and lands at the bottom upon a heap of sticks and dry leaves. The sticks are formed to suggest an Antipodean shape.

The Text:
  Presently she began again.  `I wonder if I shall fall right
THROUGH the earth!  How funny it'll seem to come out among the
people that walk with their heads downward!  The Antipathies, I
think--' (she was rather glad there WAS no one listening, this
time, as it didn't sound at all the right word) `--but I shall
have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know.
Please, Ma'am, is this New Zealand or Australia?' (and she tried
to curtsey as she spoke--fancy CURTSEYING as you're falling
through the air!  Do you think you could manage it?)  `And what
an ignorant little girl she'll think me for asking!  No, it'll
never do to ask:  perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere.'

Down, down, down.  There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon
began talking again.  `Dinah'll miss me very much to-night, I
should think!'  (Dinah was the cat.)  `I hope they'll remember
her saucer of milk at tea-time.  Dinah my dear!  I wish you were
down here with me!  There are no mice in the air, I'm afraid, but
you might catch a bat, and that's very like a mouse, you know.
But do cats eat bats, I wonder?'  And here Alice began to get
rather sleepy, and went on saying to herself, in a dreamy sort of
way, `Do cats eat bats?  Do cats eat bats?' and sometimes, `Do
bats eat cats?' for, you see, as she couldn't answer either
question, it didn't much matter which way she put it.  She felt
that she was dozing off, and had just begun to dream that she
was walking hand in hand with Dinah, and saying to her very
earnestly, `Now, Dinah, tell me the truth:  did you ever eat a
bat?' when suddenly, thump! thump! down she came upon a heap of
sticks and dry leaves, and the fall was over.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

The Frog and Fish Footmen, an illustration by JVL in Lewis Carroll's 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Artists' Choice Editions, 2009.

The text:

The Fish-Footman began by producing from under his arm a great
letter, nearly as large as himself, and this he handed over to
the other, saying, in a solemn tone, `For the Duchess.  An
invitation from the Queen to play croquet.'  The Frog-Footman
repeated, in the same solemn tone, only changing the order of the
words a little, `From the Queen.  An invitation for the Duchess
to play croquet.'

  Then they both bowed low, and their curls got entangled

Monday 9 September 2013

The White Rabbit running

The White Rabbit running, an illustration by JVL in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Artists' Choice Edition, 2009.

The text:
After a time she heard a little pattering of feet in the
distance, and she hastily dried her eyes to see what was coming.
It was the White Rabbit returning, splendidly dressed, with a
pair of white kid gloves in one hand and a large fan in the
other:  he came trotting along in a great hurry, muttering to
himself as he came, `Oh! the Duchess, the Duchess! Oh! won't she
be savage if I've kept her waiting!'  Alice felt so desperate
that she was ready to ask help of any one; so, when the Rabbit
came near her, she began, in a low, timid voice, `If you please,
sir--'  The Rabbit started violently, dropped the white kid
gloves and the fan, and skurried away into the darkness as hard
as he could go.