Karl Uhlemann

December 10, 2009

The Miracle Maker, Charles C. O’Connell, Talbot Press, 1960

Rícheol agus Rómánsaíocht, Gearóid Mac an Bhua, FNT, 1963

A History of Ireland, J.J. Feeney, Educational Company of Ireland, n.d.

Cosmhuintir, Liam Ó Murchú, FNT, 1975

When I first came across Karl Uhlemann’s name I assumed that he was yet another talented Dutch designer who found himself working in Ireland in the 1950s. In fact he was born to a German father and Irish mother sometime around 1910. Although I can’t confirm that he was Irish born we do know that he was educated at Synge Street CBS and went to work at Colm Ó Lochlainn’s Sign of the Three Candles press upon leaving school. He is probably best known for drawing the initial sketches for the Colum Cille typeface (1936) which Ó Lochlainn developed with Stanley Morrison at Monotype.

Above are four examples of Uhlemann’s book cover work – 2 three colour designs from the early sixties and 2 later two colour designs. His illustration style is hard to pin down as it varies widely over these four covers yet he achieves a very pleasing design with each one. I particularly like the lettering on the title of The Miracle Maker.

The few biographical details I could find come from Dermot McGuinne’s excellent book Irish Type Design: A History of Printing Types in the Irish Character. Karl Uhlemann passed away in 1992.

5 Responses to “Karl Uhlemann”

  1. Bluett Says:

    For more info on Karl, you might contact Rai Uhlemann, himself a wonderful illustrator (and photographer too). He’s in the phonebook.


  2. […] I last posted on the work of Karl Uhlemann I’ve managed to dig up some more nice examples of his work but more importantly I’m now […]

  3. Miriam Uhlemann Says:

    While searching for information on my grandfather I found your posting. If you think it is of any use then I am happy to talk. I am Karl niece but I see reference to Rai and no doubt through that source you have discovered much of what you need and I am not sure that I could enlighten you further. I would however be interested to print off some of the covers and wonder if they have been reproduced? I recall his annual christmas card each year. Regards, Miriam


  4. […] work and what little I’ve been able to ascertain of his biography in these two earlier posts. LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  5. Margaret Toupin Says:

    I have a signed lithograph? by Rai Uhlemann. A drawing of a man
    with mustache and in a red hat holding a caught fish and a fishing rod in his left hand. Dated 1980. I believe it was used as a cover on a PAN AM Airline flight menu I travelled on. Don’t know where to or when. I just thought it was a nice drawing, and put it in a picture frame back then. Just looking for anyone with knowledge of this work?


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