1930s Irish language covers on 50watts

June 7, 2011

Séideán Bruithne (Typhoon), Joseph Conrad, Oifig Díolta Foillseacháin Rialtais (1935). Cover design: unknown

An tOileán Corghruanach (The Coral Island), RM Ballentyne, Oifig An tSoltáthair (1939). Cover design: unknown

An Fáidh Dubh (The Black Prophet), William Carleton, Oifig An tSoltáthair  (1940). Cover design: unknown

Críocha Fiadhaine an Tuaiscirt, Sir William Butler, Oifig An tSoltáthair  (1938). Cover design: unknown

I’ve been very tardy in updating the blog of late, a trend I hope to reverse in future as I’ve built up a back-log of interesting book covers. Unfortunately, it is proving difficult to find information on a lot of the designers and illustrators and that is causing me to hesitate about posting covers. I will try to keep updating at regular intervals regardless of the depth of detail I’ve managed to amass on the artist involved.

Recently, Will Schofield of the excellent 50watts blog (formerly A Journey Round My Skull) featured 14 covers of Irish language books from the 1930s from my collection. The covers include artwork by Austin Molloy, George Altendorf, Olive Cunningham, Michael A Keane, and Victor Penny, all of who studied illustration and layout at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art (now the National College of Art & Design).

Above are four of the featured designs by artists that I have been unable to identify. The bold flat colours really jump off the page and make a great argument for embracing spot colour printing in contemporary book covers as the ubiquitous four colour process (CYMK) can’t come close to reproducing such vivid shades.

I hope to feature Molloy, Altendorf, Cunningham, Keane and Penny in individual posts as each is a significant book jacket artist in the their own right. In the meantime, take a look at some nice examples of their work over at 50watts.


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