Karl Uhlemann – FNT covers
December 14, 2011
Meas na Filíochta, Odhrán Ó Duáin OFM, FNT, (1968). Cover design: Karl Uhlemann
Sladmhargadh, Donach de Róiste, FNT, (1968). Cover design: Karl Uhlemann
Ó Rabharta Go Mallmhuir, Seán ‘ac Fhionnlaoich, FNT, (1975). Cover design: Karl Uhlemann
Fir Chlaímh, Seán Ó Mulláin, FNT, (1976). Cover design: Karl Uhlemann
Slán Leis an gComhluadar, Mícheál Ó hOdhráin, FNT, (1961). Cover design: Karl Uhlemann
Feoil an Gheimhridh, Colm Ó Baoill, FNT, (1980). Cover design: Karl Uhlemann
Is Glas na Cnoic, Seán ‘ac Fhionnlaoich, FNT, (1977). Cover design: Karl Uhlemann
Foilseacháin Náisiúnta Teoranta (FNT) (National Publications Limited) published Irish language books until 1988 and, despite the very formal moniker, it wasn’t a State run publisher but in fact a commercial enterprise (although it did receive some subsidies over the years). The company was incorporated in Westport in 1947 when it bought the printing works of the Mayo News. It continued to publish that paper but it’s main focus was the Irish language newspaper Inniu which had been founded by Ciarán Ó Nualláin and Proinsias Mac an Bheatha’s Glúin na Bua (a breakway from Conradh na Gaeilge) in 1943. Ciarán Ó Nualláin was Flann O’Brien’ brother and, more importantly from our point of view, also the brother of Mícheál Ó Nualláin whose design work we have featured previously.
FNT’s book publishing activity started as a sideline to the newspaper business but the number of titles grew steadily over the years. Karl Uhlemann was FNT’s main cover artist for a considerable portion of its existence. Above are examples of his work for them over a twenty year period from 1961 to 1980. It is interesting to see how his skills developed with time, particularly when comparing his treatment of the Traveller’s caravans in the covers from 1961, Slán Leis an gComhluadar, and 1975, Fir Chlaímh.
My favourites are Meas na Filíochta, with its Japanese feel, and the pop art sci-fi explosion of Sladmhargadh. You can see more of Mr Uhlemann’s work and what little I’ve been able to ascertain of his biography in these two earlier posts.