Meet Christ and Live!, Michel Quoist, Gill & Macmillan (1972). Cover design by Cor Klaasen.

Prayers of Life, Michel Quoist, Gill & Macmillan (1973). Cover design by Roísín Daly.

Above are two of the most striking Irish book covers I’ve seen from the early seventies. Both are for religious books by French writer and priest Michel Quoist.

Cor Klaasen (1926-1989) was a Dutch designer who came to Ireland in 1956 after answering an advertisement placed by O’Kennedy Brindley in an Amsterdam newspaper. Holland’s loss was Ireland’s gain as Klaasen proved to be a very capable designer and later an enthusiastic educator. He designed many book covers for Folens, Gill & Macmillan and Helicon amongst others. Unfortunately, I haven’t managed to track down many examples, but it is nice to know that they are out there waiting to be unearthed.

The elusive Roísín Daly’s design for Prayers of Life is every bit as strong as Klaasen’s cover. The computer punch tape makes a far better cityscape then it does storage medium – it takes about 10 metres of tape to store 4k of information. Daly also designed covers for Gill & Macmillan’s Logos imprint but beyond that I can find no information.

Exhibition

Many thanks to Regan in the Winding Stair Bookshop for allowing me to mount the Vintage Irish Book Cover exhibition in the shop. The display is still in place for a short time if anyone still wishes to view it.

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