Monday, January 31, 2011

Margaret and Alexander Potter

This Puffin picture book, which was published in the mid-1940s, is by the husband-and-wife team of Margaret and Alexander Potter. The human figures are almost unbearably crudely done (the cover is by no means the worst example), which is a shame because some of the colored spreads inside are quite appealing.

I don't know how the Potters divided their duties, but they were capable of sophisticated work, at least in terms of architectural draftsmanship (Alexander was an architect by profession). The following three images are from Houses (1948) and are reproduced from the page devoted to the Potters from Chris Mullen's web project called The Visual Telling of Stories.

Chris Mullen incidentally also has some scans from A History of the Countryside, but his images are evidently from a different, perhaps later printing, as they lack the background colors seen in the two-page spread below.

I rather like this layout, which is accompanied by a simple but intelligent discussion of urban planning. Here are close-up scans.

The Independent has an obituary of Margaret Potter, who died in 1984.

Chris Mullen reports that many of the early Picture Puffins, of which he reproduces a number of examples, were lithographed by the printing firm of W. S. Cowell of Ipswich. According to an interview he conducted with a former CEO of the firm, much of the Cowell archive was eventually discarded and burned.

No comments: