Paul Hogarth’s watercolour illustrations for Graham Greene covers
In 1962, Paul Hogarth was an established artist with a distinctive watercolour style. He had worked in collaboration with literary artists, including Brendan Behan, so it was natural for him to illustrate the covers of a new edition of sixteen Graham Greene novels.
The Hogarth Greenes are a notable series in Penguin history and were one of the early successes of the Marber grid. This new design layout enabled Penguin to maintain its typographic branding while introducing eye-catching cover art. Hundreds of thousands of the Greenes were were sold.
The choice of Hogarth for Greene was an interesting one. Both came from an ideological background that permeated their work, communism for Hogarth and catholicism for Greene. Both were inveterate travellers and both had seen the best and worst of humanity in their travels. They shared a jaundiced if hopeful view of mankind, and on top of that, they got on well. “There are writers who are immensely sympathetic towards artists and certainly he was one of them. He was easy to work with, but very exacting.”
The series started an association between Penguin, Greene and Hogarth that lasted for many years. Despite his long career and considerable reputation Hogarth is possibly still best remembered for his Penguins Graham Greenes of the 1960s.
They are characteristically simple colour drawings which manage to capture a mood – whether of menace or anxiety or general seediness and invariably set in an exotic location – true to the writer’s work. (hogarth.org.uk)
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