Playful, decorative covers a highlight of the Pelham era
Tony Meeuwissen has been one of England’s foremost illustrators since the 1960s. He began working as a freelance illustrator in 1968 and soon did work for Penguin, designing thirty covers between 1970 and 1977. The beautiful designs shown here were made for an edition of Paul Gallico novels in the 1970s.
Penguin art director David Pelham recalls commissioning Meeuwissen for numerous covers: “I found Tony’s approach to illustration particularly suited to the size limitations imposed by a Penguin cover ... he was a keen reader with a sharp insight, able to absorb the essence of a book and to consequently define it with a strong and relevant image.” (creativereview.co.uk)
The decorative design in the background gives the covers a feeling of ‘body’ like a physical package – a wrapped present. It gives a brand image to the Gallico series and provides a support for the finely painted illustrations and the tightly spaced lettering.
Meeuwissen (pronounced Maywissen) is known for his elaborate and detailed style. “His work demonstrates an extraordinary level of craftsmanship. It is produced by hand, without the aid of technology. But the very nature of his pictures means that what might take an illustrator with a loose, immediate style two hours to produce could take Meeuwissen two weeks.” (eyemagazine.com)