The covers in the photographs were illustrated by the English artist and designer David Gentleman (born 1930). The set of illustrations for C.P. Snow’s novels was one of Gentleman’s last jobs for Penguin, although it seems he did not particularly enjoy the novels themselves, as he said he “would stop as soon as I reached a passage suggesting a suitable building or landscape for a cover.”
He is, however, more enamored with city of London where he has lived for the past 60 years and from which much of his work emanates. Published in 1985 and later in hardback format in 2005, David Gentleman’s London is a portrait of the city in illustration, from its inner city to its outer limits. Latterly, in 2012, his latest illustrative collection, London You’re Beautiful, was released by Penguin. His admiration for London appears to be mutual: as in 1978 he was commissioned by London Transport to create a 100 metre-long mural at Charing Cross Station that depicts in cartoon strip format the medieval workforce building the original cross.
Gentleman’s work can be found in Tate Britain, the British Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Having designed some 103 stamps for the Post Office, including sets of Shakespeare, Churchill, BBC and Concorde, he is also Britain’s most prolific stamp designer.
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