Wednesday, September 7, 2011

JOHN AUSTEN I - Everyman

In my travels around the internet I have found that my favorite book illustrator, John Austen, is very poorly represented so I have decided to begin scanning pages from my book collection to post them here. His work was exceptionally suited to erotic illustration, but he rendered in a way that was not sexy (as was common in the 20s and 30s) and he also had an exceptional command of spot color rendering; he and the printers obviously worked together to make some of the finest books of the last century. The images below area a large representation of those found in EVERYMAN (& Other Plays) printed by Chapman & Hall in 1925 and printed at The Whitefriars Press of London & Tonbridge. The images represented are printed in black, gold and lush blue. Even in the scans you can see that that the publisher chose not to use leaves of any sort to cover the illustrations as the gold ink and black ink on the preceding pages affected one another over time and the text can be viewed within the gold on the proceeding page. It is both very frustrating and also an interesting happening caused by the passing of time that no one who owned this book when it was printed would ever see.
If my house caught on fire and everything living was safe I would return to the library and choke down more smoke than I have allowed into my lungs in my lifetime to recover this book.


  1. I agree with all you have said, I love old books and have this same book which I shall never, never part with due to the beauty of the illustrations,also noticed one plate you understandably left out, as it can be a touchy subject, but it has to be said is one of the most beautiful depictions of the figure of death I have ever seen, spellbinding images

  2. Yes - really lovely pictures. I'd never heard of this guy - thanks for enlightening me. Go on, publish the weird death pic.