Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Sunday 2 April 2017

CENTENARY ARTICLE: Frank Bellamy and Lifestyle illustrations

Frank Bellamy (unpublished?) as appearing in
Lifestyle Illustrations of the 50s
A while ago Jaime Ferguson posted on JaDoodles Art Blog a picture that attracted my attention. It was a Frank Bellamy piece I had never seen before but which resembled a few others that are mystery pieces as I don't know if they were ever published. Jaime mentioned it came from Rian Hughes' book Lifestyle Illustrations of the 50s in which the knowledgeable David Roach contributes an introduction. It's an overview of the boy/girl artwork that started as rather representational and by the end of the decade became a bit more abstract, using shapes and blocks of colour. It includes many USA artists whose work was 'syndicated' over here, providing UK publishers with artwork they could afford, compared to the original American payments to their artists. But it also has loads of UK artwork too from magazines such as Woman, Woman and Home, Woman's Journal and Woman's Home.

Lifestyle Illustrations of the 50s pp.12-13
The complete artwork (of which the above is a close-up) is 520mm x 730mm (or 20.5" x 29" as it would have been in the Fifties!). The signature is an early Bellamy but the important clue is the International Artists sticker.

In 1951 Bellamy had produced these type of illustrations for Home Notes (and hated doing them according to Nancy Bellamy) (between February and November) and signed up with International Artists Limited (which was founded in 1933). The London Manager (and one of the Directors) I. H. Thompson wrote to Bellamy confirming they would be pleased to act as his agent from 10th December 1951. Presumably they had acted on Bellamy's behalf before this date as Bellamy states (see below) they gave him the Home Notes' work. So this dates the above piece as being after that date and it was submitted to the agency, presumably for publication. In the interview with Dez Skinn and Dave Gibbons, Bellamy states:

Well, towards the end of my career there [Norfolk Studios], I was doing the odd freelance job. I started getting freelance through a phone call from International Artists, who were then the biggest art agency in the country [...] everyone from Francis Marshall to Ronald Searle, they were all with the International agency. Apparently they got to see my work through some cartoons I did for advertising the Daily Telegraph in World’s Press News and Ad Weekly, full pages that I did a series of. As soon as I gave them permission to represent me, I had a commission to do two love story illustrations for Home Notes, a woman’s magazine
Interestingly Bellamy's run in World's Press began in December 1951 so I presume that Thompson et al saw these before publication but even that seems to stretch Bellamy's memories a bit - but perhaps he got the commissions before being fully represented?
Frank Bellamy Romance novel book cover?
The piece above, which is approximately 11.5 inches tall (29 cm) could be a book cover with the cottage on the left for the spine (compare to Denise Robins' dustjacket below). But to date I have not found any such book. It might have been produced for his portfolio that he hawked around Fleet Street in the late 1940s. But until more information turns up that's the best I can do - except to say, having seen this artwork in the flesh, like the piece in Hughes' book - where he shows the back of the artwork - it appears to be earlier than Bellamy's use of CS10 artboard.  

Unpublished (?) Frank Bellamy

Regarding the next piece I have never seen the illustration below in real life, just many scans and photos over the years. Mike Lake originally owned it but it has since passed to others. It seems to me to be of the same style and era as the two above, but I always fancied it to be a Home Notes illustration, but after trawling through volumes of that magazine I have never found it.

Frank Bellamy romance illustration

Now, the next 'lifestyle illustration' - (wonderful term Rian and David!) should be easy to identify.  It was published by Gerald Swan for whom I know Bellamy did several jobs. More on that another day!

Affinity #29 June-July (1950)
What interested me, whilst reading - or rather - viewing Lifestyle Illustrations of the 50s was how some artists certainly look to have inspired Bellamy. In the above mentioned interview he was asked about inspiration and he modestly stated "I find it difficult to sort out the difference between people who influence me or impress me with their work". I wondered if elements of Pruett Carter influenced him in his solid figure work, together with colour being used as solid shapes. Jon Whitcomb appeared in many women's magazines of the Fifties, as Hughes shows. I wonder whether his technique of 'feathering' inspired Bellamy - examples of which appear in nearly all the illustrations on this page. But there are also UK artists who I suspect helped form Bellamy's work, even if he was not aware of them doing so. Eric Earnshaw and Edwin Philips seem the obvious ones to me, particularly after flicking through their work in Hughes' book. The former draws fine representational couples with angled "over the shoulder" views such as this one.
Influences can be very subtle - and here I agree with him, those that impress us do influence us. So it's natural his style will emulate that of the period. I also enjoy Bellamy's early comic work in which he manages to emulate the style of the day, quite naturally, and watching him develop his own style which in my opinion comes into its own during the 50s - for example his construction and composition in Boy's Own Paper, his black and white work leads to stippling for shading and later his colour in the Eagle comic.

So let's wind this up with two books I have: Denise Robins My True Love, 1954 and Roberta Leigh Dark Inheritance, 1954 both published by the Valentine Romance Book Club. As Steve Holland, who first alerted me to these said, Roberta Leigh is the same lady who created Twizzle and Torchy the Battery Boy which Gerry Anderson filmed in the late Fifties. And that brings the decade to an end! I have the first edition of the Robins story with the same cover but from Hutchinson.

Note the signature at the bottom

Signature very clear here

Roberta Leigh Dustjacket

Denise Robins dustjacket

Lifestyle Illustration of the 60s is an accompanying volume to the above mentioned 50s volume by Rian Hughes and David Roach

Wednesday 5 August 2015

Frank Bellamy is still being published!

Look closely!

Over on my newly renamed Frank Bellamy Artwork Facebook page I often throw links to Bellamy I've found,  or recent news stories I don't think worth adding an article here about. But today I'm inspired to draw several threads (bad pun) together.

A young Paul Merton lookalike?

John Freeman and Jonathan Wyke alerted me to the fact that Bellamy jumpers (and scarves gentlemen!) are now available. But watch your bank account before hitting that Pay button! I'd love to know why Lou Dalton printed them in black and white and not colour.


For some great images (and an appreciation of Thunderbirds) see Nick Carvell, the Fashion Editor of page. I'm still amazed that people who produce Bellamy materials don't send me free copies to promote their products but maybe it's because I do it anyway! I won't be buying the jumpers or the scarves, as they cost quite a bit, the jumpers, £250 and the scarves, £120.They are available to buy exclusively online at Lou Dalton for obsessive fans!

Both products are in three colours: bottle green, dirty pink (!) and white and they suggest you could wear them with their neoprene funnel neck blouson (see image at top of this article). Personally that image doesn't work for me with the Parthal's plane shooting downwards.But my family will tell you I know nothing about fashion! My eldest daughter tells me off if she thinks I should buy a new 'going-out' shirt! Anyway I apologise for not crediting the photographer as I couldn't find his/her name. As Jonathan points out they didn't credit Frank Bellamy either!

Thunderbirds duvet with Bellamy artwork

Moving swiftly on there's also a duvet cover using Bellamy's artwork which is a lot cheaper at £29 (and I hesitate to ask my wife to sew two singles together!). For those who need to know, the Thunderbirds Single Duvet Set includes one duvet cover and one pillow case made of polycotton and is machine washable and is available easily online from Isme and sister site Very.This reminded me that I saw something by Bellamy previously used as a duvet cover and after asking on Facebook, Shaqui came back with one of his 'Easter eggs' from his wonderful site:

If anyone has a copy - or a photo - Shaqui and I would love to see it. It was being sold by Undercover of Deer Park, Gnosall, Staffordshire in 1992.

This of course brings us back to the clothing line above which uses Bellamy's designs from the story that appeared in TV Century 21 #141 - 146 (30 September 2067 - 4 November 2067), "The Earthquake Maker" written, we believe by Scott Goodall. The story is about a man called Parthal who creates eathquakes!

As you've stayed this long you deserve to see the printed story from which some of the above artwork originates.

TV21 #146 Art by Frank Bellamy

TV21 #146 Art by Frank Bellamy

And finally back to books. Lew Stringer spotted that a second volume of Thunderbirds the classic comic collection is due in November. Amazon has some details Thunderbirds The Comic Collection Volume 2.  The cover looks to be by Graham Bleathman and the details are somewhat thin, (witnessed by the following, "Warning: Not suitable for children under 3 years. For use under adult supervision") so I'll add more when they become a bit clearer, but the blurb sounds promising:
 Fifty years after Thunderbirds first blasted off onto British TV, discover the comic strips that captured the thrill and excitement of the cult TV series in spectacular style. This dazzling collection features the first twelve comic strips illustrated by the legendary Frank Bellamy originally published in the 1960’s.
Due in November 2015

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Egmont (5 Nov. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405279214
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405279215
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.4 x 28 cm

Thursday 13 November 2014

Frank Bellamy and Egmont Thunderbirds reprints

Collage from Volume 5

I have finally got copies of the books which Egmont list as being published in September and Egmont themselves haven't caught up yet by adding them to their Classic Comics website. I've grabbed the covers and details from the publicity available in their main catalogue. However note that the cover for Volume 2 changed on publication - which often happens. The correct cover appears below.

Interestingly Amazon has some strange ways of cataloguing this data (Thunderbirds Comic: Volume V has a Roman numeral and not a Latin numeral). Volume 1 has the sub-title of Garen Ewing's excellent Rainbow Orchid comic (see Footnote) Volume 2 has the correct published cover which is a cropped image of the comic cover - for obvious reasons they want to highlight only TB2!
Art by Graham Bleathman

I have listed all these in the reprint list on the website.Graham Bleathman drew 4 out of 5 of these covers back in the early 1990s for the Thunderbirds comic edited by Alan Fennell
  • Volume 1 came from Thunderbirds the comic #13
  • Volume 2 came from Thunderbirds the comic #2
  • Volume 3 came from Thunderbirds the comic #8
  • Volume 4 came from Thunderbirds the comic #11
  • Volume 5 came from Thunderbirds the comic #22 (Cover by Steve Kyte)
Interestingly, and it seems appropriate to mention it here, Graham's excellent cutaway drawings are published now as well. The book (shown below) Inside the World of Gerry Anderson retails at £17.99 and Graham has written a foreword - and being a fan of TV21 and a collector himself he notes the differences between the cutaways published here and those that haven't been, the history of how got into this work and how Alan Fennel hired him. A nice little history and a lovely hardback and when I asked Graham about it earlier in the year, he said "There is no direct Bellamy connection, except for the fact that a couple of cutaways are of ships or locations that Bellamy designed (notably ‘The President’ liner)."
Thanks Graham!

Graham Bleathman's "Inside the worlds of Gerry Anderson"
Anyway back to Frank Bellamy, who is yet to appear in this article! All 5 volumes contain the materials mentioned in the previous article on "Thunderbirds the comic collection but with some differences in packaging

Firstly the back covers with nice silhouettes of the craft - and matching colours....

Then each title page has a piece of art and a silhouette.....

 And then each contents page has artwork selections......

Volume One

Volume Two

Volume Three

Volume Four
Volume Five

Although Egmont credit John Cooper (on the story pages) correctly with having done two out of the three stories in Volume 5, they make the same mistake on the contents page as they did on the hardback Collection. So the stories "The Big Bang" and "The Mini Moon" are not illustrated by Bellamy.

Lastly I should say the presentations are really nice and the feel of the covers (matt) is very pleasant. Also to make up the page count someone used some imagination and created a collage of Bellamy and Cooper art - nice touch - see picture at top of this article!

So stop ignoring your Christmas shopping and get these books for friends who have never heard of Frank Bellamy. A nice series.

FOOTNOTE: Trust me! The Complete Rainbow Orchid (The Rainbow Orchid) by Garen Ewing is great fun to read and is better than Herge's Tin-Tin, in my opinion! Egmont will love me for mentioning this!

Monday 21 October 2013

Frank Bellamy and THUNDERBIRDS The Comic Collection

Some stories are reprinted over and over. Some stories are not often reprinted in any form!Some get skipped in the run!

Egmont's Thunderbirds the comic collection

Although the news of this publication came out of the blue a few months ago, it was a pleasure to finally see a copy. I have updated the website with the listing of these reprints from TV21. While I was doing it I noticed how the run of reprinted stories skips some stories.

  • TV CENTURY 21 141 - 146 "The Earthquake Maker"
  • TV CENTURY 21 147 - 154 "Visitor from space"
  • TV CENTURY 21 155 - 161 "The Antarctic menace"
  • TV CENTURY 21 162 - 169 "Brains is Dead"
  • TV CENTURY 21 170 - 172 "Space cannon"
  • TV CENTURY 21 173 - 178 "The Olympic plot"
  • TV CENTURY 21 179 - 183 "The Barracuda awaits"
  • TV CENTURY 21 184 - 187 "Devil's crag"
  • TV CENTURY 21 188 - 191 "Eiffel Tower demolition"
  • TV CENTURY 21 192 - 196 "Nuclear threat"
  • TV CENTURY 21 197 - 202 "Hawaiian lobster menace"
  • TV CENTURY 21 203 - 208 "The Time machine"
  • TV CENTURY 21 209 - 217 "Zoo Ship"
  • TV CENTURY 21 218 - 226 "City of doom"
  • TV CENTURY 21 227 - 234 "Chain reaction"
  • TV CENTURY 21 235 - 238 The Amazon Fire Pit
  • TV CENTURY 21 239 - 242 Subsmash Rescue
  • TV 21 & Joe 90 1-4 Volcano Oil Search
First of all we start with a reprint from TV21 #141 and I suspect this is because this was the first issue in which Bellamy no longer had the double page spread (because some guy called Ron Embleton started illustrating something called "Captain Scarlet"!) and therefore these strips are easier to reprint being two single pages - no problem with the gutter between pages.

The Zoo Ship

After this first story, we follow the published order from TV21, until issue 178's ending of the story "The Olympic Plot". We skip #179-183 (a story variously known as "The Jupiter Revolt", or in Thunderbirds Holiday Special [1993] as "Mission to Moonbase"  or "The Barracuda awaits"  in  Century 21: Classic Comic Strips from the Worlds of Gerry Anderson: Menace from Space by Chris Bentley (2012)) and go onto "The Devil's Crag from issues 184-187. We then carry on from #188-202.

It's then that we carry on into un-reprinted territory...well, sort of....

Devil's Crag

In issue 203 (7 Dec 2068) we get "The Time Machine" which has only been reprinted (to my knowledge - and please correct me) in the reprint title of the 1990s Thunderbirds (issues #27-32 [Parts 1 in # 27, 2 in #28, 3 in #29, 4 in #30, 5 in #31, 6 in #32]) to be far too exact. "The Time Machine" ran in TV21 until  #208 (11 Jan 2069) and this volume from Egmont carries on into unreprinted territory (except in that 90s comic Thunderbirds!). We see issues 209 through to 226 of TV21 and then we move onto John Cooper's artwork from the second series TV21 & Joe 90 with two stories "The Big Bang" and "The Mini-Moon" before reprinting the excellent Lady Penelope. As a 8 year old I loved these stories drawn by Eric Eden - especially the one about the Isle of Arran riddle.

The one mistake I have found in this reprint is that Bellamy is wrongly credited on the contents page with illustrating "The Isle of Arran" which is drawn by Eric Eden (pp250 - 267). But this is a minor criticism

For Dan Dare fans I should mention Frank Hampson's outing with Lady P is reprinted here too. The art is not as crisply reprinted as I'd like, but the whole book looks to be taken from reprinted material and not original scans that's not too surprising. Before I close this long ramble of factual material I should also give credit to Graham Bleathman's cutaway art of the Thunderbirds as well as Tracy Island, FAB1, Creighton-Ward stately home. All in all a fantastic book to own especially if, like me, you're always grabbing the Ravette paperbacks or Bentley and Marcus Hearn's series of reprints and getting frustrated that you have to jump around the volumes so much. This book will be in easy reach so when I search for stories I can find them quickly.

The funky wallpaper, sorry endpapers

Oh and I think I ought to mention the beautiful endpapers which would have made an 8 year old Norman some fine wallpaper back in the day!

Brains is dead

Christmas is coming so get this on your wishlist, the ISBN for Thunderbirds Comic Collection is 9781405268363

Where to now Egmont? Well they have also released some interesting boxes of postcards, follow the links for more information.I enjoyed seeing the Thunderbirds: 100 F.A.B. Postcards (Classic Comics Postcard Collection) full of photos and screen grabs. The others in this series are 70s Girls Comics: 100 Postcards (Classic Comics Postcard Collection) and Battle: 100 Postcards (Classic Comics Postcard Collection)

Other's opinions
Lew Stringer review
Win Wiacek review
John Freeman's review on Downthetubes
Steve Holland's review
Forbidden Planet's review 

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Frank Bellamy and C. T. Stoneham

Charles Thurley Stoneham (1895-1965) Thanks to Richard Simms for the photo

Watching the fantastic David Attenborough series 'Africa' I was bowled over by the image of rhinoceros groups greeting each other under the starlight and it brought back memories of Bellamy's work on C. T. Stoneham's writings. 
I'm not sure if this works internationally but this link includes the clip I'm talking about. Sorry, if it doesn't work for you, but never mind here's Bellamy's cover for Boy's Own Paper March 1953. For a larger scan follow the 'More information' link on the website
Boy's Own Paper March 1953 Cover
Bellamy's internal illustration shows the rhino by moonlight (again follow the 'More information' link for a larger scan)

Pages 20-21
Besides the four Stoneham stories that Bellamy illustrated in Boy's Own Paper, he also did a cover for a Stoneham paperback reprint of Wanderings in Wild Africa  As Simms tells us "This volume includes chapters detailing Stoneham's experiences on five safaris, as well as practical information on how to hunt big-game and organize an expedition. This book was reprinted in 1957 under the title Wildest Africa."

Wildest Africa - my copy scanned and joined
Photo of the original art (thanks to Jeff Haythorpe)

The reverse of the original art (again thanks Jeff) - note the date

Interestingly Richard goes for 1957, where I took 1958 from the British Library's accession record. However looking again I see they have two copies of the Digit Book dated 1957 and 1958. If only Brown & Watson had included the publication date, we scholars would have less work! If Bellamy, in his own writing says he completed it in December 1956 it seems likely it was published 1957. So I have amended the webpage listing accordingly. I'll add these to my list for when I visit the British Library again. Fortunately they are printed covers not dustjackets, which the BL used to dispose of before adding books to stock. Tough luck illustration art researchers!

For larger scans see the 'More Information' link on the Book listing page

Lastly, Bellamy actually wrote to and received a reply from Stoneham when Bellamy was interested in going on safari. It never came to anything, but an interesting side note!