Illustration Art Gallery

The very best from the wide, sometimes overlooked, world of illustration art, including original artwork for book illustrations and covers, comic books and comic strips, graphic novels, magazines, film animation cels, newspaper strips, poster art, album covers, plus superb fine art reproductions and high quality art prints.

Our gallery brings together artists from all over the world and from many backgrounds, including fantasy, horror, romance, science fiction, education, sport, history, nature, technology, humour, glamour, architecture, film & tv, whimsy, even political satire and caricature.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Robert Brook

Despite a great deal of digging, almost nothing is known about artist Robert Brook. He appears to have begun working for the educational weekly Look and Learn in around 1965 and produced both colour and black & white illustrations for the magazine. His work could be highly detailed, as shown in the illustration above which he produced for the cover of issue 297 (23 September 1967), depicting a scene from Margaret Landon's novel Anna and the King, which was later turned into the musical The King and I (filmed in 1956, starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner).

This was one of a series of covers Brook produced featuring famous couples, others including Hiawatha & Minnehaha, Robespierre & Eleanor Duplay, Andrian Nikolayev & Valentina Tereshkova (two Russian cosmonauts) and Heathcliff & Cathy. Other cover series drawn by Brook included "Animal Heroes" and "Famous Partnerships".

Inside Look and Learn, he illustrated the serial "The Red Bonnet" by Henry Garnett with some delightful black & white illustrations and a feature on "The Literary Lambs"—Charles and Mary. He often worked in colour, illustrating historical features such as "The Tyrant of Mysore", about the Duke of Wellington's defeat of the Sultan of Mysore in 1799, and a long-running feature on "Dancing Around the World", which ran for 20 episodes in 1968.

Brook disappeared from the pages of Look and Learn to destinations unknown. Thankfully, some of his artwork has survived the years and is available for purchase at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Richard Henry Brock

Richard Henry Brock was the second son of Edmund Brock, the younger brother of Charles Edmund Brock and older brother of Henry Matthew Brock. The Brock brothers were each incredibly talented illustrators, but Richard is perhaps the least known of the three. Indeed, when the Brock family came to be written up by the Dictionary of National Biography, neither the date of Richard's birth nor death were known.

Richard was, in fact, born in Colney Hatch, London, in 1871, moving with his family to Cambridge a few years later where his father was a reader with the Cambridge University Press. All three Brocks -- as well as another brother, Thomas Alfred (who later went on to be a mathematician), and two sisters, Katherine Allison and Bertha Matilda, lived with their parents at St. Andrew the Less for many years.

Richard shared a studio with Charles and Harry Brock in Cambridge but did not share their interest in architecture, furniture and fashion. Where they gained reputations as book illustrators, Richard concentrated on painting, earning a modest income from local landscapes, mostly in oils. He did turn his hand of illustrating magazines for children such as The Prize and Chatterbox, although he lacked the skill and vigour of his brother Harry's illustrations.

In later years he illustrated a number of books, mostly for girls, including Tracked on the Trail by Nancy M. Haynes (1926), Another Pair of Shoes by Jessie Leckie Herbertson (1929) and The Windmill Guides by Violet M. Methley (1931). A couple of rare excursions into standard novels were illustrated editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (n.d.) and The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (1924).

Richard Henry Brock died in Brentford, London, in 1943, aged 71.

The above illustration is offered for sale by the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Charles Edmund Brock

Charles Edmund Brock was a member of a distinguished family of artists. He was the eldest son of Edmund Brock, a scholar of medieval and oriental languages and a reader at the Cambridge University Press. Edmund, born in 1840 in Shepreth, Cambridgeshire, was also the son of a painter, Jeremiah Brock. Moving to London, Edmund worked as a bookmaker in his early career. He married Mary Ann Louise Pegram in 1867 and the first of seven children, Alice Emma, was born the following year.

Charles Edmund followed on 5 February 1870, born in Upper Holloway. He grew up in London and St Andrew the Less, Cambridge, where his family moved in the 1870s. Here he studied at the Higher Grade School and in the studio of Cambridge sculptor Henry Wiles.

Brock began his illustrative career working for a number of different publishers. For George Routledge & Sons he illustrated The Parachute by J. R. Johnson (1891); and for Tyneside publisher Walter Scott he illustrated The Humour of Germany (1892) and The Humour of America (1893) in wash. But it was as an illustrator for the Cranford series published by Macmillan that he first came to public attention. Charles -- who dropped his middle name when signing his work -- produced 130 black & white illustrations for Thomas Hood's Humorous Poems (1893) and 100 for an edition of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1894). In 1895, Brock illustrated Annals of the Parish by John Galt and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin, but his major achievement was for the two-volume Macmillan edition of Charles Kingsley's Westward Ho! (1896).

At the same time he was producing illustrations for The Sunday Magazine and Good Words, and was now in great demand. For Service and Paton he illustrated Ivanhoe in 1897, followed by The Lady of the Lake (1898), The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1898) and The Vicar of Wakefield (1898).

Charles's career was followed closely by that of his younger brother, Henry Matthew Brock, who also illustrated books for Macmillan and Service & Paton's English Illustrated Novels series. The two shared a studio with a third brother, Richard Henry Brock, and Charles and Harry's mutual fascination with furniture and costumes of the 18th and early 19th century meant that they filled the studio with artefacts and reference material.

The two began working for J. M. Dent in the late 1890s, producing illustrations for editions of Jane Austin's novels. Charles also contributed pen & ink drawings to two volumes of Charles Lamb's The Essays of Elia (1900) and watercolour illustrations to Dent's English Idylls series (1904-09).

Writing in the Dictionary of National Biography, Ian Rogerson expresses the opinion that "Because of their versatility and willingness to take on such a wide variety of work, it is believed that the Brocks did not command the same respect publishers accorded Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac, who were much less prolific. As a result, they did not have the opportunity to work on lavish picture books issued by such publishers as Heinemann and Hodder and Stoughton between the turn of the century and 1914. Charles's best opportunity was to contribute coloured illustrations for Sampson Low's boxed, limited issues of Blackmore's Lorna Doone (1910) and three of Jeffrey Farnol's popular historical novels." Charles's association with Farnol, for whom he produced a great many book jackets, would continue until his death.

Illustrations in books suffered during the depressed 1920s and 1930s, but Charles continued to find work, including a series of Dickens's works, Pickwick Papers, Christmas Tales, Nicholas Nickleby and Martin Chuzzlewit (1930-32), The Heroes of Asgard by Annie & Eliza Keary (1930) and The Cuckoo Clock by Mrs. Molesworth (1931). He also worked for periodicals, including Punch, The Strand, The Graphic and The Captain.

Charles exhibited at the Royal Academy and at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colour, as did Harry and Richard, and was elected a member of the Royal Institute in 1908.

Charles was married to Annie Dudley Smith in 1902. He died at his home, Cranford, 38 Grange Road, Cambridge, on 28 February 1938, aged 68.

Examples of Charles Edmund Brock's artwork can be found for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Graham Allen

Born in 1940, Graham Allen is one of the unsung cartoonists whose work filled Fleetway's humour comics for 20 years, although his career in comics began many years earlier. A talent for humour must have run in the family as Allen's father, Clive, was half of a variety hall double act with Bobby Joy and for ten years was Max Miller's pianist.

Graham was already on Fleetway's staff by 1957 as an art bodger working on Davy Crockett and Kanasas Kid stories for Cowboy Comics Library. In the mid-1960s he established himself as a cartoonist with Fleetway drawing "Sir Munchkin—Have Lance Will Travel" for Lion and "One Man and his Dog" for Buster, as well as a weekly strip, "Lord Elpus", for Sunday Extra. He was lured over to work for Odhams on Smash!, Pow! and Wham! in a Baxendale-inspired anarchic style, although he had always crammed every inch of space with multiple characters dating back to the days of "Sir Munchkin". Probably his best work appeared in Smash! where he drew "Tuffy McGrew" and "The Nervs".

With the merger of Odhams' editorial with IPC's, Allen's work began to appear in the newly restyled IPC humour comics. Whizzer & Chips featured "Give a Dog a Bone" from its first issue, featuring the antics of a pooch who always finds trouble when trying to find a place to hide a bone; whilst another doggy character's ongoing battle with a butcher ("Mutt 'n' Chops") began appearing in Buster a few months later. IPC's next launch, Cor!!, featured the antics of the endlessly bored "Eddie" and a trickster whose attempts to spoil people's fun always ended in a comeuppance for "Spoilsport".

Allen also drew "Mickey's Moonbugs" for TV21 & Joe 90 and "Trouble Shooter" for Score 'n' Roar before linking up with Look-In to draw "Please Sir!", adapting the TV series starring John Alderton as teacher Bernard Hedges and a classroom full of miscreants led by Peter Cleall's Eric Duffy. Duffy and his pals (girlfriend Sharon, dimwitted Dennis and the rest) also starred in a spin-off series, The Fenn Street Gang, which Allen also transferred to the pages of Look-In.

One of Allen's most fondly-remembered strips, "Fiends and Neighbours" debuted in Cor!! in 1973, transferring to Buster when Cor!! was merged a few months later. In it, the Jones's, a nice respectable couple in a nice, quiet neighbourhood, find their lives are subjected to all kinds of terrors by newcomers, the Really-Ghastly family, who move in next door.

Allen continued to supply IPC with many more strips during the 1970s, including "Spy School" for new launch Whoopee! in 1974 and "Scruffy Dog and Shaggy Dog" and "Clarence Stringbean" for Buster, as well as drawing strips for D. C. Thomson ("Copycat" for Magic, and "Digby the Human Mole" for Plug) and TV Comic ("Nelly and her Telly").

In 1981, Allen began drawing his best known strip, "Pub Dog" for the Daily Express and, later, the Evening News. Allen's newspaper work in the 1980s and 1990s included "King Kat" in the Daily Star, "One Boy and His Dog" in the News of the World and "Rocky Starr" in People Magazine. He was also briefly the political cartoonist for Robert Maxwell's London Daily News.

Already a prolific illustrator of books (many of them featuring animals and nature), in the 1990s Allen established himself as a caricaturist of politicians and others in the Daily Express.

Some of Graham Allen's work on Please Sir is available for sale at the Illustration Art Gallery.