ultimate collectors luxury edition. Limited edition, giclee printed,
handmade, paint encrusted hardback cover, wraparound dust jacket,
original archive drawing in the title page, presentation box artist
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||The ultimate collectors luxury edition. Limited edition, giclee printed, handmade, paint encrusted hardback cover, wraparound dust jacket, original archive drawing in the title page, presentation box artist signed.|
Nightwatch(From the book "Solar Wind Vol.1")
By : Deborah Susan Jones : Editor
The cover art for Andrew M Stephenson's first novel (provisionally titled "The Nightwatchmen" but changed by editorial policy, or, at least, that's what the artist was told at the publisher) was painted and completed on 15th November 1976 and the art director's scribbled note on the back of the art is the 9th of March 1977, which was probably the production date when it was sent to or retrieved from the printers (and which illustrates how fast-moving the market was then in that lead-times from art to bookshop were otherwise typically a year) and is one of the classic "spaceship hardware" covers Peter created in that era.
The design of the painting was born out of a discussion with the art director Patrick Mortemore about creating a dramatic perspective layout and to facilitate that idea the main spaceship was given a "wine glass" shape by Peter and the smaller spaceships appear to fly out from underneath and behind this bigger ship, thus creating a deep perspective both into the distance and from left to right across the cover, a double perspective.
The idea in Stephenson's novel is that of a someone building a set of artificially intelligent space fortifications meant to guard against alien invasion of Earth although the contact with aliens turns out to be benign and friendly.
As was common at the time, Peter's working method was that of oil and acrylic on hardboard and as mentioned elsewhere on this site previously works had been on stretched paper mounted on mount board, the typical of his "art school training" method of the mid-1970s at St. Martin's School of Art, but this was proving problematic since the illustrations, when sent through the "art director to editor to photographer to printer" pipeline, and back again to the art director's office, was often a potentially damaging one and indeed, one painting was cracked across the top half which triggered a need to change the creative and presentation process.
Stephenson was Venezuelan-born (1946 and of UK parents) and The Nightwatch was not only his first novel, but one the artist recalls with great affection and the era in which he created both this piece and other cover art for Furura remains a very special memory with him.
"Heady days . . . . . . . . . . . "
Deborah Susan Jones