PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for www.tikit.net

PAN Fans - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for www.tikit.net

A Couple of Celebrations.

Missed it again, this websites birthday on the 16th so belated greetings for its coming of age – 18 years and still going strong.
Here’s to many more blogs and postings and hopefully comments from anyone reading them.

With Christmas coming up I thought I’d share a piece of seasonal artwork by PAN cover stalwart Glenn Steward I bought off eBay for peanuts, I think it cost me more in postage than I paid for the artwork itself. He painted it as an idea for his personal card for 1995. I like Glenn’s work and have a few examples including the perennial favourite ‘The PAN Book of Card Games’ used for thirty years over several editions. I also have the front and back covers of ‘That Magnificent Air Race’ and the ‘Hanging Hitchcock’ which my wife hates (I really must update a couple of those pages)

Although not that much is know about Steward he was a very keen cyclist and was art editor for ‘The Sporting Cyclist’ with a seasonal issue like this which doesn’t seem to contain any of his artwork so here are a couple of cyclist he painted for a greetings card.
… and finally I went out for a Christmas lunch for members of ‘The Friends of Pelsall Commons’ as my wife and I are ‘Wardens of the Little Commons’ which means we do grand things like litter picks. It was at lunchtime and half a bottle of wine was beginning to take its toll but at least I’m wearing my PAN top as they said wear something red and that was all I could find – honestly!

Micky Flanagan and Julek Heller

The title for this blog is one you don’t see everyday, a comedian and a painter although they would probably say they are both artists in their own way.

I don’t often listen to the radio programme ‘Desert Island Discs’ which has been going for 75 years but did catch the end of the episode while waiting for the news where comedian Flanagan chose PAN’s ‘A Dictionary of Philosophy’ as the book he would take. He mentioned he still has it at home so I’ve fired off one of my emails asking if it’s possible to have a photo of him holding it? I’ll let you know if I get a response.This reference has now swollen the ‘PAN as mentioned on radio’ section to all of two clips which can be found HERE.

Back in August I mentioned trying to contact Julek Heller to ask about the original unsigned artwork of a unicorn to check if it was one of his and so I was really pleased to get a message from his daughter Zosia this week and letting me have contact details. We have since communicated and he confirmed that the unicorn was his but unfortunately I had sent him the wrong artwork! There were two, one we knew was his, the other something like it and guess which one I attached? I’ve since sent the other and await a verdict. 

I also asked Julek about some of the titles from PAN with artwork listed as by him to which he replied “There are quite a few images out there attributed to me that I didn’t produce, some good some not ,what can you do? My website is in need of some work which I hope to deal with in the New Year . I Have a few sample covers somewhere in my files which I will try and dig out and scan. I’ll send them on to you if I can find them” I specifically mentioned the PAN ‘Gormenghast Triology’ listed as having artwork by him, which weirdly ties in with the “PAN as heard on radio” in that the only other clip refers to Mervyn Peake, author of the said novel. Julek attached his artwork for the Peake title but this was for Overlook Press in the States from 1988.I have some more scans to add to Julek’s page but I can’t get to the box at the moment, probably in the New Year. I’ll let you know when they go on.

W B Yeats and Michael Leonard

Last week I mentioned a strange coincidence which was that I was going to put up a page of the W B Yeats covers with portraits by Michael Leonard, an artist I’ve mentioned before. I was looking for an image of him and found a self portrait usually exhibited in the Ferens Gallery, Kingston Upon Hull. The strange part was that last week we were in Hull at the Ferens gallery to see the Turner prize nominees which unfortunately meant the portrait had been relegated to storage while the Turner exhibits were on. We were not too impressed with them apart from one where the artist had produced ‘real’ painting. He was a local lad, well local to us here in the Midlands, namely Hurvin Anderson and as we liked them this will probably mean he won’t win, sorry Hurvin.

To see the Michael Leonard Shakespeare paintings I’ve shown before click HERE. To see the Yeats covers click HERE. Michael does have a lot of his book covers on his site HERE but only shows one of the PAN Yeats and doesn’t include the ‘Grendel’ cover by John Gardner. Having been away I’ve not had time to include more but I am really pleased to say the builders have finished my ‘library’ and it’s now up to me to finish it off!

Nothing to do with books but another strange coincidence in Hull was that on the Tuesday night we were just wandering around when a man came up to us and asked if he could help and then proceeded to give us maps. We had a long chat and then said goodbye. The next day we were following the ‘fish trail’ (different fish images on the ground all around Hull) when we got stuck trying to find a one by a pub. In the end we went into the pub and we were amazed to see the man we had been talking to the night before. When we eventually found the ‘crab’ we had actually walked passed in so if we had spotted it we wouldn’t have walked in to the pub and we wouldn’t have met up again – spooky or what – must be a precursor to Halloween!

Alan Cracknell and Julek Heller

I was hoping to feature the alternative PAN logos June sent me but what with recovering from over indulging at my son’s wedding plus the arrival of the builders who are working in the pouring rain things have been a bit hectic time wise. The plus side is that the building work is all part of our grand plan which includes two conservatories, a proper roof and lantern windows on the garage, bi-fold doors on the end giving access from one of the conservatories which will then enable me to start work on my ‘man cave/library’ I want to order the 700 feet of bookshelves but my wife says not yet. Very frustrating!

I mentioned trying to contact Alan Cracknell but hadn’t had a reply. This is probably because I had the wrong Alan Cracknell so Alan in Brighton – sorry for probably confusing you. The real Alan lives near Winchester and I tracked him down as he made the local newspapers and the BBC News when he was indulging in his hobby of metal detecting and found a bronze ring.  Alan doesn’t use the internet, a wise choice, but replied to my letter with one of his own plus some cards showing examples of his work which I’ve added to his page HERE. He invited me to ring him which I did and we had a long conversation culminating in him promising to send me more details of his career. Unfortunately Alan has Parkinson’s so finds it harder to paint now but thankfully he still does.

I’ve also added a few more scans to Julek Heller’s page HERE including some of the later covers from the PAN imprint TOR plus an Arrow cover as I like it. Still no reply to my messages to him via his website but I don’t give up that easily.

Hedger (not Edgar) Wallace and another PAN boat.

I recently bought a ‘bumper bundle’ of bits relating to the book ‘End Quiet War’ by Hedger Wallace. Wallace was born in Winchester on the 14th October 1927 and died in Fulham in February 2000. IMDB has credited him with 56 appearances in films and on TV. In the package was a signed copy of the PAN edition, plus a letter included with the contract, the contract itself, a couple of photos and the original typed manuscript. The cover is by Paul Simmons who coincidently a while ago kindly sent me a photo of covers which included this title.

I also came across a book “Coming Down The Seine’ by Robert Gibbings which mentions Alan Bott and a different boat to the ‘Laloun’ which was also, apparently, used for shipping books from France. In September to coincide with the 70th anniversary of PAN issuing book numbered ‘1’ and the next 9 which were all printed in France I’ve got a great article from Gordon who was the mate on the ‘Laloun’ carry those first copies. I’ve tried to get PAN interested in his really entertaining memories but disappointingly they’ve not reacted so far.
I’ve asked Gordon if this might be a photo of the ‘Yarvik’ or just one with the same name although it is the right length and was built for war work. I’ll hopefully have an answer soon but Gordon is presently touring around on the continent.

Finally I’ve been emailing Linda who runs the entertaining ‘Catherine’ site. I knew of her via the ‘Angelique’ site run by Anna who mentioned it to me. Interestingly Linda has three PAN editions which are the same as the UK ones but are all printed in Canada. I mentioned to her I would need to contact my wife’s cousin who lives in Oakville (the same Oakville from where came Eric Monkman fans of University Challenge) to go out scouting for me. Linda is Swiss but actually learnt her English while living in Hamilton, literally next door to Oakville.

UPDATE: Gordon has just replied “Yes” same boat, more when he gets back from Bruges.

‘Posh Book’ and Piccolo or Piper First Books?

Spotted this on Abebooks and was tempted for all of three seconds until I saw the price but then again I don’t suppose Agatha signed that many paperbacks. It’s definitely a classier rebinding than a lot I’ve seen and apparently the book originally belonged to Mary Anna Marten OBE (1929 – 2010) and was purchased via auction. It was part of a lot of Thirty Five signed Agatha Christie books bound together in seven volumes. These have now been split and re-bound into separate individual volumes. All books were signed by Agatha Christie sometime in the late sixties. This slim volume can be yours for just £575 plus £3.95 postage. Below are a few more with different publishers from the same seller, Lasting Words Ltd. and with prices ranging from £425 to the PAN as the most expensive.

 

This is a bit confusing as the four titles as above are listed as a Piper series but with the Piccolo logo while inside it says ‘First published by Piper Ltd in 1984 and distributed under the Piccolo imprint by PAN Books Ltd’  Click HERE to see the four covers.

The imprints and their logos are usually to be found as in the two examples above of  ‘Gangsters, Ghosts and Dragonflies’ with covers by Terry Oakes (next blog) from 1983 and 1993.

Maurice at Zardoz and more Leslie Thomas

I’d like to say a very big ‘Thank you’ to Maurice Flanagan (and his wife) of Zardoz Books for the time and hospitality he gave my wife and I last Monday and Tuesday. We called round at his house where we saw all of his David Tayler roughs for PAN book covers plus dozens of other artworks for numerous publishers. After tea and biscuits we followed Maurice to the ‘secret location’ of his very large book warehouse stuck at the end of a lane in a delightful rural location. We parked up and spent the night of the summer solstice in Maurice’s field by his ‘man cave’ next to the warehouse. My only regret was the next day when Maurice reminded me as to how close we actually were to Stonehenge at this auspicious time, I could have gone and relived my hippy youth!
Spent so long looking at books that I forgot to take many photos but here is a montage of a few.

Zardoz

Top left – The man himself, Maurice Flanagan.
Middle Top – A poor photo showing a Tayler rough that was censored on the actual book cover – no blood!
Top right – Even my wife was fascinated by the amount of books.
Bottom left – A PAN display stand
Bottom right – Another PAN display stand
Middle – Something I just have to agree with.
Bottom middle – Parked up in brilliant sunshine after rain all the way down.

After showing the 12 Leslie Thomas covers by Paul Davies I found three from around the same time but with a squiggle by the drawing on the cover which I eventually twigged was G S for Glenn Steward. The picture on the front at the top continues over to the bottom on the back. I thought I’d be clever and join the two halves together not realising a large part must have been trimmed off so I’ve ‘recreated’ the missing bits. See them HERE

Finally I’m not usually into politics but I’d like to go on record as saying I voted to join the EU 40 years ago and now I’ve voted to remain in it. Just to say when it all goes horribly wrong it was nothing to do with me (if it doesn’t I’ll just keep quiet!)

Colin Larkin and his PAN Book Covers

ColinA  few weeks back it was my pleasure to visit Colin and his partner Jenny and to see for myself his fabulous collection of original artworks used for PAN covers. There are over 550 pieces and I was so mesmerised that after several hours I’d still only managed to look at a quarter of them. Another visit is required soon as Colin is hoping to sell the collection to someone in The States as they were always intended to be his pension pot. I was offered them but unfortunately their price is a little too high even if I was to half it when I’m telling my wife! Jackie came with me on this visit but found the pleasures of wandering around the local village more interesting than covers – can you believe that!

I’m sure Colin  won’t mind me saying he is probably best known for all the music related books he has written over the years which total nearly 60 titles including works for ‘Guinness’ and ‘Virgin’ He is the brother of David Larkin who was Art Director at PAN in the 70’s and 80’s and so when PAN were having a clear out, having failed to reunite a lot of the works with their artists, he was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. When Ken Hatherley thought PAN could sell them to raise money for charity rather than put then in a skip Colin offered a sum of money which was accepted and given to the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

It was in 1991 that Colin found he had a serious family problem and would need to sell the artworks to raise money. As was widely reported at the time the Bonham’s auction was boycotted by disgruntled artists and so not as many works were sold as was anticipated.

I have a personal interest in the collection in that in 2004 fifty six works went missing and Colin asked me to keep a look out for them coming up for sale. I was able to tell him I had already been approach and had, not knowing they were stolen, expressed an interest in purchasing them if the price was right. After numerous emails the transaction just went dead at the sellers end so I was not left with the dilemma of whether or not I kept stolen goods! With my information Colin was able to identify the thief and a prosecution was due to take place in court. I had been interviewed by the police and was on standby to be a witness but it never got that far. Here are some more details still available on the BBC News website, I was apparently the ‘art dealer’ as mentioned in the penultimate paragraph. It never got as far as court as most of the works were recovered.

I was so overwhelmed by the collection I failed to take as many photos as I intended but HERE is a page with a selection.

There are still one or two ‘unknowns’ in the collection, not only for artist but also book title, so I’ll include one a week for the next few week.500-Ratoutou-_.JPG#0A9A

Happy New Year

HarrySmallThis year I became a patron of the arts actually commissioning artwork. A while back I mentioned Colin Wyatt and how he drew for Playhour Comic taking over drawing ‘Harry Hamster’ from Peter Woolcock. I jokily asked Colin if he would be interested in resurrecting Harry for me and he replied he was more than happy to do so hence the new picture on the website front page. I’ve still not made a real connection between Harry and PAN but I’ve a good imagination!

Amongst my Christmas presents were two pieces of artwork by Glenn Steward namely the front and back covers for ‘That Magnificent Air Race’ the novelisation of the film ‘Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines’ by John Burke. I am still trying to work out how best to scan them as they are framed and under glass and I’m reluctant to cut it open. Here they are photographed through the glass, more on this book in a later blog.


I was also in communication with John Raynes just before Christmas asking if an anonymous cover was his? It was interesting it that it was the first time I’ve known PAN use the same artwork twice but for completely different titles, one from 1966 and the other 1976. John replied

What a cheek, to use the same artwork for completely different books – I’m amazed. I wonder which was first and whether the chap in the background is still there, just cut off in the Byrd cover – what can be seen of the free brush work looks the same. Anyway it’s not mine’

The answer to John’s question is ‘Yes’ the hand is still there and I’ll do a better scan of both covers soon. Does anyone know the artist?SameArt

Finally I’d like to say Happy New Year and here’s to many more blogs in 2016, keep those questions and comments coming.

Carl Wilton etc.

Very little is known about Carl Wilton apart from the fact he was a prolific cover artist painting numerous covers for PAN amongst others in the early 1950’s. Searching on-line I found several references to a Carl Wilton living at 8a Wentworth Studios, Manresa Road, Chelsea in the mid 30’s (where Dylan Thomas lived during the war) This Carl Wilton appears to have moved in the late 40’s and early 50’s to 5c Chenil Studios, Kings Road, Chelsea. Click HERE to see the original artwork for 23 Wilton PAN titles.

The reason I mention Carl was that I have just picked up some original artwork by him from 1960 though not for PAN but Hodder and Stoughton. There is a link between these two companies because as from the 3rd May 1947 PAN had the financial backing and titles it needed to expand thanks to help from these three major publishers, Collins, Macmillan and Hodder & Stoughton. Shortly afterwards a fourth, William Heinemann, joined them. Hodder had been reluctant until Alan Bott finally persuaded Hodder & Stoughton’s Editorial Director Leonard Cutts to join and Ralph Hodder-Williams was nominated to the Pan Board.

If anyone can add any information about Carl Wilton a lot of people would be very pleased especially post 1957 when he seems to have disappeared, possibly died, but I can find no record of this event.

HaileyJust found the following cutting from the Sidney Morning Herald from July 21st 1976 mentioning the ‘Golden PAN Award’ set up in June 1964 by PAN Books for authors selling over a million copies of a title. I’m currently attempting to compile a list of all award winners with their book titles but I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and consult PAN to see if they have a definitive list.

The main problem is that several other organisations also have awards with the same name for things like gold panning, food banks etc. plus there is also a Golden PEN Award for new writers but again used as a name by several organisations including the Nigerian Brewing Company.

I do have a standing invitation from The British Museum to let them know when I am next in London and able to visit as they will get the original Roman bronze, used by PAN as the basis for their award, out of storage in the Hamilton Collection.


Tailpiece – Just found that David Tayler has been deleted from Wikipedia. He was marked for this for some time and we tried to keep his page but it went yesterday. I’m left wondering why, when you see how many pages of dross are still on there! I’ll make a page for him on this site ASAP.