|Derek A(rthur) Stowe|
Derek was born in in Romford in 1932.
He married Doris in Islington in 1954.
They currently reside in a town near the coast in Essex.
Derek recently contacted me via the blog to talk
about his work as a cover artist in the 50's and 60's.
He produced artworks for PAN, Panther, Arrow
and other publishers examples of which can
be found in this article.
The following text is from Derek himself and I
was extremely pleased that he took the time
to send it to me so I could share it with others
who appreciate the covers for what that are,
miniature artworks in their own right for which
the artists themselves do not get the recognition
started Book Jackets in 1955. I was 23 at the time.
Ron Kirby, who I was working with at Pulfords
suggested that I should go and see Mr Assail at
Panther Books in Knightsbridge as he was going
off to Paris France, with a lady friend to become a real
Artist. At the time I was doing a little Freelance work
with The Tudor Art Agency at weekends. Doris and
I had only been married for a year and of course, had
almost no money to spare. Studio wages were at that
time very sparse for a young aspiring artist.
I was given a trial by Panther on Foreign Legion book
covers at £11 Guineas a cover! This was a wonderful
breakthrough as I was only earning £9 a week at
Pulfords. I was just about able to design and paint
a book cover in about two weekends. I could also
work at night in the summer evenings This was magic
as my income shot up to a heady £14.50 a week!
Panther FOREIGN LEGION Covers
I cannot now list any of my covers in accurate date order
but the sequence will be roughly correct.
LANCES IN THE DUST Harry Holton 1955
GLORY IS A JADE Bryn Haven 1956
RAIDERS OF DARFUR Stanley Mann Panther 214 1956
was then promoted to WESTERN COVERS at an increase to £13 Guineas a
JESSE JAMES Scott Jefferson Panther 79 1955
THE APACHE KID Lauren Bosworth Paine Panther 208 1956
These two Westerns were followed by a succession of covers for AUTHENTIC SCIENCE MONTHLY at the same rate of pay
Authentic Science Magazine was published by Hamilton & Co (Stafford) Ltd who also published Panther Books
Another very welcome rise in my commission rate happened as I was now asked to begin
work on Panthers general ( but cheaper priced book range) at £18 Guineas a cover.
DESCENT INTO DANGER Scotty Young Panther 524 1955
PRISONER OF THE KORMORON James Taylor Panther 525 1955
THE BIG SQUEEZE Mark Corrigan Panther 771 1958
Then came my first
Book of the Film for Panther
SAPPHIRE E G Cousins Panther 912 1959
The film was extensively promoted by
The Rank organisation - a publicity quote from the
promotion material for the film quoted,
"Top artist Derek A Stowe has designed a striking front cover,
featuring the principal artists and a plug for the film"
A first print run of 50.000 copies was ordered.
This quote and publicity for me was, I can only
assume, spotted by the major paperback publisher
at the time - PAN BOOKS
I was surprised to receive a Telephone call from
Mr George Kam who was the Commissioning Editor
for Pan Books. He asked if I would consider
working for PAN?
The fee would be 25 Guineas per book. I was delighted!
I am sad to say that I cannot remember what the
first book was. I believe it was in 1956.
I think it was
later that I produced PAN's first Book of the Film
THE DESPERATE HOURS Joseph Hayes PAN 372 1956
This was followed by four other books of the film.
A KID FOR TWO FARTHINGS Wolf Mankowitz PAN 395 1956
DESTRY RIDES AGAIN Max Brand PAN 151 1956
THE JURY Gerald Bullett PAN GP65 1957
TRIAL Don M Mankiewicz GP58 1957
Other titles during my period with PAN were
GIRL IN WAITING Georges Simenon PAN 407 1957
ONE TWO, BUCKLE MY SHOE Agatha Christie PAN 380 1956
UPON THAT MOUNTAIN Eric Shipton GP43 1956
TO THE LAST MAN Zane Grey 385 1956
LIFE IN OUR HANDS Pamela Bright PAN 423 1957
THE ISLAND OF TERROR 'Sapper' PAN 429 1957
SOCCER, THE WORLD GAME Geoffrey Green GP50 1956
FIVE AGAINST THE HOUSE Jack Finney PAN 396 1956
APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH Agatha Christie PAN 419 1957
THE MEGSTONE PLOT Andrew Garve PAN 439 1958
Click HERE to see the original artwork for 12 of the 15 titles.
After these 15 or so completed books,
Mr Kamm called me in to explain that he was retiring as the
for Pan Books. This was to prove a major upset for me! I had met the Artists Agent Antony Bowen-Davies at PAN on several
previous occasions. He suggested that I should come onto his book so he could represent me, of course I would be paying
him twenty percent of my earnings in commission fees!
Now why would I be silly enough to do that? I was happily working direct with PAN earning 25 Guineas a cover without
paying an Agents Commission Fee. I was very young (26) newly married to Doris, and needed every last penny to
buy a house of our own. It really seemed that I would be 'Shooting myself in the foot'
(Click on picture to see my guess)
what I didn't know of course, that he was to be
PAN's new Art Editor! That day duly arrived and he
called me in to brief me on a new book.
I can't remember what that book was, but he
supplied a rough layout and a reference shot
of a women for the finished illustration.
I completed the illustration and took it in.
Tony Bowen-Davis 'Hummed and hared' and pronounced
"I don't like it, I will have to reject it, and
I'm afraid I cannot pay you for it"
This was my first - and I'm glad to say - my only rejection
in all my years of producing illustration. It was hard!
Many artists have had to suffer this fate during their careers.
Working late hours - every illustration in those days
was to be very detailed - and then to lose that time
and the fee that went with it, I think only other artists
would understand the professional and personal
rejection and also the inevitable loss of confidence
in one's artistic ability.
door shuts and it is said, another opens.
This strangely is what happened. I was contacted
again by Mr Assail of Panther Books. Wonderfully it
was a new offer of work! It was again film subjects.
Panther had purchased the publishing rights to several new major films. These film books were apparently proving
very popular with the reading public. Mr Assail offered
me a Fee of 60 Guineas for each book jacket illustration.
The film book in question was ME AND THE COLONEL
starring Danny Kaye and Kurt Jugens. The illustration
needed to be approved by Columbia Pictures before
publication. Columbia liked the illustration so much that
they asked me to extend it for the West End release poster.
Now here is the sting in the tail for this little artist!
After PAN I had returned to my old studio, Pulfords
Publicity in Fleet Street. Pulfords at that time were
responsible for most of the film posters in the
West End and the final release posters for GB.
Columbia called in Mr Hornsby (my Boss at Pulfords)
Columbia at the time always insisted that we used coloured,
retouched film stills for their posters. They said that they
did not want an artists impression of their Stars.
Ron Hornsby was asked "Why don't you imply artists
like this?" He had no option but to reply "I do, he works
for me" He brought my illustration back to the studio,
called me in and said " I want you to extend this illustration
to Quad size for the film poster" to which I replied "OK,
but I won't do it here, it's my Freelance work and I'll take
it home and bring it back next week, and give you the bill"
Studio Directors in those far off days hated to be bested
by mere artists - thankfully that was to change, and artists
began to get the respect and money that they deserved.
I went on to produce many more covers for Panther.
The list as I remember them
CRY TERROR Andrew L Stone Panther 838 1958
THE LAND OF SPICES Kate O'Brien Panther 884 1958
THREE CORVETTES N Monsarrat Panther 1261 1962
THE SQUARE JUNGLE Harry Sanford Panther 1046 1960
HEATWAVE Caesar Smith Panther 761 1958
CORNBRED ARISOCRAT Claud Garner Panther 795 1958
DOCTOR GOES EAST George B Mair Panther 790 1959
THE WORLD AT WAR Edgar Holt Panther 878 1959
DANGER! MARINES AT WORK R Fuller Panther 1010 1960
THE FBI STORY Don Whitehead Panther 950 1959
FAMOUS EUROPEAN CRIMES David Rowan Panther 757 1958
REAR-GUARD Patrick Clifford Panther 1045 1960
THE RAT RACE Alfred Bester Panther 947 1959
THE GIRLS FROM ESQUIRE Panther 1170
PRIDES CASTLE Frank Yerby Panther 818 1958
TRIAL AT ARMS Ian Bisset Panther 1032 1960
FLY FOR YOUR LIFE Larry Forrester Panther 965 1959
THAT LADY Kate O'Brien Panther 851 1958
BAMBOO, RICE AND SEAWEED Mahoney Panther 778 1958
TEN DAYS IN AUGUST Bernard Frizell Panther 836 1958
TOO MUCH, TOO SOON Diana Barrymore Panther 875 1959
HOUSE OF DOLLS Ka-Tzetnik Panther 758 1958
THE ANGRY HILLS Leon Uris Panther 757 1958
MAGGIE CASSIDY Jack Kerouac Panther 1092 1960
SECRET WEAPONS - SECRET AGNTS J Bergier 816 1958
WOMAN SURGEON Else K La Roe Panther 893 1960
|Derek at work drawing the head of Robert Morley|
1965 I left Pulfords for the last time as I had been offered a minimum
of £100 per week to join The Tudor Art Agency
as a Freelance. I was to produce the weekly front covers of a new magazine untitled Understanding Science.
| I then worked with
The Tudor Art Agency until 1984 becoming
Creative Director in 1973.
We spent many years then sailing the East Coast and the Continent. I was still working as a
Graphic Designer until finally retiring when I reached 70
|Tail Piece - A couple of hardback covers for Herbert Jenkins|