PAN Fans Club

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

PAN Fans Club - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

Hans Helweg Original Artwork

I’m going to be including the original artwork I was lucky enough to get recently in the next few blogs. Today I am showing the only two PAN titles (the others being from PAN’s children’s imprint Piccolo) I was really pleased to find they were for two Erskine Caldwell titles and both signed by Hans Helweg.SigThey are about as raunchy as PAN got back in the late 50’s and early 60’s
Helweg was Danish and I think his dates were 21st Feb 1917 to 23rd June 2008. Information is scarce but I did find this on a blog from Hereford College of Art

“The widow of Illustrator Hans Helweg, Sue Bell has kindly donated his easel, brushes and other art materials to the Illustration course. Hans was a brilliant Illustrator who is most famous for his work with Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond on his Olga da Polga books. Olga1Hans also illustrated many book covers for Pan in the early 1960’s and his artwork is still much collected by fans of the English/European ‘pulp fiction’ scene. I will be writing more about Hans later in the year”

I have contacted both the author of the blog (last updated 2011?) regarding the last line and the college regarding the donation and possible contact details for Sue Bell but up to now have heard nothing.

Just found a Reader’s Digest Condescend Book version of ‘River God’ which was illustrated by Neville Dear . As his page has always been a bit thin I’ve now included the frontispiece.

Cecil Vieweg

CecIt has been a pleasure to talk with Cecil (Cec to his friends) Vieweg over the last few months and I have put together a page HERE to show most of his PAN covers plus several other works for different publications. I have also included a brief biography. Cec was producing covers for PAN from the early 70’s after he arrived in the UK from South Africa in 1968 and continued up to the early 90’s.
He was at PAN at the same time as George Sharp and I am pleased to say that I have put them in contact with each other after many years and we hope to all meet up somewhere soon. I’ll be there with my camera.
I added two more scans of frontispieces from Reader’s Digest Condensed Books yesterday as mother-in-law has moved care homes this weekend and the new one has another shelf of these volumes for me to look through!

Just heard of the death of James Salter last Friday (born Horowitz 10/06/25) whose first novel ‘The Hunters’ was  published by PAN as G151 in 1958.

Marguerite Patten 04/11/15 – 04/04/15


I had one of those odd, and a little sad, coincidences this week. I was near Cambridge last Wednesday to pick up some books which happened to be the Piccolo Marguerite Patten Cook Books which Eileen Strange had signed for me as she did the illustrations. It was while driving away from the house of a friend of hers that I heard on the radio the news that Marguerite had just died only a few months short of her century. Eileen knew Marguerite and said what a lovely ‘down to earth’ lady she was.

The reason I was collecting the books from Cambridge was that Eillen lives on the Isle of Coll off the Scottish mainland and it was luck that a friend of hers, Cliff from Cambridge, was happy to bring them down, plus several other bits and pieces, for me to pick up closer to home.

Eileen’s first husband John worked in the art department at PAN and rescued some cover artworks. Unfortunately her second husband has recently died and she is now trying to downsize and wants to travel and I was happy to buy a few PAN / Piccolo related items from her,. We came to an amicable settlement and I’ve helped her on her way to Uzbekistan in November.

I’ll be featuring the original artworks in coming blogs including some by Alan Cracknell, Alan Lee and Hans Helweg.

A Miscellany of Barbara Cartland Bits and Pieces

Having found all the pictorial Cartland titles I had on my list I looked at other related bits and pieces I had including several autographed cards and letters. There was also a couple of photos and I decided to see which original book covers were shown. BookCovers1

On one of the blogs on ‘Today’s Inspiration’ I found the following;

“Earlier this week we learned from commentor Chad Sterling that Barbara Cartland refused to return any of the original paintings to Francis Marshall, instead framing them and hanging them on the walls of her mansion, which left Marshall feeling quite bitter. Ximena provides an eye witness confirmation of that sorry situation: “I once had tea with Barbara Cartland (possible title for an autobiography) and she had a whole wall with originals. They were a bit bigger than an A4, and so cool, all together like that, it made me really jealous.”

As Tom Watson pointed out in a follow-up comment, the practice of keeping illustrators’ originals under the assumption that the physical art was part of the purchase price of the reproduction rights was all too common for many decades – and rarely challenged by artists who feared rocking the boat and risking the loss of future assignments. From personal experience, (having had the experience many times in the early years of my career of not getting my original art back) I learned to always clarify the purchase terms of an assignment in writing up front”

I’ve put together a page HERE showing the covers including the one on the right behind her head which was not published by PAN. I’ve only gone for the obvious ones although I may try find some of the others from parts shown at a later time but I’ve not managed to identify the one at the bottom – any one know? Cartland was a staunched supporter of the St John Ambulance and a couple of the covers have links to that. I’ve also put on the truly awful PAN pink covers I threatened to do a couple of weeks ago!

I have been in contact with a cover artist who lives on a small island off the Scottish coast who wants to down size and travel so we have come to an amicable settlement regarding buying some PAN related original cover artwork she has. As it is quite a jaunt up there I’ve been lucky in that she had a visitor from Cambridge visiting who has kindly picked them up and I am collecting them from him this week. They will appear on the next few blogs.

‘The Film Classics Library’

‘White Rabbits’ or whatever you are supposed to say on the first of the month for luck but it’s not worked with the weather, where is Flaming June? Certainly not here in the UK but moving on to more important things …….

I’ve sent many a happy hour looking through the eight(?) titles in the Richard J. Anobile series ‘The Film Classics Library’ studying for quizzes but I don’t think any have actually cropped up as questions so far! For those who may not have seen them they consist of thousands of stills from the films plus dialogue and even the start and end credits (quiz goldmine) The maltesenallPAN published four titles under the Picador imprint and Darien House, Flare Books / AVON published another four all of which can be seen HERE There are some variations in the cover stills between the UK and US editions and I’ve just scanned the versions I have. I particularly like the shot in ‘Stagecoach’ where there is a pan following the coach through Monument Valley as I can say I’ve stood on John Ford Point from where he filmed it.Stageback

I’ve also found the last of the Cartland titles I knew I had and was looking for last week plus I’ve added ‘Mazes 2’ which eventually arrived in the post but still no sign of ‘Mazes for Fun 4’