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

Godley and Creme, W F Phillipps and ‘A Town Like Alice’

Nearly seven years ago in a blog from September 2013 I referred to the two Papersculpture books PAN published, namely ‘The Railway Children’ and ‘Oliver Cromwell’ by Godley and Creme and mentioned there was a third lsited as PAN but wasn’t. It was actually published by Cato O’Brian around 1980 and was “The Charge of The Light Brigade” incuding a model of a Hussar. I saw a copy for sale last week and I don’t know how they managed it, but in spite of the seller using copious amounts of card, the carrier still succeeded in bending the corner! It was much bigger than I imagined and is complete with the model but I’m stll not sure if I’ll make it or not as I would like a photo but don’t want to spoil the book.

William Francis Phillipps was a prolific artist but very little is known about him. The Book Palace biography says “A very accomplished British artist and illustrator, famed for his paperback cover art. He painted the front covers for many Agatha Christie Pan Books paperbacks during the early 1960s and was an illustrator par excellence for several children’s titles (across the ages) including Look and Learn, Treasure, Once Upon A Time and Teddy Bear. He illustrated many other covers including a remarkable series of western paperback covers for New English Library in the 1970s by J T Edson as well as for the popular Edge and Adam Steele wild west series. He also illustrated many books including ‘The Mysterious World of Dinosaurs’ and the magazine series ‘Birds That Cannot Fly’, both in 1980. He was equally at home painting cosy children’s nursery rhymes, gritty western covers, Bible stories, vivid natural history portraits (mostly fauna, including Dinosaurs), and many other subjects” I recently acquired a mixed collection of his artworks most of which have yet to be idetified as to whether or not they were used as book covers but among them was a couple of sketches for ‘Spanish Stirrups’ by John Prebble in Penguin which was very remisiscent of a couple of Adam Steele covers I also have, the one I’ve included is ‘Crossfire’. Probably one of his most well know covers for PAN was “The Third Book of Horror Stories” which hangs on the wall above me. A sample of one of the mystery covers is below, I suspect, from the layout. it might be for a title page on a Readers Digest Condensed Book?

There will be a double bill of Hans Helweg’s sketches next week but in the meantime I had an email from Christine Isteed of ‘Artist Partner’ who have/had so many PAN cover artists on their books. Sad to say she was asking for contact details to pass on to another artist the sad news that Gary Keane had died. Gary did at least three covers in the Horizons’ teenage fiction series. As an aside she also mentioned the artist Roger Coleman and how she was the model for the girl on the front cover of his Nevil Shute ‘A Town Like Alice’ I think you can still see the similarity now.

Category: PAN Books
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments