Puts me in mind of another interesting book jacket I turned up in my research: this one, from A. L. Lloyd’s classic study of English folk, published by Panther in 1967. And who is credited with the cover illustration? None other than Hipgnosis – presumably, given that Storm Thorgerson was fresh out of college at the time, just about the first commercial design to carry that credit. The year after this book came out, Thorgerson and his friend Aubrey Powell created their first LP sleeve – A Saucerful of Secrets by their Cambridge buddies Pink Floyd. With that, the Hipgnosis imprint’s subsequent alignment with progressive rock was set in motion. But this jester-minstrel, windmilling his lute like Pete Townshend in a ruff, represents a huge junction-box of intersecting musical histories. He illustrates a talismanic book written by the man who formerly collaborated with old Ralph Vaughan Williams on the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs; his creator would later employ a junior designer named Peter Christopherson in Hipgnosis, who would go on to form Throbbing Gristle and Coil. The latter group, in their final years, began incorporating all manner of ‘folk’ and pagan elements into their music – celebrating the solstice with powerfully transformative electronic improvisations and using accordions, fiddles and medieval instruments on records like Black Antlers, juiced up on a powerful cocktail of ‘English visionary’ tradition: Aleister Crowley, John Dee, Blake, Austin Osman Spare...
14 May 2010
Thanks to Adrian Shaughnessy for some follow-up info on Shirt Sleeve Studios: apparently the work of two people, Nancy Fouts and Malcolm Fowler, both, as you'll see if you follow the links, still active, though producing very different kinds of work from each other. Stars of design and advertising in their 1970s heyday, reckons Adrian, and some of their work has been acquired by the V&A Museum.
Posted by Rob Young at 17:11