In the modern era, the “beautiful book,” an art object in its own right, has become the key to the ongoing attraction of print publishing as physical books continue to distinguish themselves from the screen.
Author Martin Salisbury traces the evolution of the book jacket from its functional origins as a plain dust protector for expensively bound books to its elaboration as an artistic device to catch the eye of browsing book buyers. The increasing awareness of the jacket’s potential to serve as a marketing tool across various areas of the publishing world—from literary fiction to academic titles, and children’s books—meant a proliferation of illustrative treatments. The book jackets reproduced here reflect the changing visual styles and motifs of the passing century, beginning with the Art Deco period and continuing through Modernism, the playful Thirties, the pre- and postwar Neo-Romantics, the new consumerism and realist subject matter of the Fifties, and the Pop Art of the Sixties.
Featuring talent from the US and UK, Cover Up: The Illustrated Book Jacket explores the pictorial dust jacket through a selection of more than 300 key works and artists that influenced the course of book jacket design.
Martin Salisbury is Professor of Illustration and Director of The Centre for Children’s Book Studies at Anglia Ruskin University. He cofounded the graphic arts journal Line, and his previous titles include Illustrating Children’s Books, Play Pen: New Children’s Book Illustration, and Children’s Picturebooks: The Art of Visual Storytelling.