Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rowland Hilder Illustrates The Midnight Folk

Rowland Hilder (1905-1993) has been on my radar for two reasons. Firstly, I have been seeing a large number of his prints for sale in charity shops of late, I don't know why particularly they should spring up there but they are always, among all the pictures on a charity shop wall, the ones which stand out and make you take a second glance. Secondly, because like anyone with an interest in mid-Twentieth Century design I've been aware for ages of the work he did on the Shell posters after the war. But I hadn't until recently seen much of his illustration work.

I don't buy Book Club books, ever, so it is a mark of how much I enjoyed these that I didn't realise this was the Book Club edition of this title until I had brought it home. Hilder has a way of situating his images halfway between the pure black and white tradition and the look of a lithograph. I think I have said before somewhere, possibly in discussing the illustrations of Charles Keeping, that I enjoy it when you see illustrations that are clearly designed to be spread across two pages: I think it shows a real comittment to the idea of the illustrations being part of a book. Hilder's take on this approach is unique because even a single illustration, when designed for two pages has his trademark square border around both images, an approach which acknowledges 'out loud' as it were that although this is one image it is being placed onto two separate sheets of paper.

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