Example of the treasure trove pictured above. "This illuminated page in Javanese script is from a chronicle of a Javanese court in Yogyakarta. Located in central Java, Yogyakarta was one of two main pre-colonial royal cities in Java and a center of Javanese culture. The history of local leaders and royal families was recorded in chronicles such as this one. The document is from the collections of the KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies in Leiden."
Armchair scholar fantasy. What will you look for here?
"Although little is know about the artist, Francis Cugat — he was a brother of the band leader Xavier Cugat — and no other book art has been attributed to him, the cover he did for The Great Gatsby is one of the most famous in modern literature. The scholars debate at what point Fitzgerald saw it and how he might have "written it into the book," but you can read Charles Scribner III's discussion of the facts here, and see a handful of other preliminary sketches by Cugat. The sketch at right, above, is the penultimate version of the cover, before the nudes went into the eyes and the New York skyline moved closer to Coney Island."
The Way Through Doors by Jesse Ball has just been released by Vintage, and after seeing it, I immediately placed it on my "have to have" list by virtue of the cover design alone. Did not know a single thing about the book, but instinctively knew that the contents had to be clever given the great wrapper it sports.
Cover design has been a popular topic lately among book bloggers, and I have really enjoyed all the new posts featuring vintage, amusing, and gorgeously designed book front doors. So much so in fact that I just added a new list to my right sidebar - judge by its cover. These links will lead you to some inspiring design work as well as to some great resources for locating various covers both historically and by topic. My hope is to keep looking about to provide more links in this area. Never enough eye candy.
Do you have a favorite link to great book design? Share?