MAGAZINE COVERS - COURIER
|SPIRIT OF BRITAIN
|NEAR AND FAR
|ASPECTS OF THE MAGAZINE
There are some magazines where the entire budget is blown on a snappy cover on art paper. Only when the magazine is opened at home, does the reader realise how poor is the editorial material. COURIER is a useful variant where the paperstock is consistent, the colour and black and white reproductions of a high quality, the writing and photography of a worthy consistency, but the editorial matter is so dull, so very dull, that your brain is rarely engaged. There are leaden articles on parts of the United Kingdom and South Africa. There are pointless essays on British History. There are short stories of numbing pointlessness. Infused throughout is a deferential attitude to Toffs and Royalty and the way British Traditions can be constructed as a defence against wily foreigners.
Above all, the magazine seems to rarely commission its imagery, but rely heavily on agency material. In the hundreds of issues I have seen, only once did I see an illustrator of distinction, and even then, the David Gentleman feature was one of his limpest. My prejudiced view is that the magazine as Comfort Blanket for Post War Britain reflects its owner, Norman Kark. I'll leave you to consult Wikipedia on Courier and its owner.
The sole exception was a cheery Courier cover design of a decent standard, rarely acknowledged on the masthead, and only sometimes signed. The Courier covers can't be compared to FORTUNE say or the Saturday Evening Post. But the Graphic Solution each month has a control and drawing that can charm. The relevence to the month of issue may be annoyingly obvious but the artist often makes a good fist of it, with pattern, dimension, composition and colouring that deserve study and acknowledgment. My sole reservation is that it is printed on dimpled art paper that apes a canvas surface, and makes a claim to cultural significance before you can plunge into the design.Incidentally this feature is also available as a filter in Photoshop today, and has been used by the Guardian to tart up its poor resolution of the Painting under discussion. Really!
Artists who contributed signed covers include
VICTOR ASKEW, 1909-1974, ROI, RWS, is an interesting artist, successful as a commercial artist (Studio AY) and as a landscape painter. He later became a demonstrator for Rowney's the Pigment People, and specialised in palette knife work.