Claire Squires judges a book by its cover for the Financial Times

Claire Squires, Senior Lecturer in Publishing at Oxford Brookes University, recently wrote an article for the Financial Times on the cover design of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons.

Writing for a series in the FT called 'How to Judge a Book by its Cover', Squires explains how the design pictured here did not appear until 1938 (8 years after initial publication of the book). Ransome only started illustrating his own work with the third in the Swallows and Amazons series, Peter Duck, as a textual joke: the pictures were supposed to have been drawn by the children in the book.

But Ransome later came to illustrate the whole series, and his tableaux of scenes from the novel were put together in a montage for the cover designs, colour-coded for each book. These designs from the 1930s are still available in the Jonathan Cape hardback editions.

The full article is available from the FT website.

Squires teaches a module on Children's Publishing for the MAs in Publishing in the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies.

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