Crime Fiction

Bip Pares - Humfrey Jordan - R Percy Hodder-Williams

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We have an interesting collection of correspondence between Bip, an author and Hodder
discussing the artwork for a book. It provides a fascinating insight into the procedures employed.
It is also something we are very keen to learn more about,
so if you have any records or were involved in anyway with dust jackets artists please do get in touch
For more information on this artist see Bip Pares

 

From R. Percy Hodder-Williams 13th June 1939
Miss Bip Pares
20, Frognal Lane,
Hampstead
N.W. 3

Dear Miss Pares,
I am going to set you a very difficult task. You have got to beat your wrapper for SEA WAY ONLY. ;
Here is the new Humfrey  Jordan novel. It is entitled ANCHOR COMES BACK. The scene is the Burmese coast, but the theme, of course, is once a sailor, always a sailor.
I suggest to you that a companion wrapper to SEA WAY ONLY might be made by reversing the colours, and instead of having a blue sleeve on a white ground, we might have a white peninsular on a blue ground, with a white liner on a blue sea approaching the coast.
. The peninsular is the Thaung-lon Peninsular and the heat is terrific, but we don't want Burmese stuff, we want a great bold, simple wrapper like SEA WAY ONLY, the blue suggesting the sea, the white suggesting the intense sunlight, and the approaching ship the title of the novel: ANCHOR, COMES BACK.

From R. Percy Hodder-Williams 30th July 1940

Dear Miss Pares,
. I don't know whether you-have got the time - for we want it very quickly -"but I think you must illustrate the new Humfrey Jordan as your wrapper for SEA WAY ONLY is still the unbeatable Jordan wrapper.
Something equally bold and
simple will do very well for TIDE STILL FLOWING, proofs of which I am sending you to-day.
If you would like to let me have in addition five line drawings for the half-titles facing the five books, well and good, but we must not hold up production for these line drawings. It Is really a question of whether you have time to do them. They need not, necessarily have figures, indeed, they would look better, I think, as bold decorative work, for this is very much a man's book, pretty strong meat, I think, and fine stuff.
 

P.S. How are you setting on with the wrapper of PRAY SILENCE? We want to publish this as soon as possible.
 

From Humfrey Jordan 8th August 1940

Dear Mr, Hodder-Williams
Thank you for your two letters, dated 6th, and 7th, both received this morning about TIDE STILL FLOWING
If Miss Pares will give me an idea as to the illustrations she has in mind I will do my best to supply her at once with some data? although I fear that I have not any photographs which will help her.
I will make alterations in the proofs along the lines you suggest in your other letter. I certainly do not want to offend anyone needlessly in these hard times.
I had Just finished the proofs but will make the alterations necessary and forward the result, I hope, to-morrow.
When you can, let me have your opinion of the new novel. It was hard to write in war, but the result seems more or less what I intended. Although I am much occupied with being a soldier of sorts again, I am going on writing. Or that is ay firm intention.
Yours Sincerely,
 

From D.E. Fisher? 9th August 1940

Dear Miss Pares,
We have received the accompanying letter from Mr. Humfrey Jordan, but Mr. Hodder-Williams is very concerned about the time problem in connection with this book.
He suggests that you might have a word with Mr. Jordan on the telephone-, but, as I mentioned on the telephone yesterday, he does want to impress upon you that we cannot wait for these pictures and wrapper. I am sure you will respond to the urgency of this job.
Yours sincerely,
 

Accompanying letter from the author

ANCHOR COMES BACK
Notes on Sketches.

1. I like the idea for the wrapper and a map end-paper very much indeed
2.  The Magaung River flowed out to the east not the west of the Thaung~lon peninsular see page 108 of text. So, I have made a rough sketch-map which embodies my picture of the place, which I hope may be of some help to Bip Pares.
3. The Burma Princess was a small modern motor-ship -
page 160. She had one funnel, one mast and the very prominent samson-posts'4 which seem an invariable feature of that modernity. The Orient Line Orion or Orcades reduced down to a small ship give the idea
4. The Thaung-lon Peninsular is Slant Evergreen Forest,
actually no teak grows in these forests. The trees for the most part grow to great heights, running up straight to eighty or a hundred feet before they branch, coaling out of the ground in enormous flanged boles. On the ground there is a tangle of bushes and undergrowth; between undergrowth and tree-tops creepers fantastically festooned. Indeed they are very fantastic forests. The country is very steep and rough, generally a series of narrow, precipitous valleys or gorges running at right angles from the central spine of hill. On account of the heat and the damp vegetation is wildly luxuriant. Orchids and ferns love the place; forest cover everything; yet undergrowth is so exuberant that a decently equipped party having to cut a new path would do very well if they progressed a mile in a day. She moat fantastic tropical Jungle but with giant trees dominating.
I am sorry that I have no photographs to help and I am sure that Bip Pares will be lucky if he gets any real "meat" out of this note.
 

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