BEAR ALLEY BOOKS

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Monday, September 23, 2013

John Bull

I mentioned on Friday that a friend had donated some magazines last week—thanks Mike!—amongst them sample issues of Everybody's, Chums, The Captain, Men Only and a few others. I'm always happy to take magazines that have interesting articles and  nice illustrations and one of my favourites is John Bull.

John Bull serialised an astonishing range of fiction, some of the finest novels around. It's a real shame that so little of the content has been indexed—even the amazing Fictionmags Index only has a handful of issues indexed. It was also a great paper for illustrations and over the next couple of days I'm hoping to show off a few examples.

First off, a few covers. Ken Petts we've covered in the past. He became a regular with Look and Learn and World of Wonder until the 1970s but his earlier work for John Bull and the like was even better. The cover, from April 1954, was of Felmersham Church on the Great Ouse. Petts lived in nearby Bedford and was an admirer of the 13th century church and its charming setting.

The next image is by Gerald Fancett who revealed this to be a true story. "I'm fond of cats," he said, "but my new path isn't the film star footprint pavement of Hollywood's Chinese Theatre." So this could well be a self-portrait of Fancett.

This was Arthur Nash's first cover painting for John Bull. A tiny biographical sketch mentions that he was 31 at the time (1954), married and living with his wife and daughter in Eastbourne. "Once a keen hiker, he has decided, in the wettest summer for fifty years, to take up woodwork.

The final image for today is by Chittock, possibly Derek Chittock (1922-1986), who is better known as a portrait artist and wrote a books about Portrait Painting Techniques (1979).

(* John Bull © Advertising Archive Ltd.)

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