Saturday, December 05, 2009

Dan Escott

Dan Escott wrote and drew many features which played to his strength and interest in heraldic and medieval illustration. He was a regular contributor to the 'From Then Till Now' feature in Look and Learn as well as creating back cover series on flags of the world, national symbols of Britain and the Guilds of London amongst many others.

Escott was born in Surrey on 3 December 1928. He studied at Croydon School of Art where he first came in contact with the subject of heraldry. Discovering that he had a flair for heraldic illustration (he won the school's Arms and Armour drawing competition two years running), he joined the College of Arms as a trainee herald painter, designing heraldry for stained glass, wood carvings, ceramics, engravings, banners, flags and coins, and developing a strong, bold style which stood him well when he began producing illustrations for advertising. One of his best known works was a painting of the Battle of Crecy which was published in the Illustrated London News.

In 1967 he was invited to work at the Institute of Heraldry in Virginia for the US forces, designing many regimental and other insignia, including badges for the Washington DC Police Department. Returning to England in 1968, he continued to work as a book and magazine illustrator. After the dissolution of his first marriage to Barbara Mitchell, he married Wendy Manfield (née Thornborough) in 1983 and emigrated to Australia where he worked for the Australian Geographic.

Escott died of cancer in Sydney on 7 May 1987, aged 58.

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Apart from the cover, the scans are of original artwork from Look and Learn issue 281 (3 June 1967), 486 (8 May 1971) and 989 (21 February 1981). There are many more examples of Dan Escott's work to be found on the Look and Learn website picture gallery. Cheers to Norman Boyd for spotting the photo of Escott, which inspired the writing of this column.)

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