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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Carl Wilton

Carl Cyril Wilton was a prolific cover artist for Pan Books from 1951, his earliest covers including O. Henry’s The Four Million, the anonymously edited Tales of the Supernatural and Agatha Christie’s Cards on the Table, the first of many crime novels Wilton was to illustrate. His Pan work encompassed novels by Georges Simenon, Rex Stout, Anthony Gilbert, Eric Linklater, M. G. Eberhart, Leslie Charteris, Nigel Balchin, Philip Woodruff, Patrick Quentin and Ronald Knox, although he also illustrated works by C. S. Lewis, Noel Coward and Walter de la Mare amongst others.

Wilton was also responsible for many of Great Pan’s classic war covers, including Paul Brickhill’s The Dam Busters, Guy Gibson’s Enemy Coast Ahead and Russell Braddon’s The Naked Island.

His last Pan covers appeared in 1957, after which he seems to have disappeared entirely from the paperback cover market. He had contemporaneously worked as a dust-jacket artist (e.g. The Bend in the Road by Margaret Ferguson, London, Cassell, 1954), but, beyond a handful of dustjackets, little is known about his activities for the next twenty years until his death in Hampstead, London, in 1Q 1977, aged 71.

Almost no biographical information on Wilton is known. He was born on 17 February 1906 and he was already an active commercial artist in the 1930s, presumably in advertising or illustration. He was to be found living at 8A Wentworth Studios, SW3 in 1936-37 and was living in a flat at 20 Roland Gardens, Kensington, in 1939.

He was active as an artist in the 1930s (e.g. the dustjacket for Steel Saraband by Roger Dataller, London, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1938) and continued to work post-Pan. An original watercolour for the dustjacket of Donald Moore's Far Eastern Journal (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1960), has been offered for sale.

Carl C Wilton could be found living with Kathleen M. Wilton at 13 Sloane Court, Chelsea S.W.3. in 1952/53.

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