Just when I think I've familiarized myself with most of the illustrators of the 50's, along comes this record jacket signed "Robert Watkins" - and another mystery begins.
Of course finding the work of yet another talented unknown is just a reminder that there were so many accomplished illustrators working in the field back then - and only a tiny portion of them ever made it to "name status".
This album cover might seem a little dull at first glance (I blame the muted colour scheme for that), but Watkins created a great composition filled with interesting character types - and an amusing scenario that isn't immediately obvious.
In fact I didn't even realize that everyone was waiting for the pretty flutist's reaction to the joker on the trombone's fake mouse until I got the record home!
What puzzles me most about Watkins' illustration is why, after doing such a fabulous job of creating very distinctive and individual characters with subtle and nuanced expressions, did he dash off a generic face on the tuba player. Did he feel that character wasn't worth the extra effort? Was he rushing to finish... or did he just not care for tuba players?
We'll probably never know - just as we'll probably never see any more work by Robert Watkins. My internet search didn't turn up any leads. Whoever he was, this album cover is all he left for us to ponder.
My Robert Watkins Flickr set.