For our last day on Francis Marshall, we turn to British comics artist, author and comics historian, David Roach. David kindly sent me photocopies from some late-1960's issues of a British romance comic called "Valentine". As you can see from David's note below, Francis Marshall provided illustrations for the short text stories that were typically sandwiched between the comics sections of each issue.
David writes, "Marshall never actually drew strips , but Fleetway at that time certainly did have some use for straight illustrators."
" Not only did lots of their comics have fiction , as you can see here in Valentine, but they often carried illustrated features or painted covers."
David continues, "Marshall painted quite a few covers for the upmarket girls weekly "Princess" in 66-67 so he certainly had an impact."
Knowing how comics were typically looked down upon by the general public in North America at the time, I asked David if drawing for these British publications would have been 'a step down' for an illustrator of Marshall's stature. After all, this was an artist who had illustrated for Vogue, Reader's Digest, and countless other prestigious clients, as well as being the author/artist of a half dozen books including one on magazine illustration.
David replied, "If anything I'd say comics were probably held in even lower esteem here than in America but it might just have been that he needed something to tide him over between jobs. In Britain up until the late 70's most artists worked through agents such as Rogers, Temple, Kearley, Associated Artists, Artists Partners etc. so if the agent had a relationship with Fleetway/IPC they could just as easily obtain work for their clients from a glossy woman's magazine or a comic. Clearly the comic payed less but then maybe Marshall wouldn't need to put as much effort into this stuff."
Finally (and again, thanks to David) we have a few examples, scanned from the original art, of Marshall's fully painted work done during the latter part of his career.
About these pieces, David writes, "I spent much of yesterday up in London sorting through vast piles of art up at the Book Palace and dug out these Francis Marshall originals. One is from "Bible Stories" circa 1962, [below] the others are unknown - but rather wonderful."
This last piece is the latest example we have of Francis Marshall's work. Done in 1975, just five years before Marshall's death, it was for a "romantic thriller" paperback cover. Thanks to Geoff at The Book Palace for sharing these scans with us via David. And thanks to David Roach for providing today's art and information.
Incidentally, Geoff has this piece and several other Francis Marshall originals available for sale (including a great shark attack illustration that's quite unlike anything we've seen by the artist this week). For those interested in seeing these pieces, click here.
* My Francis Marshall Flickr set.