By guest author David Roach
A few examples of good wholesome apple pie covers from the '30s and '40s for you. The artist is Horace C. Gaffron and in my opinion he’s just incredible – not too far behind Rockwell in sheer drawing ability.
So why am I showing them to you? Because it turns out he’s a Brit! I’m pretty sure he was the first British artist to move to the US as a professional illustrator ( Robert Fawcett was a Brit too of course, but I don’t think he ever actually worked in the UK ).
More than that he was a veteran of the Somme who lost his leg there but actually lived to 102.
He seems to have returned to Britain in the '50s where he drew for various children's annuals and in the '60s he worked for Look And Learn painting religious themes.
What I’d love to know is what else he did in America and why I’d never heard of his U.S. work before. Some websites list him as American but he’s definitely not – his nickname was Jock for heavens sake!
I wonder if anyone else has heard of him – he seems to be something of a lost Illustration giant – I mean just look at that Christmas cover!
One other thing worth mentioning is the very unusual cover layout Gaffron often used, where we have a big image and underneath it a smaller, wider angle that either comments, expands or undermines the main image. Sort of like a two panel comic strip and surely unique in cover design.
I’m really thrilled and very intrigued to hear what, if anything, this post brings out of the woodwork. I’d love it if people could send in any new scans as well if they know of other things by Gaffron. I’m genuinely curious to see what comes up.
You never know what TI's readers will come up with!
* Thanks David! Readers can leave comments or contact me (Leif) via email at leifpeng[at]gmail[dot]com and I will forward your messages to David.
* My Horace C. Gaffron Flickr set