Monday, March 05, 2007

Across the Pond

"This is just from one box of mags which a chum of mine picked up at a car boot sale," wrote long-time TI list member, David Roach, in a note to me last week. "How this little batch survived we'll never know but I'm thrilled they have."

David generously took the time to scan a great huge bunch of illustrations from his recently acquired treasure trove. They represent for us a revelation - "Wow! There were a bunch of very talented illustrators doing romance genre art in England during the 50's!" - and a mystery - "Who the heck were these guys?"

Because, as little info as there is on North American illustrators of the mid-twentieth century, virtually nothing is known (by us anyway) about these British artists.

We're hoping that someone out there will recognize the names of artists like Johnson, Walter Wyles and Fancett shown here (respectively) today - and be able to tell us all more about them.

This week: The talented, forgotten British magazine illustrators of the 50's - with many thanks to David Roach!


  1. Anonymous11:32 AM

    These ARE spectacular! I hope you post more of these in the near future!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Joe - I'm glad you like them. Absolutely, we'll take a look at many more of these images all week and start building a nice little archive for people to enjoy and learn from!

  3. Never considered thumbing through old vintage British magazines until seeing these beaut's. Thanks Leif.

  4. Walter Wyles lived outside Canterbury UK for many years. Not sure whether he's still alive but my ex husband was great friends with his son Nick. I always adored his art. I remember beautiful trees!

  5. Anonymous12:11 PM

    I love Walter Wyles style and am lucky to have an original of his which is technically stunning and has adorned my lounge for a while

  6. Anonymous6:39 AM

    I went to school with Glyn, who was Wally Wyles son in 1970/1/2. I didn't know it at the time, but he got me interested in the art of illustration and probably the lifestyle of an illustrator as that is what I became myself.

    I remember the wonderful farmhouse they had in Stodmarsh, outside Canterbury. Wally painted in the barn first and then built a studio nearer to the house. I was there the weekend we all helped to hoist a massive oak beam into place as the lintel over the door.

    The house and barn were stacked with artbooks referenbooks and magazines. Lazy Sundays looking at these books were my introduction to art and illustration while Hendrix and Iron Butterfly blasted out on the record player.

    I remember Margaret as very Welsh, telling us stories about bards and dragons while rustling up eggs and bacon on the AGA in what is still the most homely kitchen I've ever been in. Those were the days.

    It's probably my imagination, but Wally seemed to paint with one eye open as the smoke from the ciggarette would be constantly streaming into the other!

  7. This comment reposted w/ editing on behalf of Bryn Havord:

    Bryn Havord said...
    My name is Bryn Havord and in the late 50s and early 60s I was assistant art director of Woman magazine. From 1963 to 1965 I was associate editor and art director of Woman's Mirror; both of which were published here in the UK. During that time I commissioned work from all the leading British Illustrators including Walter Wyles, Eric Ernshaw, Michael Johnson and Gerry FRancett. Unfortunately I lost touch with Michael Johnson after he went to live in France. Walter Wyles remains my oldest and closest friend. He is now 82 years-of-age, and he and his wife Magaret live in the country in a converted Oast House. He still paints regularly and accepts two or three portrait commissions a year. He has some originals available for sale from the 50s, 60 and 70s, mainly of book jackets and paperback covers, and I was thinking of suggesting that he should contact Illustration House and Graphic Collectables. Any suggestions? If I can help with any more information please contact me by e-mail:

    1. The first one is Michael Johnson's illustration for 'A Reed from the River' by Diane Kemp. (Signature bottom right.)
      Michael Johnson still lives in France. His official site is If need be, his contact info is there.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.