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The King Penguin Series: a Survey

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Author: Michael Lake
Date: Dec 2014
ISBN: 9780993110603
Type: PCS Publication
Pages: 160
Medium: Hardback
Series: King Penguin
Focus: Illustrators, Design, Books, History of Penguin, Penguin Personalities

PCS member Michael Lake has written a detailed survey of the original King Penguins, that rather idiosyncratic, hardback series designed to appeal to the public's ‘liking for illustrated keepsakes’.

The book provides a description of each of the 76 titles in the series, from the inception in 1939 to the final publication in 1959, with the books grouped by theme within each stage of the development of the series. The role of each of the principal protagonists – Elizabeth Senior, Nikolaus Pevsner, Richard Fishenden, Wolfgang Foges, Jan Tschichold, Hans Schmoller and, of course, Allen Lane – is fully discussed, with much archival material, showing how the series evolved over 20 years.

There are 106 illustrations, most in colour, throughout the text and a further gallery of front covers of all 76 titles at the end of the book. Various Appendices also give details of publication dates; illustrators and cover designers; themes; and ideas for King Penguins which were never published. There is also a full Bibliography.

Overall this beautiful book, appropriately bound in cloth boards, is a fitting tribute to what many view as the jewel in the Penguin pantheon.

Hardback, 15.3 x 21.6cms; 182, mostly colour, illustrations

Printed by Short Run Press
Print run 700