Saturday, 9 January 2010

Collins White Circle Artists Part XII - Franklin Carmichael (1)

Franklin Carmichael is a well known Canadian artist - one of the Group of Seven. In the 1940s, before his death in 1945, Carmichael designed three hard cover novels for Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. One of the books was Grace Campbell's Thorn-Apple Tree. Here is what the book editor for the Globe & Mail W. A. Deacon had to say (G&M, October 17, 1942, p. 22) about Carmichael's work -

"For the first time in Canadian Publishing history, an artist skilled in book designing was put in charge of the production of a book for general sale, and given a completely free hand. ... The result is not only a book physically beautiful but a harmony evident between all parts of the work. We have had many Canadian books that had marvellous pictures or choice bindings or agreeable type. Seldom have all details stood in precise relation to each other."

Carmichael produced 15 wood engravings for the novel. After 17 printings of the first edition, Collins published a new edition in June 1947 as White Circle Pocket 310. The cover artist is unknown but all of Carmichael's woodcuts are in this edition.

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