Monday, 15 February 2010

Collins White Circle Artists Part XV - Margaret Paull (4)

Parts I, II and III presented the first 20 of the 67 signed covers that Margaret Paull did for the White Circle imprint published by Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Canada Ltd. Here are four more from 1944 plus one of her dust jackets for a Collins's hard cover. Paull was an employee of Collins and as such was in a very uncommon position. Most cover artists of the day were free lance commercial artists whose work might be seen largely with one publisher but also with others.

Paull's dust jacket is for one of Hugh MacLennan's lesser known works, The Precipice, published by Collins Canada in 1948. The cover is described in a Quill & Quire (November 1948, p. 17) story on Canadian dust jacket design as presenting "the contrasts between the warm if simple and humdrum life of the small Canadian town, and the bleak, skyscraper existence of the great American city." Never reprinted as a White Circle paperback, The Precipice can't have been as successful as Two Solitudes and Barometer Rising. The art is unattributed in the book.

White Circle 98

White Circle 112

White Circle 113

White Circle 114


  1. I think you're spot on in writing that "The Precipice can't have been as successful as Two Solitudes and Barometer Rising." In Hugh MacLennan: A Writer's Life biographer Elspeth Cameron writes that the novel's first period sales figure was 11,000, where as that for Two Solitudes had been 42,000.

    An aside: I've found the dust jacket for The Precipice to be particularly fragile.

  2. Thanks for the numbers to support my guess about the book. Interesting to note that nonetheless it won the Governor General's award. And at that level of sales was likely a best seller relative to most Canadian novels of the era.

    My copy's DJ is in pretty good shape. Bought the book locally(Halifax)last year.