Over the next few weeks TCW writers will be recommending books for summer reading.

The Illustrated Dust Jacket 1920-1970 by Martin Salisbury is a wonderful book that has a melancholy side-effect: it makes you realise how abysmal most book covers are now. Salisbury’s lavishly illustrated work contains fascinating biographical information about those long-lost heroes, the designers and artists whose job was to make something beautiful and sell it to the public. Many were pushed by the limitations of earlier technology to create striking work in just one or two colours. Others used the full palette to glorious effect.

Some were well-known and serious painters, others remain unknown. The book shows that the technological advances that have occurred in the past 50 years have by no means guaranteed artistic progress and excellence, and that the collapse of standards in art schools have robbed us all of many books which are beautiful on the outside, even if not within.

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