The post WW2 period saw both a democratisation of overseas (air) travel, and perhaps in hand with this, an internationalisation in design, cuisine and taste generally. Probably the most famous cookery writer of the day, Elizabeth David, was the leading standard bearer for the cookery and recipes of the continent and the Mediterranean. It is notable that the designer chosen to illustrate her books was the neo-romatic artist, John Minton. Probably his best known book design features above.

Minton was one of a group of metropolitan based artists, several of whom were homosexual, who emerged from a briefly tortured aesthetic in their art during the war (see later art blog) to the sunlit uplands of the Mediterranean. Minton is particularly interesting for me in his prolific contribution to book design in the late 1940s and 1950s which represented a democratisation of design for the wider public.

Minton will feature in a talk on post war book design to take place here in June 2020, to be given by Professor Martin Salisbury, who teaches at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge and has two recent publications on the subject. Also under consideration will be a peer of Minton, John Craxton, who was the subject of a major show the other year at Pallant House, Chichester.  Probably his best known book design, for a travel book by Patrick Leigh-Fermour, is shown below. Art by both Minton and Craxton will feature in 2020.

a time of gifts