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Christopher Fiddes' illustrations for books published by J.L. Carr
Chris Fiddes was born in Northamptonshire in 1934 and lives there still. He met JLC at an exhibition of his paintings in the late 1960s. Carr was interested in a painting of a gamekeeper's gibbet - a tree strung with vermin that had been shot by a gamekeeper. It was already sold but Carr bought other paintings by Fiddes and they stayed in touch. Fiddes was then living in the village of Cogenhoe, about 25 km south of Kettering, where he was restoring an old cottage, now marked with a plaque. Fiddes was teaching art at Northampton Girls School.
In the 1970s and '80s Carr commissioned Chris Fiddes to design the covers of 18 small books and sometimes provide quite lavish internal illustrations with lettering, such as for The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. Carr sometimes re-used illustrations for another title. Fiddes provided the internal illustrations for the Quince Tree Press edition of A Month in the Country.
Chris Fiddes is still drawing and painting but the planned exhibition in Northampton of his latest work has been postponed, probably until 2021. Nineteen examples of Fiddes' oil paintings can be seen at the website of Art UK.
The titles that Chris Fiddes illustrated for Carr are listed below.
- Matthew Arnold, two different covers for first and second impressions
- William Barnes, cover of sixth? impression
- Hilaire Belloc, cover, same design as cover of 2nd impression of Matthew Arnold
- William Blake, cover of 4th/5th to 8th impression
- Robert Burns, cover of all three impressions
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, cover, 11 internal illustrations and lettering for
The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
- William Cowper, cover of all three impressions
- John Donne, cover of first two impressions
- Oliver Goldsmith, cover of both impressions and 13 internal illustrations
- Thomas Gray, cover of all three impressions and 15 internal illustrations
- Thomas Hardy, cover of all five impressions and 14 internal illustrations
- A.E. Housman, cover of only impressions and 10 internal illustrations
- John Keats, cover of two impressions, probably all four
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, cover of only impression
- Robert Louis Stevenson, cover of both impressions
- Alfred Tennyson, cover of 3rd to 6th impression
- William Wordsworth, cover of all five impressions, probably
- Dictionary of Extra-ordinary Cricketers, rear cover of 8th to 11th impression
- John Bunyan, cover of both impressions and 7 internal illustrations
- The Battle of Pollocks Crossing, cover of third impression
- A Month in the Country, 10 full pages illustrations within the text of the 5th edition
- What Hetty Did, both endpapers and the drawing on the title page
- Forefathers, all six illustrations and the lettering of a poem by Edmund Blunden
If I have missed any, please let me know.