Northanger Abbey Cover Art

Laurel Ann at Austenprose asked about the illustration by Paul Hardy in my post on Henry Tilney.  This illustration was the frontispiece in an undated Blackie & Son [London] edition from the late 19th – early 20th century ~ there is an inscription dated February 1902 that reads –  “Florrie Steggles, for excellent work.”  [this is why I love inscriptions!]… what a gift for a young lady to receive!  I bought this book for its cover alone [alas! the pages are quite browned and there is only this one illustration], but the Art Nouveau unsigned decorative binding is just lovely ~ the front board is displayed here; the spine is similarly decorated, a welcome sight on the bookshelf!


9 thoughts on “Northanger Abbey Cover Art

  1. Thanks Blarney Girl!…it even looks better in person. [and I just checked your blog and found the facebook P&P page…I have been looking for that for 3 days and couldn’t find the link – so thank you!!]


  2. Wow Deb, you aim to please! Thanks for posting this gorgeous cover. I’m such a book snoop, I had to know more about this edition and pulled out my copy of David Gilson’s A Bibliography of Jane Austen. No exact entry is given, but a note on it is included with entry number E81: Northanger Abbey, London: Blackie & Son, Limited, 50 Old Bailey, E.C.; Glasgow and Dublin, 1895. After the description of this 1895 edition reads this side note (ECB lists an edtion of NA published by Blackie in 1903, described as ‘New editon’ illustrated by Paul Hardy, pp. 224; not seen (possibly a reissue of E81). page 269

    This sounds like your edition Deb. I do know something about the cover design artist Talwin Morris. (He is a very distant relation by some freaky coincidence.) Talwin Morris was the art director for Blackie & Sons publishers in Glasgow, Scotland from 1893 to 1911 and produced all of their cover art during this time. He is famous for his Arts & Crafts graphics and his influence on the Glasgow movement which included MacKintosh. He also designed a beautiful edition of P&P which I do not own, but have images of. Thanks so much for sharing this Deb. I have not seen an image of this cover yet, and it is so beautiful. Your edition is very collectible and valuable because it is a Morris design. Lucky girl!

    Cheers, LA


  3. Wow! Laurel Ann, you should be an antiquarian bookseller!! I had looked in Gilson when I got this book a number of years ago, but did no further research about the binding artist – so thank you for that information. I am only mildly familiar with Morris but did not know for sure if this was one of his- I just put it on the shelf and forgot about it!…do you by chance have a complete listing of his bindings? This is from the Blackie & Sons Series “Library of Famous Books for Boys and Girls”…the Blackie catalogue says “elegant cloth” but no other mention of the designer, and there is no artist signature as far as I can tell. There are a few things on the internet about him and a number of books, etc. [there is a great blog called Fabulous Covers that has a few of his books on there]. I also love Mackintosh…have been to his museum in Glasgow, and one of my favorite pieces of jewelry is his “Glasgow Rose.” Actually think he is far better than Frank Lloyd Wright, though sacrilegious to say so, I think!! Any more info you can give me on Morris would be appreciated – thanks for prompting me on this!


  4. Greeting from the United Kingdom – I have just come across your informative website whilst searching for Blackie books! I was interested to read the comments made about the copy of Northanger Abbey – I have collected Talwin Morris books for over 20 years and though I own a copy of this particular book I don’t think that it is a TM book – it is more likely to be by The Silver Studio – who also carried out cover designs for Blackie at the same time as Morris. Of course it is alway good to debate such matters!
    I am posting a copy of another Blackie copy of Northanger Abbey – with its cover designed by the marvellous Ethel Larcombe (I have over 100 books from this series!) – for me this book is the epitome of art nouveau!
    The other design for Northanger Abbey that I think Laurel Ann may be refering to – is from the marvellous peacock series that Talwin Morris designed for the Gresham publishing house (sister company to Blackie)
    It may also be of some interest to know that Talwin possibly designed over 400 covers for Blackie during his short time as head of design for the company! His books are beautiful and my house can bear testament to how addictive they are to collect!
    Thank you once again
    Kind regards

    Ps Just realised that I cannot paste photos into this site so will try and think of another method!


  5. Hello Jenny…thanks for commenting! I was so hoping others might respond and let me know who they think did this cover. Laurel Ann was only suggesting that this may be a Talwin Morris and comparing it to others of his, we are not so sure. His work is more like Mackintosh than this. So further documentation is necessary. I wonder if there is a list of all the books he designed, similar to the terrific bibliography for Margaret Armstrong? I cannot find many pictures online of his work, though there is one very nice website that I am sure you are familiar with. Your bookshelves must be a delight to behold! Thank you again for visiting, and if you discover anything further about this cover, let me know [do you have others in this series? I wonder if the bindings are similar…] I think I will double post this cover on my other blog and ask if anyone knows about it


  6. Pingback: Decorative Binding ~ designed by ? « Bygone Books Blog

  7. Pingback: Art Nouveau Edition of ‘Northanger Abbey’ by Jane Austen – Meredith Leland, YA Author

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