Dave Tayler (book cover artist)

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oooh, orphan

David Graham Tayler (21 February 1921 – 2 June 1985) was a British artist and commercial artist who specialised in book cover art in the 1950s and 60s. He was best known for his careful research and detailed accuracy in depiction.

1. Early life and war service

Tayler was born in Lancaster, the son of Edward Douglas Tayler, organist and professor of music.[1] The family moved to New Zealand in 1926 when E.D. Tayler took up the appointment of Supervisor & Director of Vocal Music in Schools.[2] In 1931 E.D. Tayler resigned this position. In 1932 he was at the University of California, Berkeley,[3] After E.D. Tayler’s untimely death at Berkeley in August 1932 Tayler returned to England with his mother.[4] In 1937 he enrolled at Wimbledon School of Art where by 1940 he completed a Teaching Diploma.[5] When war broke out in 1939 Tayler joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve and served in the Home Guard.In 1940 he was called up into the RAF.[6]

2. 1950s and 60s

In 1946 he enrolled in the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London and was awarded a diploma in 1948.[7] In 1955 while teaching at LeatherheadCountySecondary School, now Therfield School, Tayler illustrated his first book covers. Tayler illustrated covers for Corgi, Archer, Arrow, and Mayflower Press & Pan books, as well as hardback publishers such as Harrap, Rich & Cowan, and Herbert Jenkins.[8]

3. Methods

The subjects were varied and included Westerns, War (WWII and former wars), Biography, Crime, Travel, Natural History, Romance). Tayler signed his pictures with TAYLER in capitals, usually horizontally but occasionally vertically. Comment by Pat Owen, Pan cover artist: “There were some artists who could do anything, and they were obviously given anything to do. There were some who were better at some things than others but, beyond that it was really who was available, who could do something quickly. David Tayler, for example, I'm pretty sure I am right in saying he needed about a month, so what he was given had to be carefully sorted out and we wouldn't give him what we thought at the time was a trashy old book to do. He was given books worthy of his ability.”[9] The end of the 1960s, however, brought about a change in book cover illustration.Photographs were increasingly used and a style of painting which was less detailed and therefore more quickly completed became popular. Tayler was not the only artist to find he could no longer make a living through cover art. Tayler continued to paint while doing other work. He undertook commissions and exhibited his work locally.

4. Personal Life

In 1952 he married Delma Savell,[10] a former pupil of his at LeatherheadCountySecondary School.They lived in Dorking, Surrey, and had one child, John Mark.[11]

5. Final years

In 1979, aged 58, Tayler suffered a stroke. He died on 2 June 1985.His residence at that time was the Gower Peninsula near Llanrhidian [12]

==List of Books==

This is an incomplete list of book covers that Tayler illustrated:

Author’s name Title Publisher Reference Date
Alexander Michael The Reluctant Legionnaire Gt Pan G141 1958
Attenborough David Zoo Quest to Guyana Gt Pan G168 1958
Attenborough David Zoo Quest for a Dragon Gt Pan G509 1961
Baldwin Monica I Leap over the Wall Pan Giant X21 1960
Bancroft Tex The Prairie Dusters Herbert Jenkins - 1953
Bassett Ronald The Carthaginian Pan X486 1966
Braddon Russell The Naked Island Pan M 1968
Brand Max The Gun Tamerv Pan G434 1957
Brome Vincent The Way Back Pan G289 1959
Buchan John Salute to Adventurers Pan X247 1963
Christie Agatha The Secret Adversary Pan 357 1955
Christie Agatha The Murder on the Links Pan X241 1963
Clifford Francis Overdue Gt Pan G275 1959
Cook W. Victor Mr. Capricorn Harrap HB 1954
Cordell Alexander Rape of the Fair Country Pan Giant X73 1961
Coulehan Norbert Quadrantus Rex Gt Pan G540 1962
Eby Cecil The Siege of the Alcazar Mayflower 112102 1968
Ferber Edna Cimarron Pan Giant X57 1960
Fisher Vardis Pemmican Pan Giant X82 1961
Fleming Ian The Diamond Smugglers Pan G328 1965
Floren Lee These Rails Run West Archer Press - ---
Ford Robert Captured in Tibet Gt Pan G164 1958
Forester C S Lieutenant Hornblower Gt Pan GP72 1957
Forester C S The Gun Pan G703 1965
Forester C S Hornblower in the West Indies Gt Pan G382 1960
Forester C S Brown on Resolution Pan G629 1963
Forester C S Payment Deferred Pan G628 1963
Forester C S Death to the French Pan G639 1963
Frank Pat Alas Babylon Pan Giant X105 1961
Fuller J Overton Double Agent Gt Pan G462 1961
Goodman Derek Villainy Unlimited Pan G327 -
Harris A M The Tall Man Pan G343 -
Hendryx James B Sourdough Gold Pan G440 1958
Highsmith Patricia The Talented Mr. Ripley Gt Pan G397 1960
Hulme Kathryn The Wild Place Gt Pan G302 1959
Lance Chief Buffalo Child Long Lance Corgi T145 1956
Landon Christopher Stone Cold Dead in the Market Gt Pan G182 1958
Landon Christopher A Flag in the City Pan GP100 1958
Leasor James The Millionth Chance Gt Pan G399 1960
Leslie Doris The Perfect Wife Pan X173 1963
Lewis Norman A Dragon Apparent Pan X13 1957
Lockridge Ross Jr. Raintree Countyv Pan X17 1958
Macken Walter Seek the Fair Land Pan Giant X122 1962
Marsh & Anson Skeleton Coast Pan G447 1961
Maxwell Gavin God Protect me from my Friends Gt Pan X20 1958
Miller Merle A Secret Understanding Gt Pan G242 1959
Munsterhjelm Erik The Wind and the Caribou Corgi T136 1955
Pape Richard Fortune is my Enemy Gt Pan G310 1960
Pearce Richard The Restless Border Corgi 1239 1955
Raine Wm.McLeod Glory Hole Pan - -
Sabatini Raphael Captain Blood Pan Giant X99 1963
Seligman Adrian No Stars to Guide Gt Pan G163 1958
Short Luke Vengeance Valley Corgi 911 -
Shute Nevil Lonely Road Gt Pan G554 1962
Shute Nevil A Town Like Alice Pan Giant X96 1961
Strandberg Olle Jambo Gt Pan G140 1958
Wheatley Dennis Such Power is Dangerous Arrow 628 1964
White John Baker Sabotage is Suspected Gt Pan G201 1959
White John Baker The Big Lie Pan G121 1958
Williams Eric Complete & Free Pan G230 -
Wilson Sloan The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit Gt Pan G145 1960

See also

* Collecting PAN Books


  1. birth cert. GRO BXCF 970203
  2. Unpublished PhD thesis: S.P. Braatvedt, 'A History of Music Education In New Zealand State Primary and Intermediate Schools,1878-1989' University of Canterbury (2002) pp.413,438
  3. Register of University of California at Berkeley, Vol 2. p.7
  4. Probate & Letters Of Administration made in the Probate Registers of the High Court of Justice in England 1933 T-Z Page 16
  5. The magazine of The Pilgrims' School Winchester
  6. The magazine of The Pilgrims' School Winchester
  7. UCL Records Office
  8. http://www.leatherheadweb.org.uk/therfieldalumni
  9. Paperback, Pulp and Comic Collector Number 8 1991 Zeon Publishing
  10. marriage cert. GRO MXG 099585
  11. birth certificate. BXCG 684206
  12. death certificate QWBDXZ 108791