Friday, 9 October 2009

Model Vision


I am reminded of illustrator Tony Meeuwissen, who this month has a restrospective at the Museum in The Park in Stroud, Gloucestershire, where he has made his home for many years. Searching in The Unmitigated Archive this morning this book fell into my hands. Without doubt it's one of my favourite book covers, a witty and beautifully executed illustration that turns images of estate or 'model' village buildings into an intact plastic kit of parts. Meeuwissen always has a penchant for the cottage ornee style, giving as it does decorative bargeboarding and characterful windows and chimney pots so suited to his meticulous style. This is the 1978 paperback cover, sadly not reprinted for the latest version, but I expect there will be copies hidden away in dusty bookshops and dusty internet sites. And I can also thoroughly recommend the contents. Gillian Darley has written what must be the definitive book on villages that instead of growing organically over centuries were artificially introduced by 'aesthetic, philanthropic or political reasons'. But keep looking at that cover. You'll find something new every time you look, and there's more about Model Behaviour on page 64 of More from Unmitigated England.

9 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

One of my all-time favourite books, this, so thumbed that my copy is now falling to bits. The Meeuwissen cover is just about intact, though. And I've just noticed the lovely wobbly fence coming out of the goat's backside: marvellous.

Paul Williams said...

I love this book; I thought it was my secret... dash it!

Diplomate said...

don't have acopy - but am very pleased to see some unmitigated publishing

accountant said...

Would you mind telling me who the publisher/year etc for the edition you have included in your blog. I have just done a quick search for a second hand copy and cannot identify it from the descriptions offered. Thanks in advance.

Ps I ggogled Villages of Vision and came up with Villages of Vision Inc. Alcoholism Information and treatment center in Bakersfield CA. Not quite the same I think.

Peter Ashley said...

Accountant: The Meeuwissen paperback edition is published by Granada / Paladin, 1978.

Peter Ashley said...

There are a few on abebooks.co.uk

Trevira said...

Long time reader, first time commenter here. Hello!

I reckon this illustration looks more like those diecut printed paper scraps you used to get all on one flimsy sheet, and often all topsy-turvy just like this. It has that 'flat' look.

This is something that possibly little girls (of a certain age) were more familiar with than little boys!

And that book is going on Santa's list . . .

Peter Ashley said...

Hello Trevira, and welcome to Unmitigated England. How right you are about the illustration looking like one of those scrapbook fillers. I've got quite a few of them, uncut. I think my favourite is one depicting different garden fruits. Perhaps I'll blog it soon.
Thanks for sending me scuttling back into the dust of the Archive!

Trevira said...

Oooh, marvellous! I'm glad I piped up now.