Rex Whistler was one of the most talented of the Bright Young Things, an artist and designer who transformed the raw material of life into something magical and theatrical, informed as much by the 18th century as the 20th. Even war couldn’t dampen his decorative impulse and he rendered tanks, for instance, as fanciful rolling follies. Sadly the savageries of the age won out, and Whistler fell in battle in 1944. He was 39 years old. An exhibition (PDF here) starting in London today and a book due next month celebrate the enchanted world created by this singular artist. The selection below concentrates on Whistler’s own designs for books, including covers, illustrations, bindings and bookplates.
A medley of extemporanea
The James Press
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