Wednesday 30 May 2012

Kenneth Farnhill Dust Jackets for Agatha Christie Novels Third Girl, Endless Night and By the Pricking of My Thumbs (Collins, 1966/67/68) Join Beautiful British Book Covers

So then, as well as adding Kenneth Farnhill's splendid dust jacket for the 1964 Michael Joseph first edition of P. M. Hubbard's Picture of Millie to the Beautiful British Book Jacket Design of the 1950s and 1960s page, I've also now bunged in three further Farnhill wrappers, bringing the total number of covers up to sixty. All three new additions wrap Agatha Christie first editions from the mid- to late-1960s, and while in comparison both to Farnhill's earlier Hubbard wrapper and to many other wrappers in the Beautiful Book Jackets gallery, they're quite simple designs – bright, flat colours and bold typography combined with a decorative motif (or no motif at all in once instance) – they are, to my mind, and in their own way, iconic. Certainly when I think of Christie novels, it's jackets like these that spring to mind, rather than, say, Tom Adams's more celebrated paperback covers.

All three Christie covers, I should point out, are courtesy of the lovely Rachel; I don't own any Agatha Christies myself, but hey: what's hers – as in Rachel's, not Agatha's – is mine, although I'm not sure the reverse is necessarily true. You can see the covers in question below, along with back covers and cases/jacket flaps for reference, but I'm not quite done with Agatha Christie yet, nor P. M. Hubbard, nor indeed the subject of last week's posts, Desmond Cory. Because I'll shortly be adding yet more wrappers to Beautiful British Book Jacket Design, including a Christie jacket by a designer who's already made it into the gallery, plus some children's novels, and more besides...

Third Girl by Agatha Christie (Collins, 1966), Kenneth Farnhill jacket design

Endless Night by Agatha Christie (Collins, 1967), Kenneth Farnhill jacket design

By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie (Collins, 1968), Kenneth Farnhill jacket design


  1. I am the grandaughter of the (late) Kenneth Farnhill and wanted to thank you for your kind words on his work.

    My Grandfather was a very dedicated and talented book-jacket designer and had the fortune to work with some very talented authors.

    He would have loved to have seen his work bringing was still being discussed and appreciated 50 years after its creation.


    1. Kate -- do you have any photos of your grandfather Kenneth Farnhill? My ReproJackets site has a section for his jackets and I would love to head it with an image of him

    2. Dear Kate,
      Please would you let me know whether you would give permission for your late grandfather's book jacket design for 'The Third Girl' to be used as a set dressing prop in 'The Crown' drama series, produced by Left Bank Pictures for Netflix. Harper Collins has agreed but we wouldn't go ahead without agreement from a Farnhill family representative. I hope to hear from you. Please use my work email address: Mob: 07968 564555
      Many thanks,
      Joanna Garrard
      (Clearance Coordinator - The Crown Series 3)

  2. Kate, it's always lovely to hear from relatives of the authors and designers I write about, so thank you for your comment. I hope this post and the Beautiful British Book Jackets page give some small indication of the high esteem in which I hold your grandfather's work.