Frame-worthy Cover Art

May 6, 2014 Miscellany 20


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is Top Ten Book Covers I Would Frame as Pieces of Art.  

I have a feeling today’s Top Ten Tuesday posts are going to be heavy on YA covers, many of which are photographs these days. So I thought I’d go a different direction, and focus mainly (but not exclusively) on fantasy and fairy tale art. Here is cover art I totally would hang on my wall. (I have to be honest — in most cases, I’d rather have the cover art than the full cover itself.)  Some of these I love because they’re really wonderful art by amazing artists.  One or two are favorites because I love the book itself. And some are just pretty! As usual, they’re in no particular order.

N.C. Wyeth, cover illustration for the Ladies Home Journal, March 1922
OK, so the one above is cheating because it’s a magazine cover… but what a great image for a study, library, or child’s room!


Aunt Dimity’s Death (Nancy Atherton)
Cover art by Jerry Lofaro

 Aunt Dimity’s Death has been one of my comfort books for years, and the main character’s pink bunny, Reginald, is close to my heart. My daughter even knitted me my own Reginald, so I’d love to have this picture on the wall and sit my bunny nearby. (I just found out I can get a print or canvas copy from CafePress. Guess what I want for my birthday?)
My own Reginald, designed and knit by ‘Robin’
Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small quartet is my favorite of all her books, and this cover captures Kel perfectly in my eyes. This is one where I would frame the whole cover; I love how they set the series name and title in the banner.
Squire (Protector of the Small #3; Tamora Pierce)
Next up is the gorgeous wrap-around cover for one of the early paperback editions of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong. This was the edition I had as a young teen, and I loved the art so much that I tried to embroider the picture on the back cover so I could frame it. Over 30 years later, it’s still one of my favorite covers ever — and that unfinished embroidery piece is still in my sewing box downstairs.

Dragonsong (Anne McCaffrey)

I also love the art she did for the second book in the series, with its rich robes and tapestries and delicate, elongated fire lizards:

Dragonsinger (Anne McCaffrey)
Cover art by Elizabeth Malczinski Littman

 And a later cover for Dragonsong, by Rowena (Rowena Morrill). It doesn’t have the medieval illuminated manuscript feel of Malczinski’s work, but I love the colors and composition, and the way Menolly’s fire lizards are swooping protectively around her. (The colors in the art are truer than those in the cover image.)

Dragonsong (Anne McCaffrey)
Cover art by Rowena

 I would frame almost any piece by Michael Hague — well, maybe not, but he’s done a lot of work that I admire. This is one of my favorites:

The Unicorn and the Lake (Marianna Mayer)
Cover art by Michael Hague

And I love the art of P. J. Lynch, and would happily frame almost any of his illustrations. But this is my favorite cover so far:

Melisande (E. Nesbit)
Cover art by P. J. Lynch

The next two are by Frank Godwin (who just happens to be my step-great-grandfather, but I’d love his art even if he weren’t.) Like Wyeth, he was an artist and illustrator in the “Golden Age” of book illustration, in the early-to-mid-twentieth century.


The Blue Fairy Book (Andrew Lang)
Cover and cover art/frontispiece by Frank Godwin


The Book of Courage (Herman Hagedorn)
Cover and color illustration by Frank Godwin


Here’s another N. C. Wyeth cover I just love: the balance and tension, the art, and colors are all wonderful, and besides, it’s a knight and a dragon!

Legends of Charlemagne; cover art by N. C. Wyeth

What about you — what covers would you hang on your wall?

20 Responses to “Frame-worthy Cover Art”

  1. Herding Cats - Burning Soup

    So many gorgeous ones. Love the Blue Fairy Book. Hrm which would I pick. So not an easy question! I’d go naughty of course lol Probably a black and white of one of Jaci Burton’s covers. She always has incredible ones.

  2. Michelle Reed

    Love it! IT’s very old school fantasy and I am a HUGE fantasy fan!!! Actually a lot of my covers are from that genre of book. Come by and check out my Top Ten Covers @ Book Hangovers
    Great Lark! Thank you for sharing!! xoxo Michelle

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Thanks for stopping by, Michelle, and I’m glad you enjoyed them! I’ll pop by and check yours out. Now that I’ve got my index turned in and my concert is over, I’ve got a little time to breathe – and blog!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I would hang that unicorn cover in a flash, if I could get a copy. But the only ones I think I could get artwork for are the Aunt Dimity book with the bunny, and the two McCaffrey covers by Elizabeth Malczynski Littman (she sells giclee prints, but they are way out of my budget. Maybe if I win the lottery…)

      Anyway, thanks for coming by and I will check out your list!

  3. Greg

    Some very nice selections! Especially like Dragonsinger and Dragonsong (love the Rowena art- ocean spray and the dragons flying around). My choices were pretty fantasy based too…

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I like the Rowena art a lot, but I have a sentimental attachment to the Malczynski covers since they were my first exposure to that series (which was a duology when she did the covers; that’s why she didn’t do the Dragondrums cover.) Looking forward to seeing your picks!

  4. Stephanie Shepherd

    WOW! These are gorgeous! I didn’t participate because I don’t really take special notice of covers and now I’m sad I don’t.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I thought the same thing… and then I started thinking about all the fantasy books I love, and realized there are, in fact, covers I would put on the wall. Actually, I did frame a few color plates from a coverless and falling-apart copy of King Arthur illustrated by Frank Godwin; they’re in our living room. I’ll be doing a post on Godwin’s art later this summer.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I read and loved “Melisande” as a story in an anthology of princess stories, back in my elementary-school years. I was delighted when I found out P. J. Lynch had illustrated it, and rushed to Amazon to buy a copy. The art is a perfect match for the original story — and it’s so gorgeous!

  5. Jan @ Notes from a Readerholic

    I love your choices, Lark! So much great fantasy art. I would have any of those on my walls if I could! And I love that Robin knit your very own Reginald for you. She did a wonderful job. I hope you get your birthday wish.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Thanks, Jan! Yes, Robin did a great job on Reg. I smile every time I look at him. I sent Nancy Atherton (the author of the Aunt Dimity books) that picture, and she posted him on her website and FB page!

  6. Jennifer

    I love fantasy covers! The Melisande one is my favorite, I think. Reginald is very cute too!

  7. Wendy Darling

    I love this post, Lark! I haven’t framed any covers yet, but I have framed pages from A VISIT TO WILLIAM BLAKE’S INN–I love the artwork and the poem “The King of Cats Sends a Postcard to His Wife.” I’ve also framed some of Garth Williams’ yellowing illustrations from FARMER BOY for my kitchen. 🙂 Children’s book art makes me so very happy.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Oh, A Visit to William Blake’s Inn! That is a beautiful book – such wonderful art! And I LOVE Garth Williams’ illustrations for the whole Little House series… Did you know he also did the illustrations for Charlotte Zolotow’s Over and Over? That was one of my best-loved picture books when I was little.