A special exhibition is set to celebrate the illustrator of the original James Bond book covers.
This summer, The Salisbury Museum in England celebrates the life and work of writer, illustrator and teacher Richard Chopping (1917 – 2008), best-known for illustrating the original book covers for James Bond.
Richard Chopping was a master of the trompe-l'œil technique, producing highly realistic three-dimensional images, and it was this distinctive style that led him to be commissioned by Ian Fleming to illustrate nine of the James Bond book covers from 1957 to 1966.
The exhibition features some of the original working drawings for the books, including the striking skull design for Goldfinger– one of Chopping’s personal favourites, and a commission that had been declined by his former friend and subsequent arch-rival, Lucien Freud.
The exhibition looks at Chopping’s entire output, positioning his work for Fleming firmly within the context of his 40-year career. Highlights from his early years include his illustrations for Butterflies in Britain (1943) and the collection of children’s short stories Mr Postlethwaite's Reindeer (1945). There are also delicate wild flower drawings, prepared for an ambitious 22 volume series on British wild flowers by Penguin, which was abandoned due to spiralling costs, and Chopping’s original design and preparatory studies for the book cover of his first novel The Fly (1965) which was a success despite being described by one reviewer as a ‘just about the most unpleasant book of the year’.
With many works which have never previously been displayed, this exhibition will be a genuine treasure-trove for the Chopping cognoscenti and for those discovering his work for the first time. They reveal a talented artist whose work should perhaps be as well-known as the fictional spy he helped make famous.
The exhibition runs from Monday, May 17, 2021 to Sunday, October 3, 2021. For more information visit https://salisburymuseum.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/richard-chopping-original-bond-artist