Brideshead Products On Offer

An internet-based marketing company called TeePublic.com has on offer several personal articles of clothing and household goods decorated with the cover art from the dust jacket of the Little, Brown/Book of the Month Club 1945 first edition of Brideshead Revisited. The products are the work of an independent designer. In the case of the Brideshead product line, the designer is identified as “buythebook86”.  As explained on the website:

TeePublic is the world’s largest marketplace for independent creators to sell their work on the highest-quality merchandise.Every TeePublic purchase supports independent artists, podcasts, streamers, and more!

The principal article is a teeshirt in various colors and sizes carrying the dust jacket design on the front. Other products such as sweat shirts, coffee mugs, phone and computer cases, tote bags, etc. are also available with the same imprint but in more limited color (and in some cases size) ranges. Other products by the same designer use dust jacket designs similar to that for Brideshead; these include Tropic of Cancer, The Maltese Falcon, Gone with the Wind and Mrs Dalloway. Oddly, the design for The Great Gatsby product line uses the title page rather than the iconic Scribner’s dust jacket. See link.

The original Little, Brown cover art was the work of Lester M Peterson, whose name appears on the front flap of the dust jacket for the Little, Brown/BOMC edition published in September 1945. A limited edition of 600 copies was sold by Little, Brown at the same time, but with a different dust jacket, probably also designed by Peterson. See link. The same artist was also the creator of other dust jackets for several of Waugh’s books published by Little, Brown in the 1940s and 1950s. In addition to Brideshead, these include the reprints of Decline and Fall (1943), Vile Bodies and A Handful of Dust (both 1944), Black Mischief (1946) and Edmund Campion (1947) as well as first editions of When the Going was Good (1947) and Tactical Excercise (1954). This list is based on an examination of the dust jackets or, where those were not available, photos or book descriptions on the internet.  Peterson may have also been responsible for the Little, Brown dust jackets of Put Out More Flags (1942) and Officers and Gentlemen (1955) based on their similarity to his other productions, but there is no name attribution on those dust jackets and they differ slightly from the others examined.

How much, if at all, Waugh may have been involved in the design of these Little, Brown dust jackets is not clear. He would unlikely have had any say in the one used for Brideshead Revisited since he was stationed in Yugoslavia or Italy during most of the period in which that would have been in preparation. The textual material included on the front and back flaps of the Little, Brown book does not appear to have been written by Waugh, unlike that on the UK edition entitled “Warning” and signed by him. The jackets on these Little, Brown books conform to a unitary, consistent design format of lettering and pictorial material and seem intended to contribute to a brand image to help promote the Waugh product in the period of popularity his works enjoyed in America during the 1940s.

UPDATE (18 October 2019): TeePublic is now promoting additional Evelyn Waugh designs on its products. One of these is a colorized photo of Waugh based on a 1930 black and white original attributed to Howard Coster on the National Portrait Gallery website. This is by the designer EsotericaArt. Another consists of the name “Evelyn Waugh” displayed in large letters styled in what may be an original design by KubikoBakhar.

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