A few more observations about William Taunton, and John Leighton, as well . . .

If you have been following the posts on William Taunton so far, you may be thinking, “Poor Tom, he thinks that everything was designed by William Taunton.”

But no, I don’t.

As a matter of fact, I have simply selected the two Goodall covers I know of that were most clearly designed by Taunton.  Note, though, that, as I have said more than once, this assertion is made based on the evidence I know of, and on reasonable assumptions.  So, it could be incorrect.  On the other hand, one might claim that such-and-such a well-known booklet was not written by Professor Hoffmann, even though the title page says, “By Professor Hoffmann.”  And, yes, maybe he didn’t, but it makes sense to ascribe the booklet to him in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

Now, if you look at the main early cover for The Royal Game of Bezique, it is pretty evident that it was not drawn by William Taunton.  That would be clear even if it were not signed with John Leighton’s “L.”  That cover has no examples of the famous (on this blog) Taunton “G,” or the “L,” or the “F,” or the “T,” the first of which is characterized by a spiral, and the other three of which are characterized by gigantic serifs.  Taunton didn’t always use those serifs, but he did so often enough.

Turning to John Leighton (Luke Limner), if you look at the “of” on the image below (of much of the wording on Leighton’s cover for the Bezique booklet), after “Royal Game,” you can see that it (the “of”) seems weak, doodle-like, unplanned, and somewhat out-of-keeping with much of the rest of the design.  (I have a feeling that this design — by one of the masters of book-cover design of the Victorian era — is not one of Leighton’s best.)

center bezique JL adj 1 26 2013

In future posts, I’ll probably pursue this topic further.

—Tom Sawyer

January 26, 2013

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