This week we welcome a fine gentleman in from the cold to discuss his love of Fleming and appreciation of Richard Chopping’s iconic dust jackets.
What is your favourite Chopping cover and why?
Without a doubt, Thunderball. It incapsulates the world of Fleming’s Bond so perfectly. I remember the first time I saw it in a rare books store and how it literally leaped off the shelf at me.
Every one of Chopping’s covers are unique, but for me it’s that haunting image of the skeletal hand on the green baize with a knife stabbing through the fingers into the queen of diamonds. It just sets itself apart from the others and is such a classic illustration that manages to depict danger and high stakes so vividly. As soon as I saw it I just had to own a copy. A first edition proudly sits on display on my bookshelf – it’s always a conversational piece when we entertain friends at home.
Do you own any first editions/first impressions?
Yes, the aforementioned Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy and The Living Daylights, as well as many other literary Bond related books including Jon Gilbert’s brilliantly researched Ian Fleming Bibliography.
What is on your literary 007 wish list?
Completing my first editions of Fleming’s Bond novels. That may take some time however…I am also very much hoping for a standalone release of Talk of the Devil from Queen Anne Press…
When did you read your first Bond novel and which is your favourite?
I read Casino Royale in my twenties and it still remains my favourite of the novels to this day. It’s obviously where it all began, but it’s such a thrilling read which still holds up well and I think it’s probably the best of the books. It’s the first one I always recommend to people who have’t read the novels, especially as I’m a stickler for reading in chronological order…
Do you have any favourite Bond dust jackets in paperback or continuation authors?
Yes, Thunderball again, this time for Raymond Hawkey’s striking design of two bullet holes through the front cover. A good example of iconic artwork with such simple execution.
A Gentleman’s Jotter is a London history, culture and mens lifestyle blog run by Nick, a film publicist with a love of the capital, book collecting, photography and of course the world of Mr James Bond. Visit his website: A Gentleman’s Jotter.