The First Bond Continuation Novel: ‘Colonel Sun’

The legacy of the ‘Bond continuation novel’ began in 1968 with Kingsley Amis‘ ‘Colonel Sun’, published by Jonathan Cape on this day – March 28th. Kingsley had been a Bond fan “ever since he discovered the first paperback, ‘Casino Royale’, on a railway bookstall” (The Times Educational Supplement) and had already written the seminal The James Bond Dossier, and…

New Look!

We are thrilled to unveil new branding today with the help from a fellow agent in the field, Mr. Gary Cook from Honeypot Designs. Calling up the spirits of Richard Chopping and Ian Fleming, Gary has conjured up sufficient quantities of ‘beauty and death’. Don’t forget to check out all his wonderful designs on Facebook,…

Blessed by Fleming, Adorned by Chopping – ‘The Fourth of June’ by David Benedictus

The Fourth of June is the first novel by David Benedictus. This title was reviewed upon publication by Ian Fleming, who was an Old Etonian with David. In Fleming’s Sunday Times review he described it as ‘One of the most brilliantly written books since the war.‘ Fleming’s review of the book was complimentary of the writer but admittedly seemed out of…

Richard Chopping and Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon provides an interesting footnote into how Richard Chopping ended up creating the James Bond dust jackets for Ian Fleming; it was at one of Bacon’s art exhibitions that Ann Fleming, a close friend of Bacon, made the introduction. Chopping recalled: “He [Bacon] took her [Ann Fleming]  upstairs to see mine, which was very good of him,…

Richard Chopping

‘To a Dragon Fly’ by Richard Chopping

Here is a poem that Chopping contributed to the Grasshopper in 1931: O DRAGON-FLY, you lovely thing, I love to see you on the wing; Oh, when I hear you whirring by, I raise an aching, weary eye From off my tiring, awful task, To gaze upon your lovely mask, Your slender legs, your rainbow…

Richard Chopping’s ‘Butterflies of Britain’

Chopping’s love of nature was evident in Butterflies in Britain (1943) and his Butterflies book was a best seller, in print for many years. Best known for his jackets for Ian Fleming’s James Bond books he also illustrated a number of children’s books for Noel Carrington. Typically concise was his description of the Painted Lady, which:…

Flower Motifs in Literary James Bond

Ian Fleming had a lifelong fascination with flowers and this motif would permeate many of his books and corresponding artwork for years to come. His first and only poetry collection, privately printed in 1928, was titled The Black Daffodil (unfortunately no copies exist today). His good friend Ivar Bryce remarked on reading The Black Daffodil: “He read me…

The Fly by Richard Chopping

‘The Fly’ by Richard Chopping

After Ian Fleming‘s death in 1964, Richard Chopping published – on Angus Wilson’s recommendation – The Fly. This flits between an office’s variously embroiled staff, including widowed caretaker Mrs Macklin, “a woman of warthog sensibility” whose feckless elder children consider, at the outset, inflating an abandoned condom near a pixie-hatted sibling. “Tears squeeze out of…

Richard Chopping Motifs in Bond Book Covers

These Pan Books dust jackets, all borrow elements from the Richard Chopping style of design. The flat design, assorted paraphernalia, danger, death, love, flies, flora and fauna. Pan Books produced some entertaining covers, which quite literally look thrown together, rather like a car boot sale. They do capture the spirit of Bond’s world though and…

Homage to Richard Chopping – Mark Gatiss’ ‘Black Butterfly’

Between 2004 and 2008, the scriptwriter and League of Gentlemen actor Mark Gatiss produced his Lucifer Box trilogy. Mark Thomas’s art for Black Butterfly adroitly Chopping’s style, right down to the “wood” backdrop common to all his Bond covers. The dustjacket explicitly references the late Richard Chopping’s  his jacket for The Spy Who Loved Me (1962) courtesy of designer Ben Willsher. There’s also a…

Richard Chopping’s Other Book Jackets

The Saturday Book was an annual miscellany, published 1941-1975, reaching 34 volumes. A final compilation entitled The Best of the Saturday Book was published in 1981. The publisher throughout was Hutchinson. The Saturday Book provided literary and artistic commentary about life in Great Britain during the Second World War and ensuing decades. It covered a…

John Gardner Continuation Novels

In 1979 Glidrose Publications (now Ian Fleming Publications) approached John Gardner and asked him to revive Ian Fleming’s James Bond series of novels. Between 1981 and 1996, Gardner wrote fourteen James Bond novels, and the novelizations of two Bond films. Gardner stated that he wanted “to bring Mr Bond into the 1980s”,  although he retained the ages of the characters as they…

Richard Chopping’s Butterfly Illustrations

Richard Chopping would never have seen himself as a printmaker – later in life he came to see himself more as an author than an artist. But his career began at the age of 25 with these illustrations for British Butterflies, in the series of Puffin Picture Books. Chopping’s love of nature was evident in…

Correspondence between Fleming and Chopping

In total, there were 62 Letters including: 12 Typed Letters Signed by Fleming to Chopping; 9 Letters from Chopping, mostly copies, including one carbon and one fair copy to Fleming; and 41 letters to Chopping by others, including one of the directors of Fleming’s publisher Jonathan Cape Limited, Fleming’s secretary, and others involved in the production…