Patrick Leigh Fermor: journey’s end

The final part of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s triology documenting his walk across Europe in the 1930s was published in September. Its cover by Ed Kluz, shown left, fulfilled an interesting brief – to offer something new but to keep in mind the tradition of Fermor’s illustrated covers, designed since the 1950s by the late John Craxton

The final part of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s triology documenting his walk across Europe in the 1930s was published in September. Its cover by Ed Kluz, shown left, fulfilled an interesting brief – to offer something new but to keep in mind the tradition of Fermor’s illustrated covers, designed since the 1950s by the late John Craxton…

The Broken Road is the third volume of Fermor’s series that charts his journey on foot from The Netherlands to Turkey and succeeds A Time of Gifts (1977) and Between the Woods and the Water (1986).

The most recent instalment, which covers Fermor’s route from Romania onwards, existed as an unfinished manuscript on his death in 2011. It was then edited into book form by Artemis Cooper and finally published by John Murray.

Since the 1950s, the covers of Fermor’s books were illustrated by the artist John Craxton. As a painter, Craxton once shared a studio with Lucian Freud – thanks in part to his patron Peter Watson – and according to the Tate’s biography he was influenced by the work of Graham Sutherland and Samuel Palmer.

Craxton produced cover art and hand-lettering for the following of Fermor’s books: The Traveller’s Tree (1950); The Violins of Saint-Jacques (1953); Mani (1958); Roumeli (1966); and Three Letters from the Andes (1991).

“Craxton died in 2009 so when The Broken Road cover was briefed it was necessary to find an artist who would complement the previous look but add their own style and personality,” says John Murray’s art director Sara Marafini. “Someone who would echo Craxton without imitating him.

“I admired the work of Ed Kluz and thought his style was perfect as I wanted an artist who would illustrate and also hand-letter the cover as Craxton had done. The result is, I think, a beautiful cover that completely ties in with the series but also retains the individuality and originality of Ed’s work.”

For Kluz, the design posed a bit of a challenge. Writing on his blog, he said “Craxton’s bold and playful covers are synonymous with the work of Fermor … [and] I had to ensure that the new jacket sat comfortably within the series whilst expressing my own approach.”

For The Broken Road cover, Kluz referenced the colours that Craxton has employed in his artwork for Fermor’s books Roumeli and Mani. “Whereas both of these depict a daytime scene with a sun-like motif in the sky, I wanted my design to represent a nocturne,” he writes. “The inspiration for this came from a passage in which Fermor, accompanied by a stray black dog, discovers the ruin of a mosque at night under a bright moon.”

Cooper later praised the suitability of Kluz’s work as carrying on the English pastoral and Romantic traditions of Craxton. Fermor would no doubt have been proud to see the complete set.

End papers designed by Ed Kluz for The Broken Road

More of Kluz’s work can be seen at edkluz.co.uk. Patrick Leigh Fermor’s books are published by John Murray.

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