Pandarve: The Worlds Of Don Lawrence (book review).

November 1, 2019 | By | Reply More

When the Book Palace did their Illustrators Special on Don Lawrence (1928-2003) this year, I was curious to see what else was available. Like with ‘Pandarve: The Worlds Of Don Lawrence’, they are mostly expensive limited edition and from the Netherlands and hence in Dutch. This one is probably one of the cheapest.

The problem with limited editions of any book is they are rarely put out for review which becomes sort of counter-productive because people are more reluctant to buy anything these days without seeing what reviewers like us have to say about the book. Of course, with limited editions, there probably aren’t enough spare copies to circulate for reviews and none allocated for such promotion, even to selected reviewers.

The fact that my copy is 27 out of 250 after 13 years does make me wonder how many copies are languishing waiting to be sold. I’m not putting this blame solely at the Book Palace because there are several publishers exhibiting the same problem. There’s surely an argument for better promotion of limited editions, even if it’s only to sure-bet reviewers to ensure that someone has said something about them and ensured some sales.

So, after my bugbear, what have to got here. Don Lawrence is principally known for ‘The Trigon Empire’, although his work extends beyond that and a lot in the Netherlands where he is still revered. Much of the work here appears to be from the Netherlands than from the UK giving a rare chance to see them. This book is in English with only art titles in both languages.

The art is a little more raw when compared to ‘The Trigon Empire’ with ‘The Penny Ante Saloon’ with a lot of caricatures being closest to anything from the UK. There is also a predominance of Science Fiction. The change in colour palates might be due to the Netherlands printing presses although we rarely have artbooks this size over here.

Don Lawrence had a good eye for composition across the board and seeing his landscapes and action shots together show his use of motion. If there is a criticism, I wish there were more paintings shown but I tend to think this book is more of a sampler to lead you to look for what else is out there.

As I did actually buy this book to fulfil my curiosity, was it a good choice? For the art, yes, but I wish there had been more text than just an introduction in English by Martin Lodewijk to fill me in with a bit more detail about the books his work appeared in.

In the UK, we all too often forget our own comicbook artists who didn’t make it in the American market as well, although he achieved this with the Netherlands. Don Lawrence was one of our natural talents and he was certainly prolific over his career and in ‘Pandarve’ you will see a sampling.

Oh, I’ve updated the links rather than rely on a book that is 13 years old, more so as a couple websites are now used by others now or no longer there.

The Book Palace tells me they only have 15 copies left so if you want one, get a move on.

GF Willmetts

October 2019

(pub: Book Palace Books/Don Lawrence Collection, 2006. 50 page 250 copy limited edition illustrated large hardback. Price: £25.00 (UK). ISBN: 90-73508-87-3)

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Category: Books, Illustration

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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