A while back I mentioned the Penguin Collectors' Society and suggested that if you're interested in Penguin Books then it's well worth joining. Their journal, The Penguin Collector, is published twice a year, June and December. This is great because it's just infrequently enough for me to forget it's coming so it's always a nice surprise when it drops through the door, the December edition especially because it arrives just before the Christmas holiday so I get plenty of time to scrutinise it.
The latest edition is packed full of interesting stuff: It kicks off with a Fletcher obituary (he designed both Penguin and Pelican covers); then there's an article about collecting ephemera by Jo Lunt (who, incidentally, is a great source of Penguin first editions); a damning review of Richard Doubleday's Jan Tschichold, Designer, by Phil Baines (welcome because that's one I might otherwise have bought); an excellent article on Penguin's Designer Classics by Steve Hare ; a short article on the Penguin Classics 60th Anniversary Campaign with contributions from Al MacCuish and Darren Bailes from Mother.
But the best bit for me, and the reason I'm rambling on about it here, is the article by Graham Moss on Elizabeth Friedlander who, I now know, designed the pattern for this cover as well as this one from months back. Freidlander was forced to leave Germany, then Italy and came to Britain in 1939, where she forged documents for British Intelligence (what a great job!). In '48 Tschichold introduced Penguin to Freidlander partly because she'd designed patterned papers for Curwen Press.
It seems that she was rarely credited; I've certainly never come across her name before - there's no mention of her in these books. I could and will guess at others she might have designed; she apparently did lots of Penguin Music scores too although I don't know if she did these (I'd guess she did the Mendelssohn).
Freidlander's covers are clearly quite different from those of Russ*; his are quirky and fun, her's are "traditional" but always beautiful.
* Incidentally, it was Russ who drew the illustration for the Penguin edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover, basing it on a sketch by Lawrence apparently.