Many Barbara Cartland fans have commented on the beauty and charm of her cover illustrations, most of them painted by Francis Marshall from the 1950s to his death in 1980 at the age of 80.
My mother loved Francis’s covers as they brought so much life and glamour to her romances as well as grace and sophistication. It was always said that a Francis Marshall painting could be recognised at 25 yards because of its unique style.
Francis was a fashion artist of considerable renown and he claimed that of all the people he worked for he enjoyed my mother the most. He read every book from cover to cover and made sure that the heroine’s dresses were of the correct fashion of the period of the book as well as the hero’s, as fashion changes so frequently.
My mother always insisted on blonde heroines and dark heroes, as it made them look more mysterious, but, of course, there were a number of exceptions such as the hero in “The Dream and the Glory” who is fair.
Francis and my mother worked so closely together over so many years that it was a great shock to her when he died unexpectedly and indeed she was annoyed with him for leaving her as she had then to find another artist for her books and he of she would never be as good of as dedicated as Francis!
We have a huge and unique collection of cover illustrations by various artists at my mother’s home, Camfield Place, and fortunately there is just enough wall space for all of them!
But the best, the most captivating, the most romantic and the most inspiring are by the greatest fashion artist of the twentieth century, Francis Marshall himself.
11 Oct 2023