Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (Four Corners Books)

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Anti-heroine Becky Sharp gets a refreshing new focus in British artist Donald Urquhart’s new edition of Vanity Fair, the sixth book in our Familiars series. William Makepeace Thackeray's classic novel follows the fortunes of strong-minded and strong-willed Becky Sharp through early 19th century British society.

Urquhart's drawings, inspired by the fashions and iconography of 1930s Hollywood, focus exclusively on Becky Sharp. “I wanted to sideline all the secondary characters,” says Urquhart. The novel is newly typeset in Perpetua and Felicity (partly chosen for their feminine names), typefaces designed by Eric Gill.

Four Corners Books is an independent publishing house, founded in 2007 by Elinor Jansz and Richard Embray. For their Familiars series, Four Corners commission artists to produce new illustrated editions of classic novels. By 'smuggling' contemporary art into the Classics sections of bookshops, Jansz and Emray hope that art can be brought to new audiences at affordable prices. Four Corners collaborate with artists working in different media and at different stages of their careers. Sometimes an artist's approach to their commissioned text is respectful, even celebratory, and sometimes it is subversive. In each case, designer John Morgan works closely with the artist to ensure that their approach to the text is reflected in the format and layout of the book.

Illustrated by Donald Urquhart

Publisher: Four Corner Books (2010)
Hardback: 848 pages
Dimensions: 23 × 17 cm

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