Monday, February 28, 2011
Sadly, it seems that none of his covers have survived the years and we could find no examples of original artwork to include in The Thriller Index. To redress the balance a little, as his work on Super Detective Library certainly deserves some recognition, here's a little background on Beauvais, illustrated with some of his covers.
The Beauvais family was raised in Lewisham and Streatham, their father working as an artist and lithographer from home. Arnold, born in Catford on 13 April 1886, began working in his father's studio at the age of 14 whilst studying art during the evenings at Bolt Court Art School, Fleet Street.
In 1903, Charles returned to France, taking his whole family with him. In Marseilles he opened a commercial art studio. Arnold, meanwhile, spent sixteen months studying in Paris before joining his father's studio.
Charles died in Marseilles in 1909, aged only 48 (some sources say 1911), and Arnold took over the management of the studio for the next few years. He returned to England in 1913, renting a studio in Chancery Lane, and produced artwork for a wide range of clients, including J. Lyons, R.K.O. Radio Pictures, Black & White Whisky, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Co., Youngers Scotch Ales and many others. His illustrations and cartoons appeared in adverts, on film posters, in magazines and on jigsaw puzzles.
His most famous advertising campaign was probably the 'Where's George?—Gone to Lyonch' campaign for Lyons' Teashops in the mid- to late-1930s. The catchphrase caught on and was often used wherever anyone was missing; it even inspired a film starring comedian Sydney Howard which, lacking a character called George, is better known nowadays as Hope of his Side (1935).
He also sang on the radio in its early days of broadcasting from Savoy Hill and made several recordings for Columbia.
The work he produced for film distribution companies included posters for many famous films, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Swiss Family Robinson, Ip in Arms and all the subsequent Danny Kaye films. He regularly painted posters for Walt Disney, including Snow White, Bambi, Treasure Island, Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Hans Anderson, Peter Pan and a host of Disney's nature films. The success of the films meant that this work was often used to illustrate the associated "book of the film" titles that were produced by Colllins.
His involvement with the film world began in the mid-1930s and lasted for two decades, during which time he also produced a highly successful series of caricatures of famous film stars for the magazine Film Weekly, using an air-brush technique that was little used at the time.
Beauvais was also teacher at the Bolt Court Art School, his old alma mater, in the 1930s. He was also a member of the London Sketch Club from 1929; he was elected President in 1936 and was subsequently a Life Member.
Beauvais was married in 1922 to Dorothy Agnes Baines at Hampstead, with whom he had three children: Yvonne Gladys (1923-1980), Daphne D. (1926- ) and Thomas C. V. (1932- ). Dorothy died in 1935 and Beauvais remarried in 1939 to Ella May K. Gosling at Staines, with whom he had Walter John (1942-1998), who was also a widely exhibited painter, and Clive R. (1945- ).
Arnold Beauvais died in Surrey on 22 April 1984, aged 97.
(* Super Detective Library © IPC Media.)