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A Tale of Two Covers: Richard Adams’ Watership Down

Sunday, March 19th, 2017 | Posted by John ONeill

Watership-Down-Poster by Raid71-small Watership-Down-Poster by Raid71 blue-small

Richard Adams’ Watership Down is perhaps my favorite fantasy novel. It’s been reprinted countless times since it was first published in 1972, on the way to selling over 50 million copies worldwide. I’ve collected multiple editions over the years, since I’m a sucker for a good cover.

But I’ve never seen anything like the poster series for the novel created by Raid71, which I fell in love with immediately. These aren’t covers for the novel, but full size wall posters suitable — very suitable, in my opinion — for framing. Click the images above for bigger versions.

I learned about the posters from John Freeman’s British comics blog Down the Tubes last year. Here’s what he said at the time.

Vice Press will release two stunning-looking a poster celebrating Richard Adams’ classic novel Watership Down produced under license from Nepenthe Productions – the work of celebrated illustrator Raid71 (aka Chris Thornley). This beautiful art print… is available in a “standard” edition at £40 and a haunting variant, priced at £60.

Watership Down, the classic award-winning adventure novel described as “an inspiring read – and not just for kids” by the Toronto Star’s Bruce Demara, written by Richard Adams, was first published by London-based Rex Collings Ltd in 1972. Set in southern England, the story features a small group of rabbits. Although they live in their natural environment, they are anthropomorphised, possessing their own culture, language, proverbs, poetry, and mythology. Evoking epic themes, the novel – later adapted into a film and TV series – follows the rabbits as they escape the destruction of their warren and seek a place to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way…

Raid71, aka Chris Thornley, is a British illustrator, comic cover artist and art director who has produced work for numerous galleries, film companies, picture houses and bands. Raid71’s work has appeared in exhibition across the globe in both solo and group shows.

The prints currently appear to be sold out, but there are still available in the aftermarket — including on eBay — at a range of prices.

Our previous articles in the Tale of Two Covers series include:

The Last Page by Anthony Huso
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
Ellen Kushner on Basilisk
Shadows and Tall Trees 7 edited by Michael Kelly
Alan Baxter’s Crow Shine and Sarah Remy’s The Bone Cave
Swords Against Darkness

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