Martin, Douglas 1939-

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Martin, Douglas 1939-

(Douglas Ivor Martin)

PERSONAL: Born August 22, 1939, in Peterborough, England; son of George William Henry (an engineer) and Dorothy (a primary school teacher; maiden name, Branson) Martin; married Susan Clare Fuller (an editor, died 1995), 1971; children: Daniel, Matthew. Education: Leicester College of Art, national diploma in design, 1959.

ADDRESSES: Home and office—Douglas Martin Associates, 69 Stoughton Rd., Oadby, Leicester LE2 4FQ, England. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Birmingham College of Art, Birmingham, England, lecturer in typographic design, 1960–62; Leicester College of Art, Leicester, England, lecturer in typographic design, 1962–76; City of Leicester Polytechnic, Leicester, senior visiting lecturer in graphics, 1977–78; Douglas Martin Associates, Leicester, designer and writer, 1979–. Book designer.

AWARDS, HONORS: Industrial art bursary, Royal Society of Arts, 1957.


The Telling Line: Essays on Fifteen Contemporary Book Illustrators, Julia MacRae Books (London, England), 1989, Delacorte (New York, NY), 1990.

An Outline of Book Design, Blueprint Publishing (London, England), 1989, published as Book Design: A Practical Introduction, Van Nostrand (New York, NY), 1990.

Nigel Lambourne: Draughtsman, Printmaker, Illustrator 1919–1988, Victoria Art Gallery (Bath, England), 1992.

Charles Keeping: An Illustrator's Life, Julia MacRae Books (London, England), 1993.

(Translator) Albert Kapr, Johann Gutenberg: The Man and His Invention, Scolar Press (Brookfield, VT), 1996.

The World of English Picture Books, Korinsha (Tokyo, Japan), 1998.

(Translator) Stephan Füssel, Gutenberg and the Impact of Printing, Ashgate Publishing (Burlington, VT), 2005.

Contributor to books, including Folio 50: A Bibliography of the Folio Society, 1947–1996, Folio Press, 1997, and to encyclopedias. Contributor to periodicals, including Bookseller, Matrix 22, Beatrix Potter Studies, and Illustration 63. Coeditor of special issue, Private Library, summer, 2006.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Aspects of Gutenberg: Essays.

SIDELIGHTS: Douglas Martin once told CA: "Having first taught, and only later practiced book design, I am still finding out about it. Writing is a form of atonement for teaching, however enthusiastically, from shallow experience. I have never aspired to book illustration, but I am fascinated by the under-appreciated contributions that illustrators bring to the printed page. The past and future of the book mean ever more as one grows older and sees the continuity, as well as the change."

He added: "The accelerating rate of change within publishing and printing technology has forced the abandonment of a major practical treatise on book design. The way in which An Outline of Book Design became hopelessly outdated in less than a decade provided a dreadful warning. So the focus has shifted to theoretical considerations over an extended time scale, but the work in preparation is still addressed to those whose lives are spent with books."

More recently Martin added: "For the past many years I have designed and worked with books on a freelance basis for a number of publishers. The flow of work in this field is bound to fluctuate, and so it is good to have the self-motivated writing of reviews, articles, and book projects on hand for quieter times.

"My first book was carefully planned—as a series of biographical essays on individual book illustrators—in such a way that taped interviews, bibliographical research, picture research, and the actual writing followed a pattern. There was always plenty to get on with whenever spare time presented itself—a variety of tasks to suit one's creative energy levels. The book felt on secure rails most of the time, as it steamed ahead from essay to essay.

"Johann Gutenberg has been my lifelong hero, and the walls of my studio and beyond are lined with the secondary literature of early Mainz printing and the invention of printing. This working library has proved indispensable in translating two of the standard German studies of Gutenberg and his impact into English, as well as in advising the English composer and librettist (Gavin Bryars and Blake Morrison) in the course of the evolution of their opera titled 'G,' commissioned by the Staatstheater Mainz and premiered in 2002.

"Now I am gathering together my own thoughts on Gutenberg, and once again a group of essays seems the right form, for it would almost certainly be folly for me—or perhaps for anyone—to venture another continuous narrative or historical account in the present state of knowledge."



Times Literary Supplement, March 30, 1990, Brian Alderson, review of The Telling Line: Essays on Fifteen Contemporary Book Illustrators, p. 355.

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Martin, Douglas 1939-

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