There are some artists where love of their subject matter is accompanied by an equally passionate love of it's iconography.
Such an artist was the Northumberland born James McConnell. Born in 1903 he was a near contemporary of such US artists as Norman Saunders and Hugh Ward and like both those artists he seemed most at home with rugged and doughty heroes in equally rugged landscape, where a man had only his wits, his hoss and his sixguns to keep himself alive.
McConnell who spent much of his early manhood working for a block maker, studied part time at London's St Martin's School of Art until at the age of thirty he was finally able to realize his ambition of becoming a full time commercial artist. Like his US contemporaries Saunders and Ward he would have found a perfect home with the publishers of pulp magazines, but although such outlets were not really viable (or even existent) in 1930's Britain, the burgeoning paperback market was soon to provide regular employment.
Here then are some samples from those early years of McConnell's career before a certain Fleet Street editor by name of Leonard Matthews spied his work and inundated him with as much work as he could handle for a new project which was to eventually become the famed children's weekly Look and Learn.
R.I.P. Greg Theakston
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