|George Worsley Adamson|
Illustrator and Humorist
The Iron Man
According to his diary Adamson began work on his five drawings for The Iron Man in early July 1967, sending the finished artwork and mock-up for the jacket to David Bland at Faber and Faber on 17 July 1967. The artwork for the jacket was finished on 5 September 1967 and sent to Berthold Wolpe at Fabers the following day. That very day he had a cartoon about the forthcoming Conservative Party Conference in Brighton published in the Daily Telegraph (no. 34949, p. 14) and his atmospheric painting of love-in-a-mist graced that week’s cover of Punch (vol. 253, no. 6626).
The book was published in hardback with Adamsons dust-wrapper on 26 February 1968 and the paperback edition with Adamsons jacket design modified slightly on 11 October 1971.1 Foreign editions of The Iron Man with Adamsons drawings were later published: Sandra Giorginis translation into Italian was brought out by Rizzoli in 1977; and in 1980 the Tokyo publisher Shinozaki Shorin issued the book as an English language textbook with Japanese annotations by Yuuichi Hashimoto.
Ted Hughes’s tale was to be illustrated by other artists. New Faber editions came out: in 1985 with illustrations by Andrew Davidson and in 2005 with drawings by Tom Gauld. Then Walker Books in collaboration with Fabers brought out a new edition in 2010 illustrated by Laura Carlin.
The first American edition, with the title The Iron Giant, was published by Harper & Row on 23 October 1968 and illustrated by Robert Nadler (1934–1997) and from the same house with drawings by Dirk Zimmer (1943–2008) in 1988; in 1999 an edition with the same title came out with Alfred A. Knopf featuring the illustrations of Andrew Davidson.
Nevertheless, as Dr Matthew Eve, Guest Curator of the British Library exhibition Picture This: Childrens Illustrated Classics, writes: 'For many, Adamson’s drawings for The Iron Man (1968) are still the definitive illustrations.