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Pares, Bip

Entry updated 13 September 2021. Tagged: Artist.

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Working name of UK illustrator Ethel Pares (1904-1977); the "Bip" came from her childhood attempt to pronounce the name of a family horse. Most of her circa 600 covers were done before World War Two, often for works of genre interest: much of this work continues to await discovery. Some of her best work appeared on the covers of sf novels, such as E Phillips Oppenheim's The Dumb Gods Speak (1937) and the same author's Mr Mirakel (1943), both Near Future tales involving Inventions; her work featured on quite a number of Oppenheim's non-sf novels, too. She did covers for an impressive array of other crime-fiction writers, including Ronald A Knox, S Fowler Wright and several for Michael Gilbert. Among further authors to receive a plurality of Pares covers was James Hilton; for Goodbye Mr Chips (1934) she did not only the cover but interior Illustrations. Far more central to the genre were her covers for Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker (1937), for Susan Ertz's Woman Alive (1935) – for which she also did interiors – and for Francis Gerard's Secret Sceptre (1937). The best of her cover Illustrations are strikingly beautiful; many have an Art Deco sensibility. Her skill in the use of colour was striking, whether muted or bold.

Pares studied at London's Slade School of Fine Art 1923-1924 and again for a few months in 1926. She married twice, in the first instance spending her honeymoon as part of the 1938 British expedition to Mount Everest. From this experience came the only book she wrote (and also illustrated): Himalayan Honeymoon (1940). She spent the latter part of her life in the London village of Hampstead. Her bibliographer, Bill Connelly, has been told by a family member that Pares died in 1973, but has not (yet) been able to confirm this. [JGr]

Ethel "Bip" Pares

born Clewer, Berkshire: 27 February 1904

died Hampstead, London: 1977

further reading

  • Bill Connelly. "Bibliography: Bip Pares" (Summer 2002 Studies in Illustration #21) [journal of the Imaginative Book Illustration Society: mag/]

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