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Quinn, Gerard A

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist.

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(1927-2015) Northern Irish illustrator, at times credited in error as Gerald Quinn. Sometimes described as one of the "grand old men" (with Brian Lewis) of British sf art in the 1950s, the self-trained Quinn entered the field by successfully submitting his work to editor John Carnell, who then hired him to do numerous covers and interior illustrations for the magazines he was editing, New Worlds and Science Fantasy. His early covers can seem amateurish, but he gradually improved his craft and discovered his forté, realistic astronomical paintings in the manner of Chesley Bonestell. One outstanding effort, for the cover of the July 1954 issue of New Worlds, depicted spacesuited astronauts exploring a moon of Saturn (see Outer Planets) with the enormous ringed planet dominating the sky. Quinn also did occasional book covers, including an intricate rendering of a Space Station under construction for Arthur C Clarke's Islands in the Sky (1952) and a spaceplane on a horizontal launching track for a 1953 edition of Clarke's Prelude to Space (1951). His paintings foregrounding human figures were usually less successful, although his cover for a 1956 edition of Robert A Heinlein's The Man Who Sold the Moon (coll 1950), a close-up of an elderly man's head in a space helmet with a cratered Moon in the background, perfectly captures the spirit of the collection's story "Requiem" (January 1940 Astounding).

Quinn continued working for Carnell until he lost control of his magazines in 1964; the artist then did some interiors and two covers for Vision of Tomorrow and, much later, two covers for the Semiprozine Extro, which was published in his place of birth, Belfast, Northern Ireland. His main post-Carnell career consisted of widely diverse illustrative work for various Belfast advertising firms, continuing until his retirement. [JG/PN/GW]

Gerard Alphonsus Quinn

born Belfast, Northern Ireland: 6 May 1927

died Belfast, Northern Ireland: 30 November 2015


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