A retrospective in association with theLondon Review of Books
Peter Campbell was the resident designer and art critic for theLondon Review of Books. He worked for the magazine from its first appearance in 1979 and wrote more than 300 pieces, mainly about art but also about such things as escalators, weeds, bicycles, bridges and hearts. Each fortnight from 1996 onwards, Peter created a cover illustration for the LRB, coming up with a seemingly infinite array of unpredictable images: a yacht and a starfish, a tram, two knickerbocker glories, a game of dominoes, a man walking past a lighted window at night. The immediate freshness, colour, playfulness and surprise of these covers belied their technical skill, erudition and command of detail and artistic reference.Peter Campbell designed and edited BBC books by Kenneth Clark, Jacob Bronowski and David Attenborough. He worked often with Quentin Blake and wrote the introduction to Blake'sThe Life of Birds. He worked, too, on several books by his fellow LRB contributor Alan Bennett.He described the LRB job as perfect for him and his'absurd good fortune'. It allowed his talent and years of expertise to come together.Artworkis a collection of Peter's finest works over the years.
Peter Campbell was born in Wellington, in a taxi in the Hataitai tunnel. Peter attended Victoria University in Wellington and in 1960 married a fellow student, Win Doogue. He and Win then boarded the MS Willem Ruys for the month-long voyage to Britain. He lived for the rest of his life in London, but kept a New Zealand ease and way of seeing. Peter is survived by Win and their children, Jane and Ben.
'A beautiful new book of Peter Campbell's covers for theLRB', Ian Jack, Guardian
'Peter Campbell was a friend and colleague for a quarter of a century, so there was never much doubt that the book which meant most to me this year would beArtwork. . . There's a calm and melancholy and emotional intelligence in his work, which has all the more impact for being gathered together. I sometimes find collections of a single artist's work a little claustrophobic, but that isn't the case with Peter; that must be related to the spaciousness of his mind, his openness, which he could convey extraordinarily well in painting as well as in his writing. There's also the fact, which seems to be more highly valued by laymen than by the pros, that his pictures are very pleasing to look at.', John Lanchester, Guardian
'Sheer charm . . . a lovely tribute to Peter Campbell . . . The practices, judicious yet understated, feel of a piece.', Martin Herbert, Daily Telegraph