Arthur Wragg’s Argo album covers

Throughout much of Argo’s life, Arthur Wragg contributed illustrations for the label’s LP covers.

A committed socialist, Christian and pacifist (he was a cleft stick 2 silent_majorities_2010conscientious objector during World War II), Wragg is probably best known for his acerbic contemporary illustrations of biblical texts in his ‘Psalms for Modern Life’ (Selwyn & Blount 1933), ‘Jesus Wept’ (Selwyn & Blount 1937) and ‘The Lord’s Prayer in Black and White’ (Cape 1946).

To check out some of his work, click here.

Wragg (1903-76) seems to me to be ridiculously under-appreciated. Maybe because his art was for popular consumption and only ever saw the light of day in publications (books, magazines and adverts). That’s probably why there isn’t a catalogue in existence of his work and the only serious appreciation of his life as an illustrator, cartoonist. commercial artist and designer is Judy Brook’s 2001 Arthur Wragg – 20th Century Artist, Prophet and Jester.

So I thought I’d begin to gather together in one place the fantastic album covers he worked on for Argo right up to the time of his death – work that was a bit of a lifeline for Wragg in his later years.

There are loads of gaps to be filled, in particular his illustrations for the label’s complete recordings of the Shakespeare plays and Argo’s The Poet Speaks series, so if you’ve got any that aren’t here (or have got cleaner versions than the ones I’m using), take a photo and send me a copy please. (thanks to David Harding, who did just that)

For the fastidious, some of the Shakespeare covers I’ve used are from re-releases from the 1970s, but I’m pretty sure they are the same as the original illustrations in all cases.

12 - rodgers europa 1953
W. R. Rodgers – Europa and the Bull
Argo RG 12
   
1972 - wragg - under milk wood sw 501 1954
Dylan Thomas – Under Milk Wood
Argo RG 21-2

(Argo issued this album with two different covers under the RG series – one by Olga Lehmann and this one by Wragg. Don’t know if they were available simultaneously. Wragg’s version was still being used for re-releases in the 1970s under the PLP series.) 

   
1954 - wragg - ancient mariner rg41 1954
Coleridge – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Argo RG 41
   
1958 arthur wragg - robert speaight rg 119 1958
Robert Speaight reads poems by Gray, Goldsmith, Collins
Argo RG 119
   
1958 - wragg - shakespeare - othello zpr204-7 1958
Shakespeare – Othello
Argo RG 121-4
   
1958 - wragg - shakespeare - as you like it rg125-7 1958
Shakespeare – As You Like It
Argo RG 125-7
   
1958 - wragg - shakespeare - troilus & cressida rg128-31 1958
Shakespeare – Troilus & Cressida
Argo RG 128-31
   
1958 - wragg - shakespeare - julius caesar zpr 218-20 large 1958
Shakespeare – Julius Caesar
Argo RG 132-4
1958 - wragg - shakespeare - coriolanus rg135 1958
Shakespeare – Coriolanus
Argo RG 135-8
   
1958 - wragg - shakespeare - richard II rg139 1958
Shakespeare – Richard II
Argo RG 139-41
   
1958 - wragg - music for the feast of christmas rg148 1958
Music for the Feast of Christmas
Argo RG 148
   
1959 - wragg - victoria - rg 149 1959
Victoria – Responsories for Tenebrae
Argo RG 149
   
1959 - wragg - shakespeare - merchant of venice zpr138-41 1959
Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice
Argo RG 160-63
   
1959 - wragg - shakespeare - measure for measure zpr232-5 1959
Shakespeare – Measure for Measure
Argo RG 164-7
   
1959 - wragg - shakespeare - king john zpr142-5 1959
Shakespeare – King John
Argo RG 168-71
   
1959 - wragg - shakespeare - two gentlemen of verona rg172 1959
Shakespeare – The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Argo RG 172-4
   
1959 - wragg - shakespeare - macbeth zpr 201-3 large 1959
Shakespeare – Macbeth
Argo RG 175-7
   
1959 - wragg - festival of lessons & carols king's rg 190 1959 
A Festival of Lessons & Carols
Argo RG 190
   
1960 - wragg - shakespeare - romeo & juliet rg200-3 1960
Shakespeare – Romeo & Juliet
Argo RG 200-3
   
1960 - wragg - shakespeare - winter's tale rg204-7 1960
Shakespeare – The Winter’s Tale
Argo RG 204-7
   
1960 - wragg - shakespeare - henry IV part I rg208 1960
Shakespeare – Henry IV, part I
Argo RG 208-11
   
1964 - wragg - shakespeare - henry IV part II zpr 153-6 1960
Shakespeare – Henry IV part II
Argo RG 212-5
   
1960 - wragg - shakespeare - tempest rg216-8 1960
Shakespeare – The Tempest
Argo RG 216-8
   
1960 - wragg - bach st john passion rga270-2 1960
Bach – St John Passion
Argo RG 270-2
   
1961 - wragg - shakespeare - midsummer night's dream rg 250-2 1961
Shakespeare – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Argo RG 250-2
   
1961 - wragg - shakespeare - hamlet zpr 192-6 1961
Shakespeare – Hamlet
Argo RG 256-60
   
1962 - wragg - shakespeare - henry v rg261-4 1962
Shakespeare – Henry V
Argo RG 261-4
   
1961 - wragg - shakespeare - king lear rg280 1961
Shakespeare – King Lear
Argo RG 280-3
   
1961 - wragg - shakespeare - twelfth night zpr 186-8 1961
Shakespeare – Twelfth Night
Argo RG 284-6
   
1962 - wragg - scenes from shakespeare - tragedies vol 1 da 1 1962
Scenes from Shakespeare – The Tragedies Vol 1
Argo DA 1
   
1962 - wragg - scenes from shakespeare - histories vol 1 da 3 1962
Scenes from Shakespeare – The Histories Vol 1
Argo DA 3
   
1962 - wragg - shakespeare - much ado about nothing rg300-2 1962
Shakespeare – Much Ado About Nothing
Argo RG 300-2
   
1962 - wragg - shakespeare - anthony & cleopatra rg307-10 1962
Shakespeare – Anthony & Cleopatra
Argo RG 307-10
   
1962 - wragg - shakespeare - comedy of errors zpr124-5 1962
Shakespeare – The Comedy of Errors
Argo RG 311-2
   
1962 - wragg - shakespeare - love's labour lost zpr129 1962
Shakespeare – Love’s Labour’s Lost
Argo RG 313-5
   
1962 - wragg - stainer crucifixion rg320 1962
Stainer – The Crucifixion
Argo RG 320
   
1963 - wragg - shakespeare - venus adonis rg336-7 1963
Shakespeare – Venus and Adonis
Argo RG 336-7
   
1963 -wragg - shakespeare - merry wives of windsor zpr 189-91 1963
Shakespeare – The Merry Wives of Windsor
Argo RG 351-3
   
1963 - wragg - shakespeare - all's well that ends well rg354 1963
Shakespeare – All’s Well That Ends Well
Argo RG 354-6
   
1963 - wragg - tippett - child of our time da 19-20 1963
Tippett – A Child of Our Time
Argo DA 19-20
   
1964 - wragg - shakespeare - henry VI part1 1964
Shakespeare – Henry VI, Part I
Argo RG 386-8

(re-released as ZPR 161-3)

   
1964 - wragg - shakespeare - henry VI part 2 large 1964
Shakespeare – Henry VI, Part II
Argo RG 389-92

(re-released as ZPR 164-7)

   
1964 - wragg - shakespeare - richard III zpr 172-5 large 1964
Shakespeare – Richard III
Argo RG 407-10
   
1964 - wragg - shakespeare - pericles - zpr 248-50 1964
Shakespeare – Pericles
Argo RG 411-13
   
1966 - wragg - carols of today zrg 5499 1966
The Elizabethan Singers – Carols of Today
Argo ZRG 5499
   
1966 - wragg - happy prince nf 5 1966
The Happy Prince (children’s opera)
Argo NF 5
   
1968 - wragg - clive sansom the witnesses DA 87 1968
Clive Sansom – The Witnesses
Argo DA 87
   
1968 - wragg - dylan thomas boy growing up rg546-7 1968
Emlyn Williams – Dylan Thomas, A Boy Growing Up 
Argo RG 546-7
   
1968 - wragg - meditation on christ's nativity rg 550 1968
A Meditation on Christ’s Nativity
Argo RG 550
   
1968 - handel - ode for st cecilia's day rg563 1968
Handel – Ode for St Cecilia’s Day
Argo RG 563
   
1968 - wragg - brahms motets rg 571 1968
Brahms – Motets and Chorale Preludes
Argo RG 571
   
1969 - wragg - late victorian poetry rg 588 1969
Late Victorian Poetry
Argo RG 588
   
1971 - wragg - shakespeare - as you like it zpr180-2  1971
Shakespeare – As You Like It
Argo ZPR 180-2

(this was a new recording of the play with a different cast from the 1958 version above)

   
1972 - wragg - shakespeare - richard II zpr 146-8 1972
Shakespeare – Richard II
Argo ZPR

(I’m not sure why a new cover was issued for this play, unless it’s a completely new recording – something I haven’t been able to establish. See 1958 cover for Richard II above)

   
1972 - wragg - kipling just so vol 1 sw512-3 1972
Rudyard Kipling – Just So Stories Vol 1
Argo SW 512-3
   
1976 - wragg - sense and nonsense sw532  1976
Peggy Ashcroft & Martin Best – Sense & Nonsense
Argo SW 532
   
1975 - wragg - secret garden zsw 543-6 1975
Glenda Jackson – The Secret Garden
Argo ZSW 543-6
   
1976 - wragg - happy prince & star child zsw547 1976
Oscar Wilde – The Happy Prince & The Star Child
Argo ZSW 547
   
1976 - wragg - selfish giant zsw 548 1976
Oscar Wilde – The Selfish Giant
Argo ZSW 548
   

 

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~ by folkcatalogue on March 3, 2011.

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