Yes, Jack Vance is one of my favourite authors, and Mick van Houten‘s evocative and romantic illustrations added enormously to the editions I owned. To my mind Mick is one of the finest cover artists there is, his covers always add to the stories, bringing mood, texture and visual detail specific to the work. I used to dream that one day, when my own books were published, I might have a Mick van Houten cover for one of them.
Painting in the pre-digital era, using acrylic and ink on watercolour board, Mick produced beautiful fine-art covers for many writers, including Michael Moorcock, Ursula Le Guin, and Ian Watson. I particularly like his use of light and mood, which often evoke a twilight calm. I think he deserves far more recognition than he receives.
I’m not sure if that dream of mine is now likely to happen, but to console me I have just bought some prints of some of Mick’s work. The quality is astonishingly good, detail and colour are wonderful, and I am absolutely delighted with them.
Of course I had to get some Vance covers. The one shown here is for Night Lamp. I also bought the Lyonesse trilogy covers as well.
Now I need to get them framed! And get some more walls.
(Mick’s web site displays several pictures per page so the links for the pictures here go to the page not the picture. Always Coming Home is page 1, row 2, right; Road to Corlay is Page 1, row 2, left; Night Lamp is page 3, row 2, middle.)