MI6 previews the forthcoming exhibition Bond Bound: Ian Fleming & The Art of Cover Design, opening later this year for the centenary celebrations...

Bond Bound Exhibition Preview
8th January 2008

The centenary of the birth of Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond, is to be marked by a major exhibition of cover artwork from the books about the suave secret agent 007 at the Fleming Collection at 13 Berkeley Street, London W1. Bond Bound: Ian Fleming & The Art of Cover Design, which will be on show from 22 April to 28 June 2008, will include unique and previously unseen archive material.

Fleming, who was born on 28 May 1908, was the grandson of Dundee-born Robert Fleming (1845-1933), the founder of the investment bank that bore his name for more than a century. The bank acquired the world’s finest corporate collection of Scottish art now housed at The Fleming Collection, which is supported by the Fleming-Wyfold Art Foundation, an independent charity.

Bond Bound: Ian Fleming & The Art of Cover Design will cover all Ian Fleming’s books including the children’s story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Thrilling Cities -his collected travel journalism. However, much of the exhibition will inevitably chart the role of artists and designers in creating and defining the Bond look. The covers of Bond novels stretching back more than half a century provide a fascinating snapshot of society’s changes attitudes to sex, feminism and politics.

Fleming’s first Bond novel Casino Royale was published in 1953, and the author worked on the cover design himself, describing it as one of “exquisite symmetry and absolute chastity”.

Above: Author Ian Fleming at his desk

Over the ensuing decades the front cover was changed on several occasions reflecting a more open attitude towards sex and later a move towards greater simplicity on book jackets.

The James Bond brand was established within the first few pages of Casino Royale. 007 had cold, ruthless eyes, drove a 1933 4.5 litre Bentley and drank Martinis “shaken not stirred”. He smoked Morland cigarettes (a special Balkan and Turkish blend), carried a .25 Beretta automatic handgun and soon met the enchanting Vesper Lynd, who wore a black velvet dress “simple and yet with the touch of splendour that only half a a dozen couturiers in the world could achieve.” It was a compelling mixture of sex, style and violence that soon turned Bond into the most famous fictional secret agent in history.

That in turn provided artists and designers with wonderful opportunities to use their talents to the full. The exhibition will come right up to date with the literary legacy of Ian Fleming, including artwork from Charlie Higson’s bestselling Young Bond series, The Moneypenny Diaries by Samantha Weinberg, which add a previously unknown female perspective to the Bond story and the latest instalment in Bond’s adult life written as a tribute to Ian Fleming for the Centenary by Sebastian Faulks.

Bond Bound: Ian Fleming & The Art of Cover Design will be accompanied by a catalogue containing essays by a number of experts including Alan Powers, an art historian and author of two publications on the design of book jackets. The exhibition will go on tour after it closes in London.

The Fleming Collection
13 Berkeley Street
London W1
Tel: +44 (0)20 7409 5730
Fax: +44 (0)20 7409 573
Nearest tube: Green Park

Monday Closed to general public
Open by appointment for group visits and educational events 10am - 5.30pm (Admission Free)
Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5.30pm (Admission Free)
Sunday Closed

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