Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tom Hall, Cover Artist Extraordinaire (1932-2010)

You may not know the name but you will recognize his art. Tom Hall is an icon when it comes to romance novel cover art. His art has graced covers long treasured by readers of historical romance.  

Hall became famous during the 1970s with 200 book covers to his credit, including such books as The Thorn Birds, Shanna and Ashes in the Wind, which sold multiple millions. New York art directors called him the “leading paperback artist in the country” and “a giant in the industry.” So he was and so he remains.

In 1981, Bantam Books art director Don Munson told the Associated Press that Hall "is a remarkably fine artist. His attention to realistic detail reminds me of the Hudson River Valley painters and his evocative style recalls the French impressionists."

Now that resonated with me because my very favorite painters come from the Hudson River School of painting, a 19th century American art movement whose landscape painters were influenced by romanticism. (My very favorite of those is Albert Bierstadt, painter of the American West.) You can see the style in Tom Hall’s work.

While producing paperback art, Hall did illustrations for Reader's Digest and National Geographic publications and for several Discovery Channel documentaries.

In his latter years, he focused more on painting for pleasure. His subjects included Chester County landscapes and American Indian and historical subjects. He also continued to paint his "lovely ladies." 

Hall's paintings are included in the collections of the National Museum of American Illustration, the Coast Guard, the National Geographic Society, the Delaware Art Museum, and many private collectors. His work was exhibited in shows in Japan, New York City, Salt Lake City, and Tucson, Arizona as well as in local galleries.I love his covers and savor each paperback I have that displays his wonderful art. The emotion leaps off the page, the details providing readers with hours of pleasure.

Here are some of his covers I love and you'll see some of them on my best lists and in my Top 20:


  1. I've still got some of these in my bookcase

    1. Lucky you, Julie! Those I have are in my keeper bookcase.

  2. Do you know who's the cover male model for Lady Vixen and A Rose in Winter? I've always been intrigued with the way Tom Hall painted the man's features.

    1. Nurjean, I don't know the answer to your question, but if you find out, let me know, ok?