The English Sunrise by Brian Rice and Tony Evans

I've got dustysevens to thank for introducing me to The English Sunrise, a delightful book by Brian Rice and Tony Evans. Published in 1973 by Flash Books, as the name suggests it collects photos of sunrise motifs as they appear in all sorts of places - window decorations, garden gates, packaging and pub signs mostly from the south of England. Anything but a real sunrise.

The English Sunrise by Brian Rice and Tony Evans

Running to 76 pages, it's thicker than you might expect. I thought it might wear thin but no, it just becomes lovelier as it goes on and the sunrises pop up in ever more unexpected places. I did hope that this was part of a series and lo and behold, from an obituary of Anthony Mathews:

In 1970, Mathews formed a specialist publishing company with the magazine designer Peter Dunbar and the art dealer Barry Miller. The first book produced by Mathews Miller Dunbar was its most successful. The English Sunrise (1972) by Brian Rice and Tony Evans was a photographic exploration of the sunrise motif in middle England – in suburban stained glass, on garden railings, in trademarks and elsewhere. Mathews issued several more in the same format, all containing illustrations reproduced in a uniform postcard size – including Afghan Trucks by Jean-Charles Blanc (1976; exuberant personalised livery), Façade by Peter and Tony Mackertich (1976; art deco architecture), Lost Glory by Ian Logan (1977; US railroad logos) and Classy Chassy by Ian Logan and Henry Nield (1977; pin-ups on American war planes).

He also went on to publish Ed Ruscha's Nine Swimming Pools and a Small Fire, Twenty-six Gasoline Stations and Every Building on Sunset Boulevard. It made me think again of Peter Ashley and other niche titles like The Doorbells of Florence. Is this long tail stuff over? I can't tell. It feels like the way forward to me but I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse.

There are copies on Amazon for mere pennies if you fancy snapping one up.

This is a real classic, isn't it? And you're spot on in relating this to Peter Ashley - he is very much in the tradition of Tony Evans. Now I must go off to ABE and look for Facade.

Hello Philip,

Do you know any more about him? Tony Evans, that is. I couldn't find out much.

Do let me know what Facade's like if you find a copy. I was going to go for the whole set but need to stop spending money, even if it is on lovely book.

I don't know much about him except that he worked with Richard Mabey quite a bit - Peter will know more I think.

There are copies of Facade around, but it looks as if you have to pay quite a bit to get one in decent condition, or with proper condition information. So I too will hold off until the wallet is a bit fuller.

Recommended reading

More from I like's Amazon astore