These images, from the book By Spaceship to the Moon, held my fascination from preschool to junior high. But it wasn't until I located and re-acquired a copy of the book at Missile, Space and Rocket Used Books [site], and had it in my hands again a couple of weeks later, that I appreciated the graphic quality of these paintings. I'm publishing them here as an educational resource with the goal of extending the recognition of Jack Coggins as a master of this genre of illustration. To my knowledge, this collection is unique to the World Wide Web.
The subject treatment in the paintings is unfailingly mythic, heroic, optimistic... and visionary. Published in 1952, "By Spaceship to the Moon" describes a massive multi-stage launch vehicle, an airplane-like orbiter, and moon lander with articulated legs supporting a central pod-shaped lunar module.
These paintings predate the days of doubt and caution. Technology and the machine are poised to bring us into an American Golden Age. Even the humans are seen as extensions of the machines that manipulate the components of a space station or sample the lunar surface.
The design of the rockets show a clear debt to the V-2. The spacesuits could be equally at home in the deep sea. And clearly, from the perspective of 1952, the space program would be aggressively monastic.
A few additional notes:
- These pages are intended as an educational resource on the subjects of book illustration and painting in the 1950's.
- An attempt was made to provide small file sizes, but primary consideration was given to the fidelity of the images.
- Images are progressive JPEGs with an average size of 30Kb.
Interested in learning more about books of this type? Visit John Sisson's outstanding website on the subject.[site]