Nickless, Will

Born in Essex in 4 April 1902, Nickless left school at 14 and was working for an agency by the age of 18. He joined the staff of Motor magazine in 1920, producing technical drawings and, later, general figure work. He left to become a freelance artist, illustrating books and occasionally writing them himself. He started his own publishing imprint, Virgin Press, producing limited editions of his own poetry and a series of anti-war etchings which were reproduced in New Leader in 1939.

In the 1940s Nickless illustrated the Worzel Gummidge books of Barbara Euphan Todd and he continued to produce illustrations, mostly for children's books, until his death. Nickless also contributed illustrations to Eagle Annual as well as Swift Annual. You can usually spot his illustrations by his ornate, swirly 'N' that he signed his work with.

Nickless lived in London until 1958 when he moved to Rotherfield, Sussex. His hobbies included making models and musical instruments. He died in early 1977.
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Worzel Gummidge Again, 2nd edn 1946 (Barbara Euphan Todd)Here we have the ReproJacket for the 2nd edition published by Hollis & Carter in 1946.

An interesting point is that the back panel mentions a Worzel title which had not yet been published, Worzel Gummidge and the Saucy Nancy; when it appeared the following year the definite article was dropped.

Jacket illustration by Will Nickless.

ReproJacket #90-A-1, size 188.7x444mm.
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Worzel Gummidge and Saucy Nancy, 1st edn 1947 (Barbara Euphan Todd)Following the war, the publishers Burns, Oates & Washbourne were replaced by Hollis and Carter, who republished the first two Worzel Gummidge books in 1943 and 1946 respectively, and a new (fourth) one, Worzel Gummidge and Saucy Nancy, in 1947. The third, More About Worzel Gummidge, had to wait until 1951 for its new edition.

Unusually for the time -- especially as wartime economy standards for publishing were still in force -- the paper used for the jacket was a semi-gloss.

There's a mistake on the back panel in the blurb for Worzel Gummidge Again whereby 'escapades' is rendered as 'escapes'. See comments on later Worzels about jacket mistakes.

Jacket illustration by Will Nickless.

ReproJacket #96-A-1, size 190.6x448mm.
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Worzel Gummidge and Saucy Nancy, 1st edn 1949 (2nd printing) (Barbara Euphan Todd)The reprint corrects the 'escapes' error, and reduces the price of the series to six shillings.

This was the last time that this title appeared in hardback form.

Jacket illustration by Will Nickless.

ReproJacket #96-B-1, size 191.2x442mm.
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Worzel Gummidge Takes a Holiday, 1st edn 1949 (Barbara Euphan Todd)The third title, More About Worzel Gummidge, had to wait until 1951 for its new edition, but Hollis and Carter first published a fifth title, Worzel Gummidge Takes a Holiday, in 1949. This has a very simple jacket, the front panel artwork being taken from its frontispiece, and - unusually for the time - being presented on a gloss paper. The strangest thing about this title, however, is that it was never republished, either in hardback or in softback form; indeed, this first edition never even got a reprinting. So it's a very scarce title, especially in a jacket.

Jacket illustration by Will Nickless.

ReproJacket #68-A-1, size 191.3x435mm.