Dr.Z and Swain’s borderline round the bend


David Lowbridge supplies this reproduction that shows the split.

I think all the covers should be reproduced full sized.

The photographs below of the Dr.Z album cover are taken from the site of Collectable records at




Wills: When I originally posted the cover as shown at the top, incorrectly I guessed it as a Hawkwind  album, about which RandM, corrected me as follows.

RandM: David: That is not a Hawkwind album as you have written. ‘Dr Z’ is the name of the band, and the name of the LP is ‘Three Parts to My Soul’. Interestingly, the name of the LP is only revealed when you open the front flaps: the phrase ‘Spiritus Manus et Umbra’ which you can see before opening the flaps is what those ‘3 parts of the soul’ actually are.

The pic shown is a slightly ‘patched-up’ version of the original (ie the split down the middle has been photoshopped out. [DW says : I have subsequently replaced that image with one that does show the split]) And incidentally, even the Japanese CD issue (which is often used as a cheap way to picture the original LP) has a difference to the original LP if you look closely enough. If you want to see the real thing and all it’s aspects, best to take a look here. http://www.collectable-records.ru/groups2/dr_z/soul.htm

You’ll find more borders to marvel at! 🙂

Corrected Wills post: Peering more closely at the above rather titchy sized repro of the Dr Z  album cover (not Hawkwind as I originally credited), I discern that the decoration on the borders of DR Z are, most def, taken from a Swain’s type catalogs from about 1895 (or one of Swains predecessors). It was 4 inches thick with a black cover and gold embossed logo.

On Dr.Z the convoluted Victoriana borders, the corner-pieces, or ’round-the-bends,’ on the front cover are based on an early rustic, stick-gothick interlacing from about 1845. The borders on the inside are from the same source, but later. Swains never threw anything away, were in business for a very long time, and so had a complete history of their victorian type and wingdings. Using the book was an excuse for a good ol’ winter knees-up, the wazygoosey in celebration of the time in October when the candles were first lit in the comp-room, the theme of one party way back in 1962 on Peterborough Road in Parson’s Green.

I originally got the book in ‘63, off a school chum and roomie, Chris Higson, he said, “Keep it, you’re the designer.”  It had a slip of paper 4×3 ins. inside the front cover announcing the conversion of type sizes from ‘Small Pearl’ and the Pica system, to the new Point system. Based on a measurement of close to, but not exactly, one 72nd of an inch, it was a measurement pretty much totally unrelated to anything rational. In turn, I gave the Swains book to Barney in 1969, in the ongoing spirit of interstudio borrowings.

Swains specialized in borders and had pages and pages of the various dangly bits, swashes, rules, interlaced gargoyles and assorted Victoriana that could, if you’re really stoned, and squint, lovingly recreate the drama, in all its primitive flux, of Donkey Kong (As RandM jokingly mention in comments. I say more than likely Donkey K borrowed from Disney.)

Post Type: Anybody into this who hasn’t been there should get on over to John C’s place very fast, see amazing art of the staggeringly cool: