Mary Gernat

b. 16 Aug 1926
d. 12 Oct 1998

A prolific illustrator for Armada books in the 1960s, Mary Gernat painted the cover art for at least twelve of the Monica Edwards titles. One, Fire in the Punchbowl carried no artist credit. Two others were credited to the wrong artists: Cargo of Horses to Peter Archer and Spirit of Punchbowl Farm to Sheila Rose.

In 2015 I was contacted by Roger How, one of Mary's sons, who told me that a large number of his mother's 'roughs' for original cover art had been discovered in a drawer, including the original drafts for Cargo of Horses, Fire in the Punchbowl, and Spirit of Punchbowl Farm.
This confirmed what had been suspected, that these were, indeed, the work of his mother. I have my suspicions about others, and there may well be more corrections that have to be made as we learn more from Mary's original drafts.
The 'rough' for Cargo of Horses is shown at the bottom of the page.

Mary Gernat's covers for Armada.
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C25 1963
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C65 1963
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C72 1963
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C115 1965

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C119 1965
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C132 1965
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C150/146 1966
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C154 1965

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C155 1966
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C176 1967
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C213 1968
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C271 1969

Below is a scan of her original 'rough' sent for approval to Armada by Mary, before she worked on the finished cover artwork. It was provided by Roger How, one of her sons, and he has kindly given his permission for it to be included on this page. The word 'sample' is an addition of his to indicate that this gives a sample of the artwork discovered.

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Original 'draft' design for Armada cover
Copyright Mary Gernat

These drafts were often referred to as 'roughs' and for a very good reason. It is sometimes difficult to see how the publishers could see what the artist was intending from the crude drafts submitted.
However here, Mary Gernat has laid out the cover in full, and even sketched in the Armada logo and spine panel for lettering. Amazingly, her rough sketch artwork is virtually identical to the finished product.
Roger tells me that she worked fast, and I'm sure that's where the light touch and vigorous movement comes from in her covers. A style ideally suited to books for active children.

I'm very grateful to Roger for allowing me to show this one, and there may well be further news to follow in time. . . . .

This page is part of the Monica Edwards Website. To enter this site by the front door, click here.
Illustrations copyright the respective Publishers
Text copyright John Allsup
created July 2003
Last updated 3rd June 2015