1928 - 2001
On the 23rd of October 2001, Josh Kirby died in his sleep, aged 72.
"I only invented the Discworld. Josh created it." Terry Pratchett
Ronald Kirby was born in 1928, gaining the nickname "Josh" at Liverpool City School of Art where colleagues likened his work to that of the great painter Sir Joshua Reynolds. The nickname stuck and, from that time forwards, few people ever called him by his original name. Graduating after six years, his first job was painting portraits of film stars for an art studio producing film advertising posters for the London Underground. Around 1955, he began to produce artwork for bookcovers ranging from westerns and crime novels to non-fiction as well as painting magazine covers for science fiction magazines.
By the late 1980's, he was already a long-established name in fantasy art when Corgi commissioned him to produce the cover for "The Colour of Magic" - a commission that Josh thought would be a "one-off". He was eventually commissioned to produce the covers for all the Discworld books - more than 25 covers in all. Josh and Discworld became inseparable.
Josh had a simple view of his own work but the following he inspired, and the legacy of artwork he leaves behind, are both testament to his tremendous skill and creativity.
"I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint" Josh Kirby (1928 - 2001)
Josh Kirby's portrait by Babette Adrian.
Notable examples :
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