This New Horizons title from 1992 caught my eye on eBay - I will confess - because the cover illustration is very, very strange. That is one terrifying-looking tyrannosaur - bordering on surreal, actually. Expecting more weirdness inside, I snapped it up only to find that, in fact, it contains a great deal of stunning artwork. Why the publishers chose to stick such a bad piece on the cover (clearly by a jobbing illustrator - spot the Sibbick reference) given what's presented inside the book is anyone's guess.
Alongside some well-worn art from the likes of Burian, Zallinger and Parker (pretty much all of which has been featured here before), this book features stunning work from, in particular, Mark Hallett and Eleanor Kish. A couple of the pieces included - a cryptically-camouflaged Hypacrosaurus by Kish and a rather dead Triceratops being picked over by mammals from Hallett - have already been looked at by David. However, there's a lot here that's new to LITC.
There is one thing I need to get out of the way, however, before we begin with the good stuff.
Wah-waaaaaah. Oh, the 1980s (or, ahem, early '90s)...
Never mind, though - here comes an amazing artwork from Mark Hallett (with apologies for the big ol' page fold - this is a small book).
When I first stumbled upon this in this book I couldn't quite believe my eyes. This is from the 1980s!?! Holy crap! The only possible explanation for such excellence is that Hallett is in possession of a TARDIS. The theropod in the centre of this scene (Rapator - a possible allosauroid known from very fragmentary remains) has correctly-orientated forelimbs, the brachiosaurs have accurate hands and feet, and most astonishingly of all the little theropod in the foreground (Kakuru, again known from very fragmentary remains) appears to have a protofeather coat. Just stunning. I can't quite believe that this painting didn't feature in more dinosaur books in the early '90s.
More recognisable is this piece from 1986, entitled Crossing the Flat. It depicts everyone's favourite disproportionately long-necked sauropod Mamenchisaurus. Not a lot to say about this one - it's beautiful, though.
Eleanor Kish, for her part, also contributes a number of pieces that are very beautifully painted, even if they haven't aged as well as Hallett's.
Her reconstructions are excellent for the 1980s, and apparently she went as far as to create models of the animals' skeletons, reconstructing them in 3D before moving on to the painting at hand. Even if this Saurolophus looks a little dated now (and the swan-necked plesiosaur merrily paddling along in the background is particularly unfortunate), Kish is superb at believably placing her animals in environments in such a way that they look like part of the ecosystem, rather than obviously being the centre of attention. The book quotes Dale Russell as saying that Kish creates "images of landscapes [palaeontologists] can never see".
This Daspletosaurus (shown scaring off a champsosaur) does have a notably peculiar head - it's a bit of a shrink-wrapped skull with huge eyes. Still, I wouldn't mind having this painting on my wall - just drink in that lush scenery.
Finally, here's a particularly bleak scene from Kish entitled Chasmosaurus, with the titular ceratopsian's corpse being picked over by two small maniraptoran theropods (it's difficult to tell whether they are dromaeosaurs or troodonts, although they are probably the former). Apart from being naked (of course), the theropods do look very, very skinny, although one could argue that, given the context of the scene, perhaps they are starving. The weird, pointy protuberance of the pubic bones seems to be something common to Kish's dinosaurs. Still, this is a highly evocative and desolate scene. In the book it's included in the chapter on the K/Pg extinction event. Of course the painting could not be set at that time, but rather about ten million years before, given that Chasmosaurus is known from the Dinosaur Park Formation.