For Penguin to publish a set of ten titles by an author was an event of some significance that marked their entry into the pantheon of Penguin's most popular writers. The honour was bestowed on a number of authors over the years and the list of those elected to this elite group includes Bernard Shaw, H G Wells, Aldous Huxley and Agatha Christie.

John Wyndham was another of Penguin's best-selling authors but his plinth remained empty until a decade after his death, when his estate released a posthumous novel called Web. Penguin already had nine Wyndham titles on its backlist which were released, with Web, as a set of ten titles in 1979-80. Prior to this a colleague of David Pelham's at Penguin, John Hitchin, mentioned he had a nephew called Peter Lord who was studying graphic design at Middlesex Polytechnic, and he asked if Pelham would give the young student a chance to put theory into practice. Pelham agreed, and invited Lord to submit a cover treatment for The Day of the Triffids.

JOHN WYNDHAM The Day of the Triffids, 1979 The Day of the Triffids (993) by John Wyndham

1979 reprint with cover art by Peter Lord.
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Penguin had been publishing Wyndham since 1954 but the introduction of pictorial covers in the 1960s had not done his books any favours, so Lord's treatment of The Triffids – a peaceful, almost pastoral scene, bathed in the colours of a warm spring day – came as a breath of fresh air. The cover shows a house from the viewpoint of a passer-by looking up through a loose line of leafy plants with drooping heads and flowers like giant buttercups. But a closer look reveals a false idyll, shattered some time in the past like the glass in the upstairs window, beyond which a room lies dark and empty.

The house stands semi-derelict and lifeless, its roof tiles stripped and rafters exposed, its inhabitants corralled and killed by the carnivorous plants that have silently laid siege. Pelham liked the cover very much and commissioned Lord to do the artwork for the other Wyndham titles.

JOHN WYNDHAM The Kraken Wakes, 1979 The Kraken Wakes (1075) by John Wyndham

1979 reprint with cover art by Peter Lord.
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JOHN WYNDHAM The Chrysalids, 1979 The Chrysalids (1308) by John Wyndham

1979 reprint with cover art by Peter Lord.
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JOHN WYNDHAM The Midwich Cuckoos, 1979 The Midwich Cuckoos (1440) by John Wyndham

1979 reprint with cover art by Peter Lord.
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JOHN WYNDHAM Trouble With Lichen, 1979 Trouble With Lichen (1986) by John Wyndham

1979 reprint with cover art by Peter Lord.
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slip-case for 'The Best of John Wyndham' boxed set, 1979 The Best of John Wyndham

Slip-case by Peter Lord for a boxed set of
the five Wyndham titles shown above.
JOHN WYNDHAM The Seeds of Time, 1979 The Seeds of Time (1385) by John Wyndham

1979 reprint with cover art by Peter Lord.
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JOHN WYNDHAM Consider Her Ways and Others, 1979 Consider Her Ways and Others (2231) by John Wyndham

1979 reprint with cover art by Peter Lord.
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JOHN WYNDHAM Chocky, 1979 Chocky (3121) by John Wyndham

1979 reprint with cover art by Peter Lord.
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JOHN WYNDHAM and LUCAS PARKES The Outward Urge, 1980 The Outward Urge (1544) by John Wyndham and Lucas Parkes

1980 reprint with cover art by Peter Lord.
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JOHN WYNDHAM Web, 1980 Web (5338) by John Wyndham

First published 1979.

Published by Penguin Books January 1980 with cover art by Peter Lord.
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By the time all ten titles had appeared Peter Mayer was Penguin's managing director and David Pelham had resigned as art director, explaining later that when 'I overheard people in the marketing department referring to books as "the product" I knew that it was time to jump'. Meanwhile Peter Lord went on to produce a couple of sf covers for Pan and Sphere before moving into bookselling, where he works today.