253 pages filled with Daniel Rebour’s drawings!
The Bicycle Illustrations of Daniel Rebour
by Rob Van der Plas and Frank Berto
From a review in Bicycle Quarterly Vol. 11, No. 4 (Summer 2013):
Throughout the post-war years, Daniel Rebour was the foremost illustrator of bicycles and components. By emphasizing the parts that were important and leaving out superfluous details, like the spokes, Rebour’s drawings have a clarity and legibility that photos cannot match. Rebour: The Bicycle Illustrations of Daniel Rebour is a new book by Rob Van der Plas and Frank Berto that, for the first time, presents a comprehensive overview of Rebour’s work in English.
The new book starts with a brief biography of Daniel Rebour. As the editor of the trade magazine Le Cycle, Rebour documented the amazing variety of bicycles and components that were developed from the 1940s until the 1970s. After the short introduction, the book launches straight into Rebour’s work. No fewer than 253 pages are filled with Rebour’s drawings. Just like the original pages in Le Cycle, the book’s pages are filled with drawings, with very little white space. Chapters are organized by subject matter: historic bicycle drawings, frame details, derailleurs, pedals and toe clips, rim brakes, hubs, and so on. At the bottom of most pages, there is a full bicycle drawing from Daniel Rebour’s pen.
Many of the drawings are familiar, like the indexed Spirax shift lever from the 1950s, the quadruple-chainrings of an Alex Singer show bike, or various of René Herse, but many others will be new to all but the lucky few who have a full collection of Le Cycle. I never had seen the prototype of the first TA pedals from 1951, and most readers probably will be surprised by the multitude of cassette hubs that were available in the late 1940s. And then there are oddities like the “A. M.” chain with external pins that ran on two parallel chainrings, with the plates of the chain in between the rings. Various drivetrains with expanding cranks were presented every year at the Concours Lépine. Even familiar parts, like TA cranks and Campagnolo derailleurs, appear more lustrous and appealing in Rebour’s drawings than in photos.
Each drawing is accompanied by a paragraph of text that explains what is shown and when and where it was published. Unfortunately, this is where the book fails the reader. Instead of relying on a translation of the original French captions, author Rob Van der Plas based his interpretations of the drawings on observation and conjecture. In many cases, he got it right, but there are more than 70 substantive errors. To help correct this deficiency, we include a leaflet with corrections and additions with each copy of Rebour ordered through the Bicycle Quarterly bookstore.
Publisher: Cycle Publishing/Van der Plas Publications
Pages: 288 pages, 2000+ illustrations
Dimensions: 8.3" x 11.75"