This is one of four complete maquettes made by Haskins. He kept back one and used the others as presentation and sales tools to show to potential publishers and as a reference for technical production meetings with plate-makers and printers. His son reminds us that, ‘Each one was a huge labour of love – Sam made all the silver prints, designed the books and assembled each maquette personally – so you can imagine that put an upper limit on the quantity.’
Haskins has fully invested himself in the sequencing of his images and their translation into tight, graphically precise layouts in which he maintains a rhythm both of narrative and of tone, grain and contrast as key design elements in themselves.
Cowboy Kate enjoyed huge commercial success and this was well deserved for a book that was a masterful marriage of content and of form. The pictures presented the nude in a fresh and innovative way, leaving behind all classical formulae in favour of a sense of energy and spontaneity that breathed a new life into the genre. The sensuality is unforced, and shows a rare lightness of touch. The graphic style of the book and the images themselves proved hugely influential.