Original UK “Potter” cover artwork up for auction

The original cover artwork for the UK editions of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, both by artist Cliff Wright, are up for auction at the Nate D. Sanders auction house. These iconic covers have become a permanent staple on the shelves of millions of readers, and now one lucky collector will have the chance to own them!

Bidding for the Chamber of Secrets cover art begins at $20,000.

Chamber of Secrets

From the auction website:

Original ink, pencil and watercolor artwork for the 1998 release of J.K. Rowling’s second book in the groundbreaking series, ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.’ Illustration is by British artist Cliff Wright, whom J.K. Rowling tapped to illustrate most of her Harry Potter characters, including Hedwig the owl and Harry Potter himself, both displayed here in this watercolor. Unsigned illustration, which appears on the book’s cover, depicts the memorable scene in the book when Ron Weasley steals his father’s Ford Anglia to escort Harry back to Hogwarts. Wright charmingly brings each character to life in the illustration – Potter is depicted in his signature glasses and red pullover, and Ron is depicted with flaming red hair and freckles. Both Harry and Ron are pictured grinning at their flying car feat, while Potter’s famed owl, Hedwig, is perched in the back seat. Illustration is glazed, mounted and framed to an overall size of 22.5” x 19”, with two annotations written along top reading ‘please return Aw [artwork] to: / (undamaged)’ and ‘For: Harry Potter shop display / To: Rosamund Walker — Bloomsbury’. Bloomsbury then superimposed this illustration with a background landscape also done by Wright to create the finished cover design. Near fine.”

Bidding for the Prisoner of Azkaban starts considerably lower, at $12,500.

Prizoner of Azkaban

Imaginative ink and watercolor cover art for the original 1999 Bloomsbury edition of J.K. Rowling’s third book, ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,’ in the series that forever changed children’s literature. This third draft ”rough” – nearing the final design – is signed by British artist Cliff Wright, who first brought many of Rowling’s concepts and characters to life for the series. Watercolor and ink drawing depicts Harry on the legendary hippogriff beast, endearingly called Buckbeak. Here, Wright depicts the climactic scene in the book when Harry Potter and Hermione Granger go back in time, flying on Buckbeak through the night’s sky to save Sirius Black from a tower where he is imprisoned, sending him away to freedom on Buckbeak’s back. Of illustrating the Harry Potter series, Wright has said, ‘…a passage from the book was suggested, and I began to draw ideas working closely with the publisher. So as to retain as much vitality as possible in the final watercolour painting I only produce small-scale quick pencil/pen sketches as roughs. Time is spent on character and composition but not yet on execution, so my roughs are very simple.’ This draft shows maturation in the draft process, with colors and design almost entirely fleshed out. Illustration measures 5.5” x 5” on a standard-sized sheet of paper and is signed ‘Cliff Wright’ at lower right, with additional handwritten comments in margins noting ‘trainers’ and ‘Emma / Changes as requested. Cliff’. Near fine condition.”

The auctions for these pieces of art only have about two hours remaining, and as of yet there have been no bids placed. It will be interesting to see if anyone comes along and bids at the last moment!

Which original piece of Harry Potter cover art would you like to own?

Jessica J.

I've been making magic at MuggleNet since 2012, when I first joined the staff as a News intern. I've never wavered from the declaration in my childhood journal, circa October 2000: "I LOVE Harry Potter! If I clean my room, my mom says she'll make me a dinner a wizard would love!" Proud Gryffindor; don't hate.