The Eye of the Turtle

It has long been said that there were two different eye variations for the turtle that presides over the front cover of Voice of the Turtle. After I had an email from Glenn Jones confirming their existence, I thought I'd better check my own copies with a magnifying glass, and yes, there are indeed two versions. All the early sleeves (at least until circa 1974), the ones that have the outer pasted wrap-round, have a plain pupil. However, when the sleeve switched to the later and more standard construction, printed to a higher standard off new plates, cross-hatching substitutes for the colour of the earlier ones . I've seen it suggested that there is more than one variant of hatched eye; however the two examples of cross-hatched eyes I show here (from the two batches of the last gatefold sleeves manufactured) appear different only in that the printing plate has been more heavily inked in the earlier than the later example, so ink has flowed into the hatching at some points. I suspect that the hatching was added by the person who made up the new printing plates for the later sleeves, possibly to cover up a flaw or error in the photo-etching, but probably damage to the original artwork. Further plates were made up when the switch was made to the single sleeve around 1977; this added a second turtle (copied from the first but slightly smaller) to the bottom right-hand corner of the sleeve, replacing the promise of a book within. The hatching in the eye remained although it is difficult to tell whether it is the same, given the considerable difference in print quality. The smaller of the two turtles has clearly had its eye reworked, probably because the hatching wouldn't reduce easily (the pictures below are shown in scale to show the relative size of the smaller turtle).

As always, click to enlarge the pictures.

Early eye 1968-Circa 1974, 3rd sleeve, original plates:

Later eye, Circa 1975-1977, 1st printing, second plates:

Later eye, Circa 1975-1977, 2nd printing, second plates:

Last eye, main turtle, Single sleeve, Circa 1977

Eye of second turtle, Single sleeve, Circa 1977

For more details on the various sleeves for this album, or to add any comment, please see my earlier post, The Mystery of the Turtle. This new information has been included in that post too; I've put it here as well to highlight the update. If you own another variation, get in touch.

Please add any comment to the 'Mystery of the Turtle' post, rather than here.