Harlequin Romance Cover Art Throughout the Ages

Keywords: Harlequin’s 60th Anniversary, romance novel covers, HarlequinCelebrates.com

The Heart of a Woman: Harlequin Cover Art 1949-2009

In celebration of our 60th anniversary, Harlequin is sponsoring an exhibition of original cover art that focuses not only on the shifting shape of desire, but also on the social meaning and context of these images.

This not-to-be-missed exhibit will feature over 150 original works dating from 1949 to modern day, along with a fun, interactive “put yourself in the cover” feature wall.

The exhibit is running from May 30 – June 12, 2009 at the Open House Gallery in New York City (201 Mulberry Street, in Soho. See a map here.) Hours of operation are Monday – Friday: 11AM-7PM, and Saturday & Sunday: 12PM – 6P. Details about this event and other celebrations for our 60th Anniversary on HarlequinCelebrates.com

Can’t get to NY? Here’s a sneak peek at some of the images from different eras from Harlequin’s past, from our roots in pulp fiction for both men and women, to the classic doctor-nurse romances, and the rise of sexier covers:

Risky Romance

Prescription for Love

The Lure of the Exotic

Whisked Away

A Woman of Her Own

Unsung Heroes: The Artists of Harlequin (don’t ask me what that sci-fi cover has to do with artists though 🙂 ~Amy)

Passion from the Past (love him or hate him, you can’t ignore Fabio when it comes to romance novels covers!)

The Rise of Erotica

10 years from now, what do you predict romance novels will look like? And I’d love to hear about your all-time favorite romance novel cover!


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Comments ( 6 )
  1. Amy
    May 28, 2009 at 11:19 am

    I’m going to cheat at my own question, because I don’t think I could name my favourite romance cover without thinking about it for a while, but I have a very clear memory of the first romance novel (I think) I ever saw…

    It was my mom’s. It was a Harlequin Historical from the early 90’s. I was 5, maybe 6 years old. It was very much like the Fabio cover above with the lace and had a purple-ish tone to it. The hero had brown hair and an eye-patch. The heroine had lovely blue-black curly hair and I thought she was just about the prettiest girl I had ever seen! I have a feeling I drew some black-haired princesses for a while in kindergarten after that, instead of my usual blonds 🙂

  2. Myates
    May 29, 2009 at 12:39 am

    I love the covers! I really liked the calendar I got in the mail from M&B this year with the classic covers, very cute. (It’s hanging in my husband’s home office, actually 🙂 )

    The first cover I think I saw was a Fabio type cover at my Grandma’s house when I was four and I think I was scared to death of it.

    When I picked up my first Harlequin Romance novel at the ripe old age of Twenty it was one by Miranda Lee with this glamorous woman on the cover and I think the guy (dark, handsome, Italian) was putting a diamond necklace on her. Very tame, but I really liked it. And I felt so much more sophisticated in my choice of novel since Fabio was not on the cover. 😛

    Ten years from now…I can’t imagine…but I have to say that if in ten years Fabio is still posing for covers he’ll have earned my undying respect.


  3. Sarah Morgan
    May 29, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Amy, I love the cover with the snake! I’m dying to read the rest of the story now. Whatever technological progression is made over the next ten years I’m hoping that they’ll still produce paper books because I have to have something to drop in the bath. My favourite books all have curly edges where I’ve turned the pages with damp fingers.

  4. romancelover79
    June 4, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I love the covers of the books I read from Harlequin they seem to fit the story so very well. When I pick up a book to reread and I see the cover I already picure everything. I look forward each month to see what the covers will be.

  5. Joy Boxer
    August 4, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I love his covers.

  6. ANGEL
    July 17, 2015 at 4:11 pm