During the 1950s Charles White began a particularly fertile period as an artist whose work appeared on records of the Vanguard label. Vanguard was a particularly innovative record label, founded in 1949 by Seymour Solomon and his younger brother Maynard Solomon in New York City. The label grew to become one of America's leading independent labels. Charles White supplied drawings and illustrations for a number of Vanguard records, for the most part with 10 inch sleeves. Many of these were jazz recordings, but in one or two instances his illustrations were used for other types of recordings.
In 1954, Charles White provided an illustration for the cover of the eponymously titled Sir Charles Thompson Quartet. The record was released on the Vanguard label as part of its Vanguard Jazz Showcase – VRS-8006. Again, it was a 10" mono recording. Sir Charles Thompson (1918 – 2016) was an American swing and bebop pianist, organist, composer, and arranger. The cover of Sir Charles Thompson Quartet was very similar to the cover of Sir Charles Thompson Trio, featuring a drawing of a pianist. While the Trio sleeve had sparingly used yellow, on the pianist's tie, jacket pocket handkerchief, jacket sleeve buttons, typography, and so on, the Quartet sleeve had opted instead for a light purple colour. Unlike Trio, which appeared to have cropped from its cover drawing the signature of Charles White, and did not carry in its sleeve notes any references to him, the reproduction on the cover of Quartet carried White's signature and the date of '54.
In contrast to the Trio sleeve notes, the notes on the sleeve of Quartet included, "The drawing on the cover is one of a series commissioned by Vanguard Recording Society, Inc., from the distinguished American artist, Charles White, for use on its Jazz Showcase and classical releases. Aside from our belief that it takes a creative artist to capture the full human feeling of creative music, we hope by this means to bring to the public a knowledge of contemporary American art such as this, which has only to be seen to be loved. Charles White won the Julius Rosenwald Fellowship in 1942, an Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 1952, and a National Prize of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His work is represented in the Whitney Museum, Library of Congress, and other famous collections."
A version of this text was reproduced on a number of the Vanguard sleeves that Charles White illustrated.