My work for Patrician Press
Posted on Mar 18, 2023
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Every so often I get a request for a cover illustration from Patrician Press. It may be very specific eg. ‘Link 9/11 to 1930s Berlin’, which was difficult):

or an illustration to suggest the depredations of war in both India and Britain:

(this was easier as I was able to find or create images for a collage which suggest the range of these topics.)

The most recent request was for well- known Italian writer of detective fiction, Valerio Varesi, whose stories are usually set in and around the River Po, and the people who live and work there. This is an area we are very familiar with.

When we met the author it was suggested that I could do the cover illustration. I did some research looking at Po illustrations bridges, floods weather etc. My first idea was to try and reproduce some detective’s notes for example on on image, annotating possible sites where a body might have been put in the river. This was dismissed because the bridge was wrong. Luckily I had a backup which was a gouache of a dilapidated railway bridge which was stark and threatening. This was accepted at once – my gift of a sample of my last year’s nocino (my walnut liqueur) seemed to lubricate the deal.


The Unseen – a detective novel

One of my first covers for Patrician was on a book of poetry, where I used a simple motif of vertical stripes of colour, which I have used extensively in my painting, a sort of arbitrary rearrangement of a rainbow.

One cover I remember well was an image of a Japanese woman’s face in black and white which I substantially altered to make it more confronting.