masterworks up for grabs

[asa left]B000BNPFY2[/asa] Ann Moore and I live in the same town, and once in a while (not often enough) we run into each other at book events. Her trilogy of historicals set in Ireland and the U.S. do a compelling job of bringing the 19th century immigration experience to life. The first one in the series is Gracelin O’Malley, then Leaving Ireland, and the third and final ‘Til Morning Light.

[asa right]0385721307[/asa] We had a good discussion about cover art at one point and so she just sent me a link to a page about the use (and reuse) of older portraits on covers for historical fiction. You’ll see, if you wander over there, that the year Ann’s Leaving Ireland came out, the same woman’s face was used on two other historical novels.

Under the Wild MoonThe thing is, these older portraits are gorgeous, and I’m guessing they cost the publisher little or nothing to use. Certainly I prefer Leonardo’s Lady with an Ermine (as seen here on Quattrocentoby James McKean) to the more lurid cover art for historicals (this example, from Under the Wild Moon by Diana Carey, I snurched from Smart Bitches).

I’m always keeping my eyes open for portraits that would make good cover art. Not that any publisher would necessarily do anything about a suggestion like that — most of them have very specific ideas about what belongs on a cover, and seldom do publisher and author agree. But I keep track anyway.