Art and the Working Author 2: My Hero

In a previous piece I described how I look for public domain graphics to illustrate blog posts, Facebook posts, and memes about the Regency era.  Today i want to write about a particularly knotty problem.  How do I find a portrait to stand in for my hero?

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Rupert Penry-Jones

When I envisioned Richard Hayden, the Marquess of Glenaire, in Dangerous Works I described him as having icy blue eyes and very blond hair. Think Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. When I created a storyboard on Pinterest for Dangerous Weakness, I used a picture of Rupert Penry-Jones as Captain Wentworth in the 2007 PBS broadcast of Persuasion.  As far as I was concerned, it was dead perfect. While Pinterest enables the capture of images with links back to their

provenance, you can’t very well go around taking other people’s photos, saving, copying, and reusing them. At least you can’t easily do it legally. {Long sigh}  What is an author to do? Back to Wikipedia Commons and Wikimedia.

Faced with the need to post about Glenaire for Jude Knight’s book launch a few weeks ago, I went in search of portraits from the 19th century. Let me tell you folks, it was not easy!  My first try was the one of Rubens Peale by Rembrandt Peale. Handsome chap but he looks more like Glenaire’s friend Andrew Mallet, the scholar, than Glenaire.  A few others came up.

Too sweet. Too bland. Jude suggested Michael Faraday.  The first image of him looked too scruffy. This one isn’t  bad, but rather dark.  For that day I settled on one.  Some folks thought it looked like the Duke of Wellington. It is actually a Russian, Count Viktor Pavlovich Kochubey (1768-1834).  It served for that purpose and I also used it to update the entry for Glenaire in the Bluestocking Bookshop on Facebook.

Here they are. What do you think?

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Rubens Peale

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Too sweet.

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Too bland.

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Just right? Count Viktor Pavlovich Kochubey

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Michael Faraday, Thomas Phillips 1842










If you’ve encountered Glenaire in one of my earlier works or in some of our on-the-fly storytelling in the Bookshop, which do you think best portrays him? Whether you have or not, which would you pick for a hero with an over developed sense of duty, protectiveness and loyalty?

As for me, I see Rupert Penry-Jones when I close my eyes. Or is it Captain Wentworth?


9 thoughts on “Art and the Working Author 2: My Hero

  1. Nothing to stop you doing a paintshopPro or photoshop job on pd pics as well, and paint into the face and change hair colour and so on. With a decent resolution, and paintbrush set at 30% density you can do a lot to faces. And colour changes are easy. And if the background is wrong, an unsharp mask helps a lot.

  2. I am not very techno savvy and a lot of what is talked about here is above my ken. I’m just a reader with a vivid imagination. But having met Richard Hayden in your two previous books, I already have a rather vivid picture of what he looks like in my minds eye. And I’m afraid he doesn’t look like any of the fellows pictured above. He does however, have Peter O’Toole’s beautiful blue eyes (smile).

    This is all very interesting.

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