ROBERT STEPHEN PARRY
Johanna Woolveston is a leading character in the Georgian-
Calm, beautiful and intelligent, her presence is both disturbing and enlightening for Wildish, while also being an ever-
My portrait of her on the cover is inspired to a large extent by the 18th-
Deborah is central to the Gothic novel The Hours Before. Sophisticated and worldly, she is an amalgam of several Belle-
Deborah has many additional qualities to that of her sex-
My portrait of her on the cover, very much in the extravagant fashions of the times, is designed to give the appearance of someone in an old sepia-
One of the 19th century’s most infamous courtesans, Sophie Dawes, Baronne (Baroness) de Feuchères, is central to the epistolary novel The Testament of Sophie Dawes. She grew up in Regency England amid extreme poverty, with no prospects whatsoever -
There are few portraits of Sophie that have survived, and most of them are not particularly flattering. The one shown here is a miniature and shows her as a young woman. She certainly must have had something special, however. I believe she was an extraordinarily clever individual -
Daphne, Lady Bowlend, is the heroine of my Victorian, Pre-
We see her in the novel as a good-
Goths and Toffs
Queen Elizabeth I of England needs little introduction to history buffs -
She takes centre stage again in the fictional memoir Elizabeth – the Virgin Queen and the Men who Loved Her -
The covers to the two novels show portraits of Elizabeth, firstly as a young woman in ‘Virgin and the Crab’ (not shown here) and then as a more mature, stately person in ‘Elizabeth – the Virgin Queen.’
Rather like in the world of dance, it is the female characters who tend to be the centre of attention in my stories -
It would be impossible to describe John Dee in just a few words. He spans the Elizabethan era as an intellectual colossus -
As a young man, he is a central character in the novel Virgin and the Crab and, along with a number of other devoted Elizabethan gentlemen, also puts in an appearance in the fictional memoir Elizabeth – the Virgin Queen and the Men who Loved Her. The portrait here, the only surviving likeness painted in his lifetime, shows him in his 60s.
In the novel The Testament of Sophie Dawes the principal male character -
For a portrait, I found a suitably neutral, quietly fashionable well-
Amos Roselli is a painter living in 1870s Victorian London, one of the many hopeful and ambitious young men inspired by Gothic revivalism and the Pre-
At the start of the novel, Daphne has faded somewhat from his life -
For a suitable image, I always thought the self-
Herman (or Manny) Grace is very much the traditional Gothic ‘hero’ in the novel The Hours Before – a thoroughly decent English gentleman of the late Victorian era, but with a reckless and roguish streak. He is, by profession, a stage magician but is called upon to experience an occult world of a very different and sinister kind as the story unfolds.
He is fair haired, with moustache, slightly unkempt -
When it comes to the male characters, there is only one that I have done a portrait of, and that was for the cover of the novel ‘ Wildish.’ I always had a good idea of what the others looked like, of course, and so here by way of accompaniment to the biographical information are suitable images from the world of art and portraiture, each taken from the relevant period of history.
Mr Wildish, who lives in the chaotic, outrageous world of 18th century Georgian England is a bundle of contradictions. Irish by birth, and having trained in his youth as a barber surgeon, he has managed by his late twenties to have become a wigmaker in London. Single and an aspiring poet, his main preoccupation when we first encounter him is simply that of enjoying life to the full – a condition which is about to alter drastically with the onset of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 -
Matthew is the only one of my male characters that I have done a portrait of – and this currently graces the cover of the novel Wildish -
He is loosely based on a 1770s portrait by Thomas Gainsborough of his nephew.
Goth = derived from the literary term ‘Gothic’ signifying one who identifies with all that is dark and mysterious in the arts and fashion. Victorian in style or appearance. A dramatic, often ill-
Toff = possibly derived from the derogatory term ‘toffee-