A Fine Art Cover for Pink XI

This post was written by Dara.

We have talked about covers several times before during our read along, and I am a sucker for a good book cover. I was heartbroken when the publishers switched from the fine art covers on the original books to the headless dresses, as I refer to them, that grace the covers now.  The use of fine art paintings for a cover was what drew me to pick up the original Pink in the book store because they were so completely unique from other book covers (especially other romance covers, which you can usually spot at a good 50 yards away from the heaving bosoms). So, when we came to Sally’s book, I decided I would just make my own fine art cover.

Of course, Sally has very specific requirements.  She must have blonde hair; she must have that certain je ne sais…errr…, as Turnip calls it, that sets her apart as not another simpering female of the ton. And, of course, she must have a stoat.  Once I had that sorted out, I headed to the Google machine.  (What would we do without Google?)

When you Google painting of a lady with a stoat, what comes back is Da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine. And while the stoat is there, that is clearly the wrong era for Sally.


But, apparently, they did not make many portraits of blonde young ladies during the Regency era.  And the ones that were made were decidedly not Sally.   After searching many, many pages of search results, I had a few options.

There was this one:

sally2(Penning a Letter by George Goodwin Kilburne)

Or this one:

sally3(Young Woman Drawing by Marie-Danise Villers)

Or this one of Lady Emma Hamilton, who, incidentally, appeared as Mary on the cover of Crimson Rose:

sally4(Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton, as “Absence” by George Romney)

But none of them seemed quite right.  Finally, I stumbled across Sally by accident when I was looking for something else entirely.  But there she was, staring at me from the computer screen, my perfect Sally Fitzhugh.

sally5(La Coquette by Vittorio Reggianini . You can read more about the painting here).

With a little help from Photoshop to give Sally her stoat, we have a fine art book cover for Sally.


While I was searching for a portrait to use for Sally, I stumbled across this little gem.  For your daily giggles, I give you Sally and Turnip as little children:

sally7(Bowden Children by John Hoppner)

What do y’all think? Which covers do you like better? How does a book cover influence your feelings or decisions about a book?

I can’t wait to discuss our suspense packed first week of reading with you on Friday!  See you then.

12 thoughts on “A Fine Art Cover for Pink XI

  1. That is a gorgeous cover, Dara! And I like little Turnip and Sally too.

    I think the best way to sum up my feelings on book covers is the fact that my husband has long maintained that a gravestone for me should read “Hardcover with dust jacket” owing to my obsession with tracking down books with these components from the first half of the twentieth century. I definitely miss the earlier Pink covers.

    • My husband often says my life motto is “just let me finish this chapter before bed!” And I’m with you- if it’s going to be hardcover, it needs a dust jacket.

  2. I wish they were still doing the art covers and I wish they were still coming out in hardback. I will need to get new copies of the later ones and have them bound so that I have 12 hardbacks on the shelf. Have you considered doing up art covers for all of the ones that had the new “headless” covers, I am sure there are a lot of us missing the art covers that would love a set.

    • I have actually thought of doing that, but two problems exist, one, for the hardcovers, the printing of the dust jackets would be hard (to have the spot varnishes, etc.) and therefore prohibitively expensive. For the paperbacks it would be even harder, because you’d have to do a smaller dust jacket wrap… um, so yes, I might have thought this out a bit… aka, what do graphic designers do in their spare time.

  3. Pingback: A Fine Art Cover for Pink XI | Inspiration in Creation

  4. That is a clever cover, Dara! I also really like the picture you found of little Turnip and Sally. 🙂 Like you, it was a fine art cover that caught my eye and led me to the Pink books. I have always freely admitted that I regularly judge books by their covers. While I do love the original fine art covers, I think the headless dress cover for Manzanilla is great. I remember being excited about it when it was revealed.

    • I absolutely judge books by their covers, too, Paige. I’ve learned to like the headless dress covers (and they really aren’t bad), but I still miss the art. I always looked forward to seeing which portrait they would pick.

  5. Great cover – I love the way you phrased it… “my perfect Sally!” Don’t you love it when you stumble across perfection when you aren’t expecting it?

  6. Love the fine art cover – how clever of you to do this! I, too would love to see what you could come up with for the other books. You have a real knack for this, Dara.

    Covers definitely help me select books.

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