Victorian Reformations: New Subtitle Requested by the Publisher (I'm thinking Historical Fiction and Religious Controversy, 1820-1900) needs, among other things, a cover illustration. Because I have to bear the cost of any permissions, I'm a little wary of museum holdings--this, for example, is pretty tempting (and I mention the painting in my book), but the museum's reproduction costs for a color cover are not cheap. Ergo, I'm thinking book/magazine illustrations, which will still require photography costs but, at least, won't break the bank.
So, I've started in the logical place, which happens to be my library.
Here's the frontispiece to Emily Sarah Holt's Mistress Margery:
Most of my novels skimp on images of people being burned at the stake. Can't think why. The illustration is on point, albeit somewhat grim, and I do spend a fair amount of time talking about gendered images of martyrdom.
"The Wise Expositor" from G. E. Sargent's Richard Hunne:
People reading the Bible, one of my book's big themes! Except...you can't really tell that that's a Bible on the table. Hmmm. Also, the "man explicates, woman listens" imagery oversimplifies how scenes of Bible reading work in these novels.
A queen reads from the Bible in W. Oak Rhind's Hubert Ellerdale:
Here, it's clearer what's going on; in addition, the illustration speaks to a couple of points I make about the role of women's reading communities in these novels and, in general, representations of women reading the Bible aloud.
Finally, the frontispiece to W. H. G. Kingston's The Martyr of Brentwood:
Color! More to the point, this frontispiece illustrates what my book is about--Victorians being obsessed by the Reformation. Here we have some Victorians reverently contemplating a memorial to a Reformation martyr. Problem is, I don't think the inscription is clear enough to make the frontispiece's subject self-evident.