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My Models Died Years Ago, Part I.

ALMOST EVERY CHARACTER in Picture the Dead has a real-life 19th century counterpart, unearthed from the archives of the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress. Here are some of my models and their correspondant illustrated selves.

Jennie Lovell

Our heroine, Jennie Lovell.

Tobias Lovell

Jennie's twin brother, Tobias.

William Pritchett

Jennie's fiancé, William Pritchett.

Quincy Pritchett

Will's brother, Quincy Pritchett.

Uncle Henry

Uncle Henry Pritchett.

And here a little side note regarding dear Aunt Clara. I honestly had trouble finding a model who was detestable enough to represent Clara in all her vile-ness. I was particularly keen to portray Adele’s incredible description of a “chin that wobbled like aspic.” Nobody during the Civil War era seemed to have such a chin. I tried concocting a composite from several existing portraits, but, in the end, I had to invent Clara out of whole cloth, sketching her out by hand. I gave her the requisite double chin, little girly ringlets, and an air of entitlement. Voila. Aunt Clara.

Here, at least, is an example of a model for her dress, expanded:

Aunt Clara

Aunt Clara Pritchett.

A later post will bring more models for more minor characters…

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7 Responses

  1. Ok, this is pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Love seeing the inspiration for each of your characters.

    There are a few characters in our books whose physical appearances were inspired by real people, but they’re still alive. And we may or may not have attended high school with them. Yeah, that could get awkward.

    One of the guys is really hot. We stalk him via Twitter.

    Wow, TMI. Sorry about that.

    Lisa and Laura
  2. I like Mavis. She’s looking very proper but I think there’s some mischief in her eyes. Thanks for all the great images!

  3. Sorry, Mavis is in the Part II post! But I still like her best.

  4. I must admit, swell choice on that Mr William Pritchett, quite a handsome fellow. Were there other peoples pictures that you had to choose between for the main characters? And where did you to look for them? I would have loved to go out antiquing for my characters, just finding random pictures in old frames and seeing the face of a character in my book staring back at me. Quite an interesting mode of character development I think.

  5. William Pritchetts character came out wonderful. You can even see the smirk

  6. Well! Jennie’s fiance Will is definitely swoon-worthy! It’s a darn shame we never got to meet him alive in the book! Those eyes …!

    As for Quinn’s model — what’s with the hand stuck inside his coat? In your illustration, you’ve made it look debonair and dashing, but in the real photograph, his coat is all bunched up like a shoplifter! Poor fellow couldn’t quite pull off dashing, I guess.

  7. Cool pictures

    Riv Re

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