Friday, June 22, 2018

The Lesser Look: “Fifth Wife”

Part of a month-long celebration of Ron Lesser’s artistic legacy.

Fifth Wife, by Vincent Gowen (Pyramid, 1963; originally published in 1927 as Sun and Moon). It wasn’t until yesterday that I realized Father Gowen (1893-1984) was for many years the vicar at an Episcopal church on Bainbridge Island, located just west of Seattle, Washington. However, he had spent part of his youth engaged in missionary work in Asia.

On the matter of his cover art for this paperback edition of Fifth Wife, Ron Lesser explains he once again recruited his own spouse, Claudia, as his model. The fact that Claudia has featured on so many of the novel fronts included in this Killer Covers series (see here, here, here, and here) raises doubts about Lesser’s early statement that “she did not like to pose” for his paintings. But her reign as the artists muse seems, at least, to have had a short run; he says that “After the late ’70s I stopped using Claudia.”

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