Editor’s Note: on September 1, 2019, Chickadee Prince Books will publish Bloomsbury’s Late Rose, a novel by Pen Pearson about the often-overlooked Edwardian poet, Charlotte Mew. For this cover, like several others, we used San Francisco artist, Kelly Airo. Here, Kelly talks about the cover, how she created the art, and what artists inspired her. It is available for pre-order in paperback from your favorite local independent bookstore, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and on Kindle.
Kelly Airo: For this illustration/portrait I mostly wanted to capture Charlotte Mew as the independent, artistic woman she was. I wanted the portrait to show Charlotte as a complex and intelligent person. To me the painting was more about capturing her character rather than an exact likeness, as there aren’t a lot of photos of her for reference.
As for the style of the painting, I drew inspiration from the illustrators of Mew’s era like Elizabeth Shippen Green and Charles Dana Gibson. My intention was to make a book cover that would draw in the modern reader, but wouldn’t have looked all that out of place in the time of Charlotte and Anne Mew.