Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock

A classic miniature: a brilliant satire on the Romantic novel. ...more info on wikipedia

About the artist: Jonathan Whittyfrom the UK

Jon Whitty has been drawing and painting since he can remember. He studied fine art and art history at the university, whilst generally reading a lot of books. He began a career in design in his early twenties and currently works for BLACKLIGHT design, an agency in Brighton.

Why this work

“There are few existing covers or imagery for this novel, so I was drawn towards it by the idea of it being a blank canvas. The book is a satire of the romantic period set against a Gothic, sometimes morbid backdrop. There is little by the way of plot (the novel has more in common with Plato’s Symposium in this respect), but Peacock writes to clash ideas - art and science, classical and romantic, comedy and ennui - which offers a fantastic scope for imagery and creativity. And that’s exactly what I wanted in my cover: to clash visuals in the same way that his writing clashed themes and ideas. I’ve used a focal image that draws inspiration straight from the Gothic era in which the novel is set. The angel is representative of the misanthropic darkness of the cast of characters, who carry influence over the younger protagonist. Like the author, I’ve juxtaposed this gloom with a bold pink to represent the comedy - a visual interpretation of the satire. I’ve also included various spot details to mirror and/or reference the many fantastic one-liners, so that the cover, like the book, has subtle treasures buried within.”