Friday, May 8, 2009

Barbara Allister: The Captivated Countess

This is hopefully, the first of many book covers by Allan Kass that I list in this blog! I will be publishing the book covers alphabetically by author since I'm still looking for some older illustrations of Allan's.

This book was published in April 1986 by Signet, a division of New American Library, at the height of the Regency Romance popularity! I believe that this was the height of Allan's art, also. Not only is the couple beautiful, but his attention to detail with the clock on the mantle and the trim of her shawl are magnificent! Click on the photo to enlarge!

Most of the romances published in the 70's and 80's were painted canvasses that the artists were commissioned by the publishing houses to produce. Allan wrote to me that he only had 200 of the approximately 1000 book cover canvasses in his possession, even though they were his intellectual property. Many were given to the book authors or given away by the publishing houses. One of the reasons I wanted to start this blog is that there is so little known about the illustrators of the 1970's- 1990's. Now, most romance illustrations are photographs of people, which I believe is cheaper to create, but most of the beauty is lost.

Allan Kass illustrated 4 of Barbara Allister's books. The Captivated Countess is about a girl named Catherine who, as a girl, falls in love with Dominic. He weds another and they meet later after he is widowed and she is an exile from polite society.

You can find older books like this in a used book store or thrift shop. Unfortunately, regency romances are not being published much anymore. Signet and Zebra publishers quit in 2005. Hopefully soon they will make a comeback!

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