My Models Died Years Ago
By Lisa Brown
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 correspondent illustrated selves.
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:
Thanks so much for Sourcebooks for providing this shared guest post with me, and Lisa for writing it up originally. I was fascinated with the illustrations, and I love how Lisa used real pictures as her inspiration!