Beggar Bishop Back Cover Illustration
This week, I was going through old correspondence in regards to my research for the Asbury Triptych Series. I came across the folder in which I held several letters from Richard G. Douglas, the artist who painted the front covers of my upcoming books, Beggar Bishop and Ordination. The letters were received over an 18 month period, back in 2012 and 2013. Each one of Mr. Douglas’s letters, were hand written, answering some of my questions and requests for artwork. At the time, I was eagerly seeking a new type of item, a painting of a young Francis Asbury for the cover of the first book in the Asbury Triptych trilogy, Black Country. As you may know from a previous post and as I didn’t know at the time of my correspondence with the artist, Richard G. Douglas was no longer able to paint. He was 75 years of age and suffering from Parkinsons disease. His apologetic and compassionate letters of encouragement are special to me. I have written about that experience in another post about the Francis Asbury Triptych Artists.
Going through the four letters I received from Mr. Douglas, I was drawn to the largest envelope, the one containing the copies of his hand drawings. There were three. One of them was a drawing of a young Francis Asbury, shoeing a horse for a Wesleyan itinerant. The itinerant almost looks like John Wesley himself. Asbury is pictured with his shoeing-tool in hand, removing a worn shoe from the traveling preacher’s large horse. Richard G. Douglas’s depiction of Francis Asbury, young, vibrant, and dressed in his blacksmithing leather apron is a fine piece of work, all set inside what would appear to be an 18th-century, West-Midlands, iron-working facility.
The second and third drawings were related, one of Francis Asbury at the docks in Bristol, England, readying for departure to the American Colonies. The other drawing was the arrival of Francis Asbury and Richard Wright in Philadelphia. The two are pictured, loading from the large ship into a smaller vessel designed for the Philadelphia port.
The welcomed discovery of these letters and illustrations led to this post.
In my last post about the new Beggar Bishop Covers, I had mentioned that the line drawing which places on the rear cover of the book was given to my by Richard G. Douglas, as a gift, in the same fashion as the illustrations mentioned above. Unfortunately, the illustration of Francis Asbury sleeping against his horse as the man and creature lay on the ground was not obtained from Mr. Douglas through hand-written correspondence. It seems that I must have located this illustration from the internet. I apologize for accidentally misrepresenting that this line-drawing was one of the illustrations sent to me by Richard G. Douglas himself.
In closing, several months ago I attempted to correspond once again with Richard G. Douglas. Unfortunately, I have not heard back from him. I do hope that he is well, but my heart senses otherwise. If I do hear from him, I will mention to him that I plan to use his line drawing of Asbury and his horse on the rear cover of Beggar Bishop. In addition, if I do hear from Mr. Douglas, I will post an update. I thank you for understanding my attempt to correct this accidental misunderstanding about the line drawing on the back cover of Beggar Bishop. It was unintentional, going from memory of correspondence four years ago.