The 1912 novel "Corporal Cameron" by Ralph Connor1 had been sitting on my "To Be Blogged" shelf for more than year. It remained there, even through periodic purges, because of its unique and eye-catching endpapers, which are shown above in the wide view and below in a detail shot.
I hope the scans do this justice.2
What do you think of this illustration? What medium has been used? Clay?
Although the endpapers feature only a photograph of this illustration, it gives off a certain three-dimensional feel.
With regard to the artist, there's a name in the lower-left corner of the illustration. But it's not 100% legible. Joan and I have some thoughts on what the name is, but I don't want to plant any ideas in your mind before you look at it. Take a gander and tell me what you think in the comments section. If we can figure out who the artist was, perhaps we can learn more about this unique piece of art.
1. A few things:
- The full title of "Corporal Cameron" is "Corporal Cameron of the North West Mounted Police (A Tale of the Macleod Trail)."
- Ralph Connor was the pen name for Rev. Dr. Charles William Gordon (1860-1937). The Canadian was both a popular novelist and a leader in the Presbyterian Church and United Church of Canada.
- According to a Goodreads reviewer, Connor created "the first great fictional Mountie hero" and "based Allan Cameron on the real-life Sergeant William Fury."1 (This was decades before Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.)
- Regarding a different Ralph Connor novel, I made a one-off joke in August 2012.
1. Regarding William Fury, the following is written in "Sam Steele and the Northwest Rebellion: The Trail of 1885" by Wayne F. Brown:
"The aptly named William Fury was a very competent frontier Mountie who survived being shot in the chest during the fighting at Loon Lake. He was left with a collapsed lung, which limited his ability to exert himself, so he applied for invalid status and left the NWMP in 1888. ... He was awarded an uncontested pension and took up farming near Richmond Hill, Ontario, where he died in 1936. He was buried with full military honours in Killean, Ontario."