Thursday, 5 March 2015

Raymond Sheppard and The Hunted Head by Olivia Fitzroy (Part Three)

Here's the third and final part of my long article on Olivia FitzRoy and her books, focusing on "The Hunted Head" - the last of her novels. She was born eight years after Raymond Sheppard and died 11 year after him, both passing away from cancer (Sheppard at the age of 45; FitzRoy 48). Both author and artist died too young but both were prolific, with their work appearing together for just two books, to my knowledge.

I couldn't track down any books of poetry by FitzRoy but found a couple online. Strangely, FitzRoy gets a mention in Radical Visions: Poetry by Vietnam Veterans,  by Vicente F. Gotera (p.16 ):
Olivia FitzRoy was stationed in Ceylon as a flight direction officer with the Women's Royal Naval Service during WWII. Her poem "Toast" captures another side of war - utter ennui. The poem opens with a convincingly detailed description of setting:
All the way back from the air field
Along the jolting road,
Past the paddy fields
And the mud-covered water-buffalo,
I've been pretending to myself
That I am not thinking about letters

She is mentioned in other war poetry anthologies - even with erroneous biographical details - maybe one day her poems may be published.

To continue the last set of images drawn by Raymond Sheppard from "The Hunted Head"
The Hunted Head, p.123
"Armand handed her into the dinghy with a flourish"
Group of sailors take girl on row boat at quayside
The above image is just the sort of composition from Sheppard I find satisfying; it has a great point of view, the people are interesting, what's happening is well staged and the background is detailed enough to hold interest too.

The Hunted Head, p.129
Two people lie on floorboards

The Hunted Head, p.138
Girl with flowing cape rides horse uphill [same as dustjacket spine]

The Hunted Head, p.139
Border Collie

The Hunted Head, p.146
An eagle

The Hunted Head, p.153
Portrait of man

The Hunted Head, p.154
Dirk in scabbard

The Hunted Head, p.162
"“Come out or I fire!”"
Man, girl and boy in cave aim at uniformed soldier
Sheppard must have perfected 'cave drawing' by this time as he also does one in the Adventures of Tome Sawyer - see last picture - the light source gives him the opportunity to have large shadows and dramatic lighting.
The Hunted Head, p.164
A flintlock pistol

The Hunted Head, p.173
Portrait of man – Bonnie Prince Charlie

Compare Sheppard's portrait to the famous one (reproduced here from Wikipedia page couretsy of the national Galleries of Scotland Google Art Project)

The Hunted Head, p.174
"Fiona knew she would never forget that scene"
Several men in cave

The Hunted Head, p.187
Open Bible
FitzRoy ends the novel with the place and date it was written: Rarsaidh: 1954.

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