A Mystery Cover in Series One

I recently moved. That meant putting hundreds of books into boxes including all of my NCL collection. After the move was over and the new apartment’s furniture had found its place, it was time to re-shelve all the books I had packed the previous weeks. During this re-emergence, I came across an anomaly in the Series One books I had amassed.

Morley Callaghan’s Such Is My Beloved (#2 in the series) has two different author portraits on the front cover. I was quite surprised as I have had these books for years and never noticed it before. In my collection I have six copies of the book and all have the same portrait except one. Here is an image of the more common front cover:

Such Is My Beloved Earlier Author Portrait

Five of the six copies I own have the above author portrait. I should mention that Frank Newfeld is the artist. He created all the portrait images for the Series One covers. Now the sixth book does not, it has the portrait of Morley Callaghan you see on the covers of the two other books Callaghan has in Series One. That is, More Joy In Heaven (#17) and They Shall Inherit the Earth (#33). Here is the portrait I am speaking of:

Such Is My Beloved Later Author Portrait

Such Is My Beloved Later Author Portrait

After seeing both portraits, a question comes to mind, especially if you are not familiar with what Mr. Callaghan looked like in person (he died in 1990). We can assume the portrait of the man at an older age with the pipe is Callaghan, otherwise the people at M&S made one grand mistake having that portrait on three books in Series One. A quick look at Callaghan’s photo on his author’s page here on the website shows M&S got it right:

A Morley Callaghan Comparison

At least to me the two images are quite similar but I will let the reader decide for him or herself.

But the question I was mentioning that comes to mind is, Who is the person that is represented in the more common portrait drawing? The first thing that popped into my mind was that it was M&S making another one of their blunders putting the wrong author portrait on the front cover. I checked all the other portraits on the Series One books and this portrait did not show up on any of the 67 books. So who is this person? Then I reasoned that perhaps Newfeld created two images of Morley Callaghan, one of him in his youth and the other in middle-age. I went looking for a photo of Mr. Callaghan in his younger years and found one. I compared it to the Newfeld portrait and yes, it seems the two images look similar. But again, I will let the reader decide. Here is the comparison:

A Younger Morley Comparison

Now that the mystery of the portraits is solved, it leads to the question as to why the Series One book changed covers. What was the motivation? Looking at the reprint data on the copyright pages of the books, the Morley Callaghan portrait in middle-age was the later cover showing up at the end of the Series One publishing time period in 1969. Perhaps Newfeld withdrew the rights to the younger Callaghan image (if Newfeld had copyright over it anyway). Perhaps M&S lost the hard copy or negative of the image so switched it for the middle-aged portrait. I guess we will never know, but it does seems strange as to why they would change it. Perhaps, and this is my guess, they just made a mistake thinking the middle-aged image was the proper one to use when they began printing the books in 1969. That image was the one used for the other two Callaghan books in the series. It seems the most reasonable and simplest explanation. And the simplest answer is usually the right answer.

3 thoughts on “A Mystery Cover in Series One

  1. Fascinating. I have the first, and know I’ve seen the second, but it never occurred to me that the cover image had been changed.

    I’ve always assumed that the portrait was meant to depict Stephen Dowling, the protagonist, only now realizing that series one covers invariably depicted respective authors. I say Dowling because, to these eyes, the image looks nothing at all like Callaghan – not at any stage in his life. Simply put, the face is far to lean; Callaghan’s face was always soft and round.

    The second image is recognizably Callaghan, leading me to wonder if the change had come about for no other reason that the first really didn’t look like the author. Even more intriguing is the possibility that it was not a portrait of Callaghan at all, and was simply used because it was available at the time.

    A final thought: As one of the “first four”, could it be that the idea of always putting author portraits on covers hadn’t yet been made?

  2. I see Callaghan in the first image but only if you look from the nose and lips then outwards. The face is too long and not wide enough though. But the nose is almost exact. Your final thought is interesting to contemplate but since Grove, Leacock, and Ross are all depicted on every book I have seen or own, reprints and first prints, I have like 10 of As For Me and My House and it was always the same image, that’s why its strange as to why the image change happened for Such Is My Beloved. If portraits were thought of later after the “first four” then the Grove, Leacock and Ross portraits are out of place. Perhaps they replaced it because no one recognized it as Callaghan. But then why did it take so long since the change came late in the printing of Series One, in 1969.

  3. I don’t think I explained things clearly enough, II. My speculation was that maybe, just maybe, with the “first four” there was no firm policy yet in place regarding cover images, meaning that the chosen image might be one of the author (as with the Grove, Leacock and Ross) or could be a character (which might explain the Callaghan). I didn’t mean to suggest that the other three might also have been changed.

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