The Complete Fursey

Book Covers

The Complete Fursey is made up of two books, "The Unfortunate Fursey" and  "The Return Of Fursey", by Irish author Mervyn Wall. Originally published in the 1940's, they were full of dark humour and satire and their main targets were Irish beurocracy and the Church, and as such, were quite contravertial at the time.... you can read about the books at the Swan River Press, and pick up a copy of these limited edition reissues.
“And His Angels Were Cast Out With Him”
Jacket illustration for "The Unfortunate Fursey"

Toward the end of 2014, I was approached by Brian J Showers at The Swan River Press about the possibility of doing illustrations for a pair of books he was in the process of republishing, The Unfortunate Fursey and The Return Of Fursey, by Mervyn Wall. They were originally published in the 1940's and are currently out of print. Wall himself was born in Dublin, and worked as a civil servant with the Arts Council of Ireland, as a broadcaster and critic and he is best remembered now for his plays and novels, among them two satirical fantasies set in medieval Ireland, the Fursey books.

I will admit to being completely  ignorant of these titles, but when, in the email he said "Both books are filled with dark comedy and savagely satire both the church and Irish bureaucracy", I decided there was a very good chance I would enjoy working on them. He sent on a sample chapter, and I was quite pleased to find it didn't disappoint. I eagerly requested the rest, and set about reading it, jotting down ideas as i went. A quick meeting with Brian established what he was looking for, and we went from there.
“After That He Must Be Loosed A Little Season"
Cover illustration for "The Unfortunate Fursey"
The original covers of the first editions were predominantly white and predominantly black respectively, and Brian thought it's be a nice nod to the originals to keep to that theme. The books, however were to have one image for the dustjacket, and another for the actual cover, and we though about revising those colour themes on the covers. I also thought it might be nice to set the dust jackets in an outdoors environment, and the covers inside.

The two scenes from the fist book that i felt might be fun to do we're Fursey leaving the Abbey and realising the devil and his minions had decided to tag along for the trip; and a scene in Fursey's room in the Abbey when the lads had just popped in to hang out, much to Fursey's horror.
“Their Blood Shall Be Upon Them”
Jacket illustration for "The Retuern Of Fursey"
The scenes chosen in the second book are of the sorcerers broomsticking it to the big meeting over yonder; and the lone sorcerer confronting the emerging demon just before... well you'll need to read it, anyway.
“Drink The Cup Of The Lord And The Cup Of Demons”
Cover illustration for "The Retuern Of Fursey"
The front jacket and cover for "The Return Of Fursey"
The back jacket and cover for "The Unfortunate Fursey"
The front jacket and cover for "The Unfortunate Fursey"
The back jacket and cover for "The Return Of Fursey"
Promotional posrtcards included in the pre-order packs.
Available soon in my shop.

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