Today the bones of Milner Mansion lay in ruins. The great house, built by Titus Salt, Jr. in Bingley, UK around the Victorian Era, has it's own tragic tales and mysteries. Those living in the area inherit, if they choose, the lore of the mansion, access to the field where it stood, and may explore the rubble of brick, mosaic floor and what remains of its once great glasshouse floor.
Author Alyson Faye has planted her Gothic horror story "The Glass House" (published in Issue #141 of Space and Time Magazine) at Milner Mansion, back when the walls and the greenhouse stood strong. This is not Faye's first literary venture into the setting (see Night of the Rider by Demain Publishing.)
The Glass House is a story of maddening inheritance and monstrous responsibilities. It's slightly unsettling to read and a delightful indulgence.
For the magazine publication, I was fortunate to provide the illustration. In the few years I've been working with Space & Time, I've been secretly dying to illustrate horror. Still, I was apprehensive that I would find it too difficult to capture the tone of a dark tale within the limitations of my cartoonish style. Having completed the projected, I feel more confident, or at least hopeful, that those fears were unnecessary.
I spent some time referencing pulp horror illustrations, leafing trough digital volumes of Weird Tales and exploring techniques used by illustrators during the Victorian Era. All the while pulling from these works elements I hoped would incorporate well with my own style.
I collected reference photos for costume, props, and even planters appropriate for the period. As usual, there were four times as many unused references as there were included. But that is always part of the fun, discovering which pieces in the pile actually fit this particular puzzle. I also found a handful of visual references for the mansion and imagined the perspective one would take looking upon the house from inside the greenhouse.
Within the illustration there is a fetus-bean, a horned rider with hounds, reference to the rare Cypripedium Calceolus "lady's slipper" orchid of the Yorkshire Dales, a juvenile potted triffid (of the Penguin Books "hairy pineapple" variety,) --which I suspect the botanist father in the story might have been using in his experiments (big gasp.) Also, included is a nod and a bow to both the great Milner Field house as it once stood and how one would find it today.
May the mansion's legacy live on, fueled by the fascination and imagination of ones such as the talented Alyson Faye.