It is obvious that books, overall, are in eclipse. According to the Guardian, adult nonfiction sales from 2009 to 2014 fell 21%. I pay attention to what people discuss, and they no longer discuss books; it is always their techno-gadgets. Knowing that this may be the last book I will ever write in this category of adult nonfiction (my seventh), I pushed to have this be as beautiful a physical object as possible. After all, an e-reader is a chunk of plastic.
"The Brandywine" has cover art that wraps across most of the dust jacket, spanning more than a foot. Inside, the pages are thick, warm-white paper with a deckled edge, very classic. This is the first lengthy history of the Brandywine since 1940 and is meant to be passed down.
I had intended to have an Andrew Wyeth painting on the cover. His estate denied permission. I have seen Titian paintings on book covers, but Titian's estate is really, really lenient.
I was able to use some Wyeth art inside, in particular his very early drawings and paintings that show how he belongs to a nineteenth-century cultural tradition on the Brandywine, learned from his father, the painter N. C. Wyeth. I have tried very hard to put these artists in a larger context. Here is a 1940 Andy Wyeth (or Andrew, as his estate had me change all references):