I'm studying James Wolfe so I can write a book Knopf has commissioned. It's to be inspired by 232 letters he wrote, mostly to his mother Henrietta, from the day he enlisted as a child soldier in the British army to his last letter dated two weeks before his death in the battle on Quebec's Heights of Abraham. The letters are housed in the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library in Toronto: five floors of volumes in a vaulted, pentagonal space whispering old secrets.
I'll study many words in the coming months, on paper stained and rendered transparent by ink or sealing wax and the touch of long-gone hands. But here I'll share my drawings and sketches. This first one is a pencil sketch of the white quilted dressing gown in which Wolfe is said to have been wrapped shortly before his burial.