Subscribe now

Press Release Universe Signs Julia Grigg

Universe acquires debut historical fiction The Eyes That Look by Julia Grigg

‘Julia Grigg’s The Eyes that Look is an important and knowledgeable book about art history which also happens to be a beautifully written novel’ Fay Weldon

Universe, the historical fiction imprint of Unicorn Publishing Group LLP, is pleased to announce that it has acquired World English Language rights to The Eyes That Look: The Secret Story of Bassano's Hunting Dogs, a historical novel debut by author Julia Grigg due for publication in October 2018.

The Two Hunting Dogs portrait of 1548 is an extraordinary painting with an unexplained past. In The Eyes That Look, Julia Grigg’s richly-imagined coming-of-age story, Francesco Bassano sets out to unravel the mystery of the portrait which his father, Jacopo, painted and furnish Giorgio Vasari with information entertaining enough to guarantee a favourable mention in his Lives of the Artists.

Francesco's adventures in pursuit of clues take him across a sweep of northern Italy to meet the masters of the High Renaissance and witness the era’s astonishing art and architectural masterpieces as they are being created. Heroic acts by the two loyal dogs featured in the painting lead inexorably to revelations fuelling the novel’s dramatic denouement, one which ultimately shapes Francesco’s destiny. A journey of self-discovery, art and adventure, The Eyes that Look entertains as it informs, inviting readers to come and revel in a Renaissance world of unrivalled artistic richness.

Unicorn Group Chairman Lord Strathcarron says: ‘We love the way that the creativity and intrigue of Renaissance Italy is brought to life, using the historical novel to open doors on this magical era.’

Julia Grigg says ‘I’m happy and gratified my novel is to be published by Universe. Years in the making, the story of The Eyes that Look began when my eye was caught by a Louvre exhibition publicity photo of Jacopo Bassano’s handsome painting depicting two dogs. My mind tussled with the mystery surrounding the portrait’s creation and my research for the book has allowed me to delve deep into the Italian Renaissance, indulging a lifelong fascination with its art, music and poetry’

Julia Grigg started out in arts, fashion, travel and food journalism but soon moved into a career with UNICEF as a writer and advocate for children’s issues in some of the world’s most demanding and complex countries. Impassioned by the Renaissance and a graduate of Bath Spa University Masters in Creative Writing, she is now working on her second novel, also set in mid 1500s Venice and Florence and involving some of the same cast of characters as The Eyes that Look. Dogs are another passion; she and her husband share their home with a pair of black and tan dachshunds.

The Eyes That Look * 1 October 2018 * Paperback, £13 * ISBN: 9781911604617 *

For media enquiries please contact: Louise Campbell
Phone: (07540) 892364 /Twitter: @UnicornPubGroup

Notes for editors: Unicorn Publishing Group LLP is a leading independent publisher with three distinct imprints: Unicorn, specialising in the visual arts and cultural history; Uniform, specialising in military history; and Universe, specialising in historical fiction. Unicorn Sales & Distribution is UPG’s and its client publishers’ marketing arm, with worldwide sales and distribution operations. UPG has its corporate and marketing offices in London and Chicago and a design studio in Lewes, Sussex. Learn more at