Both Jake Bullock and Rich Whyte are British, and I'm amused that, given encouragement to use any period in any region, or to make up something out of whole cloth, they each defaulted to more or less Victorian England. (Apparently you can take the Brit out of England but you can't…)
Is this the influence of steampunk, do you suppose?
I find that the sketch by Jake Bullock seems to capture more of the flavor of “fantasy” and more of the notion of the academy building as a “main character” in its own right, where Rich Whyte's has more of the flavor of a period mystery or of the aforementioned steampunk. Covers are very important for genre fiction — they should immediately suggest the appropriate genre, and I think Jake Bullock's is doing a better job of that.
What do you think?
You can find more of Rich's work here.