Mr. Pickwick in The Pound

Mr. Pickwick in The Pound

Harold Copping


Colour lithograph, 7 x 5 inches

From Character Sketches from Dickens, facing p. 24.

The pathetic figure of Charles Dickens's protagonist, treated as if he were an arrant pig because the village has no proper gaol or lockup, is another memorable scene that Copping chose to illustrate in 1924. In Part 7 (October 1836), ch. 18, Pickwick, having drunk too much cold punch at a picnic lunch, is left passed out in a wheelbarrow. The owner, Captain Boldwig, apprehends Pickwick for trespassing, and transports him to the village pound, where Sam and Wardle rescue him shortly afterward. The scene in the pound anticipates Samuel Pickwick's unjust incarceration in the Fleet Prison in Part 15 (July 1837) as the plot of the breach-of-promise-of-marriage suit, "Bardell vs. Pickwick," darkens the book's heretofore comic tone and plot trajectory, the imprisonment of the kindly protagonist reflecting that of Dickens's own father in the Marshalsea for debt twelve years earlier. — Matz