In anticipation of Dickens's long-awaited 1867-68 reading tour, which had been postponed by the American Civil War, the Boston publisher James T. Fields had commissioned from Eytinge ninety-six designs for wood-engravings to grace the pages of the exhaustive Diamond Edition of Dickens's works, each volume being of compact dimensions with very fine but sharp type. This volume, however, antedates that momentous visit to American shores.
On the verso of the title-page is the statement that James T. Fields, the author's friend and confidant, so valued since it authorized his firm as Dickens's sole representatives in the United States:
Gad's Hill Place, Higham by Rochester, Kent, Second April, 1867. By a special arrangement made with me and my English Publishers (partners with me in the copyright of my works), MESSRS. TICKNOR AND FIELDS, of Boston, have become the only authorized represenmtatives in America of the whole series of my books. CHARLES DICKENS.
William Winter in his autobiography recalls that Sol Eytinge, Jr.'s illustrations for Dickens's works "gained the emphatic approval of the novelist" (318), although of course the pair did not actively collaborate on this series, as did Hablot Knight Browne and Dickens for the 1849-50 forty serial illustrations for Chapman and Hall. Nevertheless, as one regards this series of sixteen individual and group character studies for Little Dorrit and appreciates them as exemplars of the new realism of the the sixties' manner of book and magazine illustration, one is tempted to agree with Winter that
The most appropriate pictures that have been made for illustration of the novels of Dickens, — pictures that are truly representative and free from the element of caricature, — are those made by Eytinge. . . . [317-318]
- Frontispiece, "Little Dorrit and Her Father" [Little Dorrit]
- "Rigaud and Cavalleto"
- "Mrs. Clennam and Arthur Clennam"
- "Flora and Mr. F.'s Aunt"
- "Little Dorrit and Maggy"
- "Mr. and Mrs. Flintwinch"
- "Young John Chivery"
- "Frederick Dorrit"
- "Mr. and Mrs. Meagles"
- "Mr. and Mrs. Henry Gowan"
- "Prunes and Prism"
- "The Merdle Party"
- "Mr. and Mrs. Plornish and John Edward Nandy"
- "Mr. Merdle, Mr. Sparkler, and Fanny"
- "Miss Wade and Tattycoram"
- "Casby and Pancks"
- Title-page for the "Diamond Edition" of Little Dorrit (1871).
- Cover of the "Diamond Edition" of Little Dorrit (1871).
Schlicke, Paul, ed. The Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1999.
Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. Il. Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1871.
Kitton, Frederic George. Dickens and His Illustrators: Cruikshank, Seymour, Buss, "Phiz," Cattermole, Leech, Doyle, Stanfield, Maclise, Tenniel, Frank Stone, Landseer, Palmer, Topham, Marcus Stone, and Luke Fildes. Amsterdam: S. Emmering, 1972. Re-print of the London 1899 edition.
Winter, William. "Charles Dickens" and "Sol Eytinge." Old Friends: Being Literary Recollections of Other Days. New York: Moffat, Yard, & Co., 1909. Pp. 181-202, 317-319.
Last modified 14 January 2011