Any short story can be read as one installment in a much larger work." (Hughes and Lund, The Victorian Serial  236)
The "larger work" in the case of the short fiction of Thomas Hardy would be "The Wessex Novels," many of his serially published short stories having been subsequently in three volumes, Wessex Tales (Macmillan, 1888), Life's Little Ironies (Macmillan, 894), and A Changed Man and Other Tales (Macmillan, 1913). Not all of Hardy's serially-published stories were illustrated. Although he began writing such abbreviated tales in 1865 ("How I Built My House" in the March issue of Chamber's Journal), not until the appearance of the novella The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid in the summer number of the Graphic in 1883 was a piece of Hardy's short fiction actually published initially with illustration. Sadly, although they afford ample opportunity for such artistic complement, none of the stories collected in Wessex Tales and only one of the stories in the framed-tale A Group of Noble Dames was illustrated because such periodicals as the Bolton Weekly Journal ("A Mere Interlude," 1885), the Manchester Weekly Times ("Alicia's Diary," 1887), and the renowned Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine ("The Withered Arm," 1888) did not provide such agreeable but costly accompaniments. Only at the close of the 1880s with the publication of the first of what would become A Group of Noble Dames did Hardy's short stories start to acquire appropriate illustration, the "A Tryst at an Ancient Earthwork," first published in England in the English Illustrated Magazine (December 1893) having been treated as if it were a non-fiction account by receiving four grainy photographic accompaniments provided by the professional photographer W. Pouncy of Dorchester. Thus, of Hardy's forty-four short stories (of which only thirty-seven were collected, according to Martin Ray in Thomas Hardy: A Textual Study of the Short Stories, 1997), a much smaller number should be considered illustrated fiction: using the principles of initial illustrated serial publication in Great Britain, and of each segment of a group of framed tales such as "Wessex Folk" being a separate story (and specifically excluding the novella The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid), one arrives at a figure of twenty-one. However, proof of Hardy's having been actively involved in the composition or development of any of these illustrations, with the exception of those for "The First Countess of Wessex" is negligible. A total of fourteen artists, many of them leaders of fin-de-siecle illustration, provided periodicals such as Harper's New Monthly Magazine with a total of some fifty-seven illustrations for twenty-one stories, some as woodcuts and others as lithographs. These illustrators in chronological order of the appearance of their work in British or Anglo-British periodicals are
- George Lambert, 1888
- Charles S. Reinhart, 1889
- William Hatherell, 1890 and 1893
- Alfred Parsons, 1891
- Charles Green, 1891
- W. Hennessey ("To Please His Wife," 1891
- Wal Paget ("On The Western Circuit," 1891
- A. Forestier ("The Son's Veto," 1891
- W. B. Wollen ("Master John Horseleigh, Knight," 1893
- Arthur J. Goodman, 1894
- H. Burgess ("A Committee-man of 'the Terror'," 1896
- George M. Patterson, 1897
- A. S. Hartrick ("A Changed Man," 1899
- Gordon Browne ("A Mere Interlude," 1903).
"The Romantic Adventures of a Milkmaid" by Charles Stanley Reinhart
- "The Attitude Bespoke Anguish"
- "I Can't Get out of This Dreadful Tree!"
- "What Be You Here For?"
- "Jim stopped at the Kiln, While Mrs. Peach held the Horse"
"A Changed Man" by A. S. Hartrick (1899)
"A Tragedy of Two Ambitions" by George Lambert
- On the way to the Hall
- Uncaptioned tail-piece for Part I
- Uncaptioned illustration [The Gypsy wife]
- Uncaptioned illustration [Mr. Fellmer's estate]
- Uncaptioned illustration [Man and woman mowing the meads in June]
- Uncaptioned illustration [Bell-ringers celebrating the birth of a son and heir to the Fellmers]
Illustrations of various works by William Hatherell
"The First Countess of Wessex" by various artists
- "Headpiece": by Alfred Parsons
- "Falls-Park": by Alfred Parsons
- "At the Sow-and-Acorn" by C. S. Reinhart
- "She Beheld the Object of Her Search Sitting on the Horizontal Bough of a Cedar" by C. S. Reinhart
- "He Rode Away in the Direction of Bristol" by Alfred Parsons
- "So He Stormed on till Tupcombe Entered Suddenly"
- "The Drive, King's-Hintock Park" by Alfred Parsons
- "Betty Lay upon the Floor" by C. S. Reinhart
"The Grave by the Hand-post" by George M. Patterson
- Initial uncaptioned headnote
- "I Am Not Worthy To Be Called Thy Son"
- Where His Father Lay Buried
- Sat down on the bank by the wayside
"An Imaginative Woman" by Arthur J. Goodman (1894)
- Initial uncaptioned plate as the bannerhead
- Initial "W"
- By Jove, how far you've gone!
- "I know his name very well; . . . and his writings"
- "'The mantle of Elijah,' she said."
- Then she scanned again . . . the half-obliterated pecilling on the wall"
- He . . . beheld a crouching object beside a newly made grave"
- [William Marchmill, now a widower, holds his son]
"Master John Horseleigh, Knight" by W. B. Wollen (1893)
- Initial uncaptioned plate as the bannerhead
- Inquiring of a bystander, he learnt for the first time of the death of his brother-in-law
- The door opened, and the candle she held in her hand lighted for a moment the stranger's form.
- On his arm being a portly dame
- "Liar!" he said, "to call thyself her husband!"
- "Headpiece of Dorchester Highstreet" by Alfred Parsons (introduces framed tales, which begin with "Tony Kytes, The Arch-Deceiver")
- "Among Those Who Danced Most Continually Were the Two Engaged Couples" by Charles Green (for "The History of the Hardcomes")
- "He Went Out and Closed the Door Behind Him" by Charles Green (for "The Superstitious Man's Story")
- "The Clerk Saw the Hunting Man Pass" by Charles Green (for "Andrey Satchel and the Parson and the Clerk")
- "Then Levi Limpet Nudged Timothy and Nicholas" by Charles Green (for "Absent-Mindedness in a Parish Choir")
- "'Give me those letters', he said." by Charles Green
- "They Had a Good Supper Together, and Talked Over Their Affairs" by Charles Green (for "Incident in the Life of Mr. George Crookhill")
- "He Was Stone-Dead" by Charles Green, (for "Netty Sargent's Copyhold")
"To Please His Wife"
- Ornamental headnote with a vignette of Hardy
- "He advanced to their elbow. . ."
- "When on the hill behind the port. . ."
"A Mere Interlude" by Gordon Browne
- I have agreed to have him for my husband . . . "
- "Not Baptista? Yes, Baptista it is! . . . "
- Hastening along, she proceeded inland . . .
- [He] Handed Baptista a newspaper . . .
- The old man jumped up from his chair and began to caper round the room. . . .
- Three tall, hipless, shoulderless girls, dwindling in height, like a row of Pan pipes.
"A Committeeman of 'The Terror.'" by H. Burgess
Last modified 19 April 2010