xxx xxx

Initial letter "O" (umbrellas in a rainy churchyard) (page 641) vertically-mounted initial "O" (6 cm wide by 7.7 cm high), signed "H. A." in lower-left corner, signed "H. A." in lower-left corner. Helen Patterson Allingham, twelfth thumbnail vignette illustration for Thomas Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd in The Cornhill Magazine (November 1874), Chapters 52 ("Converging Courses.") through 57 ("A Foggy Night and Morning: Conclusion"), pages 641 through 673 (33.6 pages in instalment). The wood-engraver responsible for this illustration was Joseph Swain (1820-1909). [Click on the image to enlarge it; mouse over links.]

Right: The title-page for Volume 30 of The Cornhill Magazine (1874).

Exemplifying the pastoral aspect, Paterson-Allingham's final initial letter vignette takes us beyond the climatic confrontation of mighty opposites to the tale's dénouément, the secretive wedding of the mistress of Upper Weatherbury Farm and her estate manager. However, to learn the identities of those under the black umbrellas we shall have to read to the end of the instalment: "Ten minutes later two large umbrellas might have been seen moving from the same door [Bathsheba's], and through the mist along the road to the church. The distance was not more than a hundred yards, and these two sensible persons deemed it unnecessary to drive" (p. 672). The vignette is delightfully ambiguous as the walkers' identities and the nature of the service they are about to attend at the country church in the background, its tombstones implying a funeral rather than a wedding. In fact, of course, the conclusion of the novel involves both.

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Volume One: 1840-1892; Volume Three: 1903-1908, ed. Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate. Oxford: Clarendon, 1978, 1982.

Hardy, Thomas. Far From the Madding Crowd. With illustrations by Helen Paterson Allingham. The Cornhill Magazine. Vols. XXIX and XXX. Ed. Leslie Stephen. London: Smith, Elder, January through December, 1874. Published in volume on 23 November 1874.

Jackson, Arlene M. Illustration and the Novels of Thomas Hardy. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1981.

Created 27 October 2022