Mr. Micawber in His Element. — Twenty-ninth illustration by Fred Barnard for the 1872 Household Edition of David Copperfield (Chapter XXVIII, "Mr. Micawber's Gauntlet," but located on p. 201 in the previous chapter). 9.5 cm high by 13.8 cm wide (3 ¾ by 5 ½ inches), vignetted. Headline for page 201: "Traddles's History." Headline on p. 205: "Mr. Micawber's Banquet." [Click on image to enlarge it. Mouse over text for links.]

Passage Illustrated: Micawber and Punch

Fred Barnard's photogravure of the shabby-genteel Micawber against the backdrop of a shabby London street: Mr. Micawber (1912).

Having laid in the materials for a bowl of punch, to be compounded by Mr. Micawber; having provided a bottle of lavender-water, two wax-candles, a paper of mixed pins, and a pincushion, to assist Mrs. Micawber in her toilette at my dressing-table; having also caused the fire in my bedroom to be lighted for Mrs. Micawber’s convenience; and having laid the cloth with my own hands, I awaited the result with composure. [Chapter XXVIII, "Mr. Micawber's Gauntlet," p. 204]


Barnard depicts the genial Wilkins Micawber in his element, admiring the glass of punch that he has just prepared. One wonders, however, why Barnard has left the lemon uncut and unsqueezed when clearly all the other ingredients are already in the bowl.

Related Material

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.]


Dickens, Charles. The Personal History of David Copperfield, illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ("Phiz"). The Centenary Edition. London & New York: Chapman & Hall, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911 [rpt. from 1850]. 2 vols.

_______. David Copperfield, with 61 illustrations by Fred Barnard. Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1872. Vol. 3.

_______. David Copperfield. Illustrated by W. H. C. Groome. London and Glasgow: Collins Clear-type Press, 1907. No. 1.

The copy of the Household Edition from which this picture was scanned was the gift of George Gorniak, Editor of The Dickens Magazine, whose subject for the fifth series, beginning in January 2010, is this novel.

Created 19 August 2016

Last modified last updated 2 August 2022