[Decorative initial based on an illustration by George Cruikshank.]

decorative initial 'B' orn the same year as Thomas Hardy, Robert Barnes, a domestic and figure painter as well as a magazine illustrator, worked first at Sydney Cottage and then from Gossom's Lodge, both in Great Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire (just north of London), moving to Elmside, Redhill (Surrey, just south of London) between 1876 and 1883. There he produced a series of ten paintings which he exhibited at the Royal Academy, including Grandfather's Portrait (1883), The Grace (1887), The Maid of the Mill (1888), A Special Jury and A Common Jury (1890), and Mr. Justice Hawkins Sums Up (1891). In 1888 he exhibited at l'Exposition Internationale 3 in Vienna. From 1893 until his death he resided at Ormond House, Cliveden Place, Brighton.

In the 1860s he distinguished himself among the second rank of illustrators, although his drawing lacked the originality of such artists as Walker and Pinwell. "His range was very much theirs, because he was at his best in rural genre subjects and one of his most important commissions was to illustrate the first serialisation of The Mayor of Casterbridge in The Graphic . . . " 4 In 1876 elected Associate of the Royal Watercolour Society, Barnes contributed to such periodicals as The Churchman's Family Magazine (1863), Once A Week (1864), The Cornhill (1864, 1869-70, 1884), Cassell's (1870 and 1890), The Illustrated London News (1872-7), and The Graphic (1880, 1885-9). His works appear in the collections of the Victoria and Albert and Dorset County Museums, the latter housing six of his twenty original drawings for The Graphic's serialisation of The Mayor of Casterbridge.


Allingham, Philip V. "A Consideration of Robert Barnes' Illustrations for Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge as Serialised in the London Graphic: 2 January-15 May, 1886." Victorian Periodicals Review 28, 1 (Spring 1995): 27-39

Chase, Mary Ellen. Thomas Hardy from Serial to Novel. New York: Russell & Russell, 1964.

Hardy, Thomas. The Mayor of Casterbridge. The Graphic 33 (1886).

Jackson, Arlene. "The Mayor of Casterbridge: Realism and Metaphor."Illustration and the Novels of Thomas Hardy. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1981. 96-104.

Created 5 December 2000

Last updated 18 March 2024