Harry Furniss's eighteen-volume edition of The Charles Dickens Library (London: Educational Book Company, 1910) contains some 500 special plates (part of the total of 1200 illustrations in the set) and two volumes of commentary. Volume 17, edited by J. A. Hammerton and containing just two original Furniss illustrations — the self-portrait Harry Furniss, From a sketch by himself (1910) and Characters in the Stories (the ornamental border of the title-page), is entitled The Dickens Picture Book: A Record of the Dickens Illustrators. Since the order of the volumes is roughly chronological, the second volume, entitled Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, precedes the third volume, entitled Oliver Twist and A Child's History of England (probably because the novel in that volume was the next that Dickens published after Pickwick). Owing to the length of Pickwick (817 pages and a nineteen-month serialisation), editor J. A. Hammerton did not need to fill out this volume with short stories or journalistic pieces, so that all forty-one original plates by Furniss relate to the novel.

Bibliographical Information

Although series editor, J. A. Hammerton, does not specifically mention the recently published Chapman and Hall anthology of the Household Edition illustrations, he claims that Furniss's large-scale composite woodblock engravings from the first British uniform edition of Dickens's complete works must have had almost as much of an impact on Furniss's extensive program as the original Cruikshank and Phiz illustrations:

The first popular edition of Pickwick was issued in the autumn of 1847, with a new preface by Dickens and a frontispiece by C. R. Leslie, R. A. It would be something of a task to enumerate all the editions that have since appeared, or to give an account of the different artists who have exercised their pencils on the Pickwick group of characters. Mr. Joseph Grego has devoted an important two-volume work to the latter subject, reviewing all the "extra illustrations" and containing 350 pictures; while Mssrs. Chapman & Hall have recently issued an edition of Pickwick in which 269 illustrations have been brought together. It is doubtful whether any single work has ever attracted so many noteworthy artists. ["The Story of This Book," vii-viii]

The Charles Dickens Library Edition, Volume II. Published by The Educational Book Co. Ltd., London in 1910. Hard-back binding in navy cloth covers, gilt title, author lettering, and volume number to the spine, gilt "CD" motif to the upper panel, top edge gilt, illustrated end papers. octavo. 7½" x 5½" (i. e., 19.1 cm long by 12.8 cm wide).

Harry Furniss's Illustrations for Pickwick (1910)

Despite what Hammerton says, not all of Furniss's forty-one pen-and-ink drawings for Pickwick reach his usual standard. Nonetheless, his individual portraits of the various Pickwickians and lesser characters in the picaresque novel effectively synthesize the work of the illustrators who preceded him, particularly Phiz in both the 1836-37 original serial and the 1874 Household Edition. Furniss's full-page lithographs have the merit of being, as the title-page proclaims them, "original," and they also have the virtue of consistency. Furniss begins with a dramatic frontispiece and engraved title-page that depict all the characters in miniature on the ornate border. The characters include numerous character studies, such as the enraged Sergeant Buzfuz in Chapter 34. In some cases, Furniss re-imagines the material handed down to him by previous illustrators with daring innovation — Mr. Pickwick under the Ice rather than on exemplifies Furnis making something new out of something old. Occasionally Furniss exaggerates the caricatures with unfortunate results as in Mr. Pickwick at Cards — Losing (Ch. 35), and his crowd scenes in this volume, such as The Election (Ch. 13), are generally muddled.

Other artists who illustrated this work, 1836-74

Nineteenth-Century Frontispieces for British and American Editions, 1836 to 1874

Above: Felix Octavius Carr Darley's beautifully engraved title-page vignettes for the Sheldon & Co. (New York) Household Edition volumes; left: Making a Start (vol. 1) 1861; centre: Joyful Tidings — Book I, Ch. XXXV (vol. II, 1863); right: Closing in — Book II, Ch. XXX (vol. 4, 1863).

Selections from the Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club

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

Bibliography

Bentley, Nicolas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. New York and Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1990.

Cohen, Jane Rabb. Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators. Columbus: Ohio State U. P., 1980.

Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Checkmark and Facts On File, 1999.

Dickens, Charles. Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Illustrated by Robert Seymour and Hablot Knight Browne ("Phiz"). The Authentic Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1901 [rpt. of the 1868 volume, based on the 30 May 1857 volume].

_____. Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club/span>. Frontispieces by Felix Octavius Carr Darley and Sir John Gilbert. The Household Edition. 55 vols. New York: Sheldon & Co., 1863. 4 vols.

_____. Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867. 14 vols.

_____. Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Illustrated by Thomas Nast. The Household Edition. 18 vols. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1873. Vol. II.

_____. Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ('Phiz'). The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874. Vol. V.

_____. Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. II.

Hammerton, J. A. "The Story of This Book." Charles Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educationl Book, 1910. Vol. II, i-viii.

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.

Scenes and characters from the works of Charles Dickens; being eight hundred and sixty-six drawings, by Fred Barnard, Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz); J. Mahoney; Charles Green; A. B. Frost; Gorgon Thomson; J. McL. Ralston; H. French; E. G. Dalziel; F. A. Fraser, and Sir Luke Fildes; printed from the original woodblocks engraved for "The Household Edition." London & New York: Chapman and Hall, 1908.

Schlicke, Paul, ed. The Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1999.


Created 16 November 2019

Last modified 29 February 2020