by Thomas Nast (1873)
The illustration appears in the American Edition of Charles Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club, Chapter XV, "In Which is given a faithful portraiture of two distinguished persons, and an accurate description of a public breakfast in their house and grounds: which public breakfast leads to the recognition of an old acquaintance, and the commencement of another chapter," p. 91. Wood-engraving, 4 1⁄16 inches high by 5 ¼ inches wide (10.3 cm high by 13.3 cm wide), framed, half-page; referencing text on the same page; descriptive headline: "Pickwickian Warmth" (p. 91). New York: Harper & Bros., Franklin Square, 1873.
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Context for the Illustration: Pickwick loses his temper with Tupman
"And if any further ground of objection be wanting," continued Mr. Pickwick, "you are too fat, sir."
"Sir," said Mr. Tupman, his face suffused with a crimson glow, "this is an insult."
"Sir," replied Mr. Pickwick, in the same tone, ‘it is not half the insult to you, that your appearance in my presence in a green velvet jacket, with a two-inch tail, would be to me."
"Sir," said Mr. Tupman, "you're a fellow."
"Sir," said Mr. Pickwick, "you're another!"
Mr. Tupman advanced a step or two, and glared at Mr. Pickwick. Mr. Pickwick returned the glare, concentrated into a focus by means of his spectacles, and breathed a bold defiance. Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle looked on, petrified at beholding such a scene between two such men.
"Sir," said Mr. Tupman, after a short pause, speaking in a low, deep voice, ‘you have called me old."
"I have," said Mr. Pickwick.
"I reiterate the charge."
"And a fellow."
"So you are!"
There was a fearful pause.
"My attachment to your person, sir," said Mr. Tupman, speaking in a voice tremulous with emotion, and tucking up his wristbands meanwhile, "is great — very great — but upon that person, I must take summary vengeance."
"Come on, Sir!" replied Mr. Pickwick. Stimulated by the exciting nature of the dialogue, the heroic man actually threw himself into a paralytic attitude, confidently supposed by the two bystanders to have been intended as a posture of defence. [Chapter XV, "In Which is given a faithful portraiture of two distinguished persons, and an accurate description of a public breakfast in their house and grounds: which public breakfast leads to the recognition of an old acquaintance, and the commencement of another chapter," p. 91]
Commentary: A Pickwickian Intra-mural Altercation
Prior to going to the Mrs. Leo Hunter's fancy-dress party, Pickwick and Tupman have a falling out over the issue of Tupman's proposed costume. To show his romantic sympathies, Tupman proposes — to Pickwick's chagrin — to wear a costume suggestive of an alpine bandit: velveteen shorts and "a green velvet jacket, with a two-inch tail. . ." (Chapter 15), the very getup in which we see him (face browned with burnt cork) in Phiz's 1836 and 1873 illustrations. Thomas Nast chose to focus on the quarrel between Tupman and his chief over the matter of the frog costume in "Come on, Sir!" replied Mr. Pickwick, whereas Phiz had elected to reprise his 1836 steel engraving in a full page wood-cut — as well as to depict the quarrel between the proud and irascible Pickwickians.
In the 1873 Household Edition both Phiz and Nast again represent the same textual moment, this time, in chapter 15: Tupman and Pickwick nearly come to fisticuffs over Pickwick's pronouncing his fellow Pickwickian "too old" and "too fat" to be getting himself up in a green velvet jacket to impersonate an Alpine Bandit at Mrs. Leo Hunter's fete champetre. Phiz exploits the possibilities for rendering his protagonist once again ridiculous when he lets his temper (again) get the better of him in the fifteenth British Household Edition illustration, The heroic man actually threw himself into a paralytic attitude, confidently supposed by the two bystanders to have been intended as a posture of self-defence. In contrast, Nast in the twentieth illustration for the Harper and Brothers' Household Edition, "Come on, Sir!" replied Mr. Pickwick), has both antagonists assume convincing pugilistic stances — although Nast's Pickwick seems to be looking in entirely the wrong direction to land a blow, Nast's Tupman, rolling up his sleeves, seems a practiced and formidable opponent. The quarrel thus realised involves Pickwick's having just pronounced his fellow Pickwickian "too old" and "too fat" to be stuffing himself into a green velvet jacket to impersonate an Alpine Bandit a la Lord Byron at Mrs. Leo Hunter's féte champetre the following morning. Snodgrass is ineffectual in both illustrations, being the figure coming between the antagonists in Phiz's woodcut and taking shelter in Nast's behind the table at the Pickwickians' rooms at the Peacock Inn, Eatanswill, three days after the byelection.
Another approach: Phiz's pugilistic confrontation scene in the British Household Edition (1873)
Phiz's approach to this episode in the novel is completely consistent with Nast's. The heroic man actually threw himself into a paralytic attitude, confidently supposed by the two bystanders to have been intended as a posture of self-defence, p. 89.
Other artists who illustrated this work, 1836-1910
- Robert Seymour (1836)
- Hablot Knight Brown (1836-37)
- Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1861)
- Sol Eytinge, Jr. (1867)
- Hablot Knight Browne (1874)
- A selected list of illustrations by Harry Furniss for the Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910)
- Clayton J. Clarke's Extra Illustration for Player's Cigarettes (1910)
- Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens (homepage)
- Nast’s Pickwick illustrations
- The complete list of illustrations by Seymour and Phiz for the original edition
- The complete list of illustrations by Phiz for the Household Edition
- An introduction to the Household Edition (1871-79)
Dickens, Charles. "Pickwick Papers. Illustrated by Robert Seymour and Hablot Knight Browne. London: Chapman & Hall, 1836-37.
Dickens, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. Engraved by A. V. S. Anthony. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.
Dickens, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. The Household Edition. Illustrated by Thomas Nast. New York: Harper and Brothers 1873.
Dickens, Charles. Pickwick Papers. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ('Phiz'). The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874.
Last modified 5 November 2019