The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club, Chapter XXV, p. 153.by Thomas Nast, in Charles Dickens's
The illustration appears in the American Household Edition of Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club, Chapter XXV, "Showing among a variety of pleasant matters, how majestic and impartial Mr. Nupkins was; and how Mr. Weller returned Mr. Job Trotter's shuttlecock as heavily as it came — with another matter, which will be fund in its place," p. 153. Wood-engraving, 3 ½ inches high by 5 5⁄16 inches wide (9 cm high by 13.8 cm wide), framed, half-page; referencing text on the same page; descriptive headline: "Mr. Weller Below Stairs" (p. 153). New York: Harper & Bros., Franklin Square, 1873.
Scanned image, colour correction, sizing, caption, and commentary 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.]
Passage Illustrated: In Mr. Muzzle's Kitchen
Mr. Trotter suffered himself to be forced into a chair by the fireside. He cast his small eyes, first on Mr. Weller, and then on Mr. Muzzle, but said nothing.
"Well, now," said Sam, "afore these here ladies, I should jest like to ask you, as a sort of curiosity, whether you don't consider yourself as nice and well-behaved a young gen'l'm'n, as ever used a pink check pocket-handkerchief, and the number four collection?"
"And as was ever a-going to be married to a cook," said that lady indignantly. "The willin!"
"And leave off his evil ways, and set up in the chandlery line arterwards," said the housemaid.
"Now, I’ll tell you what it is, young man," said Mr. Muzzle solemnly, enraged at the last two allusions, "this here lady (pointing to the cook) keeps company with me; and when you presume, Sir, to talk of keeping chandlers’ shops with her, you injure me in one of the most delicatest points in which one man can injure another. Do you understand that, Sir?"
Here Mr. Muzzle, who had a great notion of his eloquence, in which he imitated his master, paused for a reply.
But Mr. Trotter made no reply. [Chapter XXV, "Showing among a variety of pleasant matters, how majestic and impartial Mr. Nupkins was; and how Mr. Weller returned Mr. Job Trotter's shuttlecock as heavily as it came — with another matter, which will be fund in its place," p. 153]
Commentary: Making Job Trotter look ridiculous
Mr. Job Trotter encounters Sam in Mr. Muzzle's Kitchen (December 1836) by Phiz. [Click on image to enlarge it.]
Thomas Nast illustrates the pregnant moment that promises the comic unmasking of the startled Job Trotter, the conniving servant of the ebullient confidence man, Alfred Jingle. When he suddenly encounters Mr. Pickwick's servant, Sam Weller, he must scramble to save himself. After deceiving Pickwick about his master's intention to run away with a school-girl from Miss Tompkins' seminary, Trotter is momentarily trapped between the angry Muzzle and Weller, who seems ready to reveal Trotter's true character. To illustrate the kitchen comeuppance, Nast, like Phiz across the Atlantic, merely had to redraft the December 1836 steel-engraving for Ch. 25.
However, Nast chose to realise a slightly later moment in the same kitchen scene, when Muzzle and Weller begin to interrogate and berate the hapless Trotter, who is another Nast grotesque entirely, his face a Hallowe'en pumpkin caricature. Nast's rendition is unusual for the illustrations in his series of fifty-two in that it contains much more background detail than his others, which usually focus on the figures: significantly, a gridiron hangs above Job's head (as he is being grilled from two different directions); and pots, pans, plate, and the kitchen cooking fire complete Nast's version of the scene. Even Phiz in his 1874 woodcut does not include more detail, although he has more naturally realised the female characters, and has made the devious Trotter less of an oddity in terms of physical appearance. Moreover, the Nast illustration constitutes something of an advance in realism over the original 1836 serial engraving Job Trotter Encounters Sam in Mr. Muzzle's Kitchen.
Nast in choosing a later moment in the same scene does not have to indicate the precise location of door or realise the flirtatious relationship between Sam and Mary; rather, he makes the three males — Muzzle (left of centre), Job (centre, seated) and Sam (right) — the focus of his composition. In particular, Nast seems to have been engaged by the opportunity to draw three liveried servants, demonstrating his ability to draw uniforms with wide lapels and cuffs, buff waistcoats, smalls and stockings (leggings for Sam, as befits the servant of a traveller). Nast shows a shag-haired Job Trotter (with a strangely distorted visage and resigned posture) both glum and cornered, Muzzle as indignant, and Sam enjoying his role as examiner.
Another approach: Phiz's depiction of the same scene in the British Household Edition (1874)
Phiz revises his approach to the scene by rendering both figures more naturally in The kitchen door opened, and in walked Mr. Job Trotter. (Chapter XXV)
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)
Cohen, Jane Rabb. Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators. Columbus: Ohio State U. P., 1980.
Dickens, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. 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. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. The Household Edition. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ('Phiz'). The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874.
Dickens, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. The Household Edition. Edited by J. A. Hammerton. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910.
Last modified 13 December 2019