by Thomas Nast (1873), Chapter XXXII, 191.
The illustration appears in the American Edition of Charles Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club, Chapter XXXII, "Describes, far more fully than the court newsman ever did, a bachelor's party, given by Mr. Bob Sawyer at his lodgings in the Borough," 191. Wood-engraving, 4 ⅛ inches high by 5 3⁄16 inches wide (10.5 cm high by 13.4 cm wide), vignetted, half-page; referencing text on the same page; descriptive headline: "Ignominious Retreat" (191). New York: Harper & Bros., Franklin Square, 1873.
The Context of the Illustration: The Students' Irate Landlady
"Now, Mr. Sawyer," screamed the shrill voice of Mrs. Raddle, "are them brutes going?"
"They're only looking for their hats, Mrs. Raddle," said Bob; "they are going directly."
"Going!" said Mrs. Raddle, thrusting her nightcap over the banisters just as Mr. Pickwick, followed by Mr. Tupman, emerged from the sitting-room. "Going! what did they ever come for?"
"My dear ma'am," remonstrated Mr. Pickwick, looking up.
"Get along with you, old wretch!" replied Mrs. Raddle, hastily withdrawing the nightcap. "Old enough to be his grandfather, you willin! You're worse than any of 'em."
Mr. Pickwick found it in vain to protest his innocence, so hurried downstairs into the street, whither he was closely followed by Mr. Tupman, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Snodgrass. Mr. Ben Allen. . . . [Harper & Brothers' Household Edition, 191-192]
Commentary: An Awkward Situation for the Bachelor Host
In the Harper and Brothers' Household Edition volume, Nast chose to depict the moment when the interfering landlady, Mrs. Raddle, spoils Bob Sawyer's bachelor party by chastizing Mr. Pickwick as he leaves the gathering. She is not upset merely that Bob owes his rent. She resents the partying into the wee hours, and throws the bacchanal celebrants out of her house after their carousing has led to drunken revelry likely to awaken the entire house. Once again, Sam has to exhort his combative employer to move on rather than engage in a pointless quarrel with the implacable landlady.
Pickwickians Snodgrass and Winkle wait on the landing, whereas Tupman (above) and Pickwick begin to make their way down the staircase. The irate Mrs. Raddle (just visible above the railing) denounces the departing guests of her boozy bachelor tenants as "brutes" (191). Nast suggests the lateness of the hour by the enormous shadows of Pickwick and Tupman on the wall of stairwell (right). And the illustrator extends the picture through the number of hats visible in the open doorway to suggest the number of revellers whom Bob Sawyer suddenly entreats to depart. Otherwise, however, one receives very little sense of either the characters or the setting in Nast's plate, which fails to convey fully the farcical aspects of the episode. Nast has us view the awkward situation from a perspective opposite the bottom of the stairs, with Bob Sawyer's apartment one flight up (on "the first-floor," as the servant-girl told Pickwick as he arrived earlier). The deep shadows suggest not merely the nocturnal setting, but the fate that awaits Pickwick in the Fleet Prison.
Phiz's Version of the Scene in the British Household Edition (1874)
Phiz's less caricatural illustration for the same chapter: A little fierce woman bounced into the room. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]
Other artists who illustrated this work, 1836-74
- 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)
- An introduction to the Household Edition (1871-79)
- Illustrators of Dickens's Pickwick Papers in the 1873 Household Edition
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.]
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, Robert Buss, and Hablot Knight Browne. London: Chapman & Hall, 1836-37.
__________. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, Edited by Boz. Philadelphia: Carey, Lea, and Blanchard, 1836. 5 vols.
__________. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. The Household Edition. Illustrated by Thomas Nast. New York: Harper and Brothers 1873.
__________. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. The Household Edition. Illustrated by Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne). London: Chapman and Hall, 1874.
__________. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910. Volume 2.
Last modified 8 April 2020