Not so much a "team" as a "duo"

Left: Quilp leering at the brasses by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz. Middle: A Black and Dreadful Place by Daniel Maclise. Right: A Rest by the Way; or, Little Nell and Her Grandfather Looking back on London by Phiz. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz) remained the principal illustrator for The Old Curiosity Shop throughout the picaresque novel's weekly serialisation in Dickens's literary magazine Master Humphrey's Clock (issued between 4 April 1840 and 4 December 1841). However, Dickens persuaded painters George Cattermole and Daniel Maclise to make modest contributions to the project as they produced slightly larger composite woodblock engravings to be dropped into the text. Cattermole provided fourteen architectural pieces, a number associated with the Gothic church near which the Schoolmaster teaches, but the painter Maclise and the wood-engraver Samuel Williams just contributed a single plate each. Cattermole, fifteen years older than Phiz and well established in the reading public's minds as both a gifted watercolourist and antiquarian illustrator of the historical novels of Sir Walter Scott and Sir G. D. Bulwer-Lytton, leant the project an artistic caché. As Valerie Browne Lester notes, just two years earlier "Cattermole had been offered, but declined, a knighthood for his service to the world of art" (78).

For the announcement heralding its publication by Chapman and Hall on April 4, 1840, Browne depicted Dickens opening the door of Master Humphrey's Clock, liberating the fictional characters inside (SBB, facing p. 686). Readers, anticipating another Dickens novel, flocked to buy the weekly. Their disappointment at finding only elderly Master Humphrey and his friends, who were to provide continuity for the short pieces by various writers, was not appeased by the increased number of illustrations or even by the reappearance of Pickwick and Sam Weller in the second number. [Cohen, 75]

Dickens began serial publication of his fourth novel after disappointing initial sales convinced him and Chapman and Hall that merely as a literary miscellany Master Humphrey's Clock would not succeed; rather, he would have to have an anchor for each weekly number, and that anchor would have to be an instalment of a novel, of which Master Humphrey would be the nominal editor. The subjects that Dickens assigned Phiz suited his penchant for action scenes and caricature: low characters, dynamic scenes, "comic rascality" (Lester, 78). "From its inception, the story was built around simplepolarities of good and evil. Dickens not only exploited them verbally as he developed his narrative, but sought to sharpen them visually by assigning Cattermole most of the serious or sentimental subjects involving the heroine, Browne the far more numerous comic or grotesque scenes usually involving the villains" (Cohen 75). Although Phiz drew his designs directly onto the boxwood blocks, proficient cutters (Landells, Williams, Gray, Vasey, and preeminently Dalziel) actually engraved the Cattermole and Phiz designs "using gouges and gravers before inking the wood in preparation for printing. As many as 100,000 impressions could be made from a single woodblock" (Lester 79). But, even though presenting the illustrations simultaneously with Dickens's narration on the same printed page facilitated the readers' integrating word and image, the switch from steel-engraving to wood-cuts necessarily meant a loss of detail and elegance of effect.

Although the book had two other illustrators, George Cattermole and Daniel Maclise, Phiz's sixty-one woodcuts dominated the narrative-pictorial series, with sixty-one woodcuts. Cattermole provided just fourteen illustrations, most of which feature stately architectural settings, including the frontispiece to the 1848 volume, Little Nell among the Tombs, Chapter and perhaps his most famous illustration, At Rest (Little Nell dead), Chapter the seventy-third plate in the long series (30 January 1841). His short program contrasts the extensive work by Phiz, who plays up the element of the grotesque in the figures Daniel Quilp and Sampson Brass. As Paul Schlicke remarks, this "contrast . . . reinforce the diverse moods of the story itself" (424). This was the first illustrated book which credited Hablot Knight Browne by name, rather by just the pseudonym "Phiz."

Maclise's only contribution is Little Nell and the Sexton (Chapter 55, 28 November 1840). Samuel Williams provided just a single woodcut, The Child in Her Slumbers. Phiz contrubted the balance, amounting fifty-nine illustrations, although J. A. Hammerton, editor of The Charles Dickens Library Edition, states that the story as originally published "had sixty-one woodcuts by Phiz" (XVII: 171). Further illustrations followed in the Cheap Edition (1848), the Library Edition (1858-59), before the wholly new Household Edition illustrations by Thomas Worth (1872) and Charles Green (1876) and appeared.

Michael Steig points out that

some statistics will indicate how this sequential specificity is possible:  The Old Curiosity Shop is about five-eighths the length of a novel like David Copperfield, while Barnaby Rudge is about three-fourths the length of such novels; but the Shop has seventy-five illustrations and Rudge seventy-six, compared with the usual forty. Thus proportionately there are two to three times as many illustrations in the weekly installments of Master Humphrey's Clock as in a monthly-parts novel. [Ch. 3, "From Caricature to Progress," 52]


The Plates

  1. The child addressed the old man as her grandfather, Chapter I, 37 [Cattermole]
  2. The Child in Her Gentle Slumber, Chapter I, 46 [Samuel Williams after Cattermole]
  3. Mr. Swiveller Seeks to Gain Attention, Chapter II, 82
  4. Quilp Surprising his Wife’s Visitors; or, Quilp Interrupts at Tea, Chapter IV , 94
  5. Quilp in a Smoking Humour, Chapter IV 96
  6. Directly Quilp had shut himself in, the boy stood on before the door, then walked about on his hands: Quilp's Wharf, Chapter V, 107 [Cattermole]
  7. Little Nell is  Anxious, Chapter VI, 109
  8. A Cool Proposal, Chapter VII, 117
  9. Mr. Cheggs’s Jealousy, Chapter VIII, 125
  10. Little Nell as Comforter, Chapter IX, 133 [Cattermole]
  11. Kit at Home, Chapter X, 142
  12. The Legal Gentleman Named Brass, Chapter XI, 146
  13. The Pilgrimage Begins, Chapter XII, 156
  14. Title-page vignette for the Hurd and Houghton Edition XII, title-page (1876)
  15. Mr. Swiveller’s Appointment, Chapter XIII, 158
  16. Mr. Garland Charges Kit to Return; or, Kit makes an Appointment XIV, 168
  17. A Rest by the Way; or, Little Nell and Her Grandfather Looking back on London, Chapter XV, 172
  18. Punch in the Churchyard, Chapter XVI, 177
  19. The Grinder's Lot, Chapter XVII, 185
  20. At the Jolly Sandboys, Chapter XVIII, 188
  21. The Giants waiting on the Dwarfs, Chapter XIX, 193
  22. Little Nell's Anxiety, Chapter XIX, 198
  23. Quilp defies the Dog, Chapter XXI, 211
  24. The Kitchen at Abel Cottage, Chapter XXII, 216
  25. Quilp's Discovery, Chapter XXIII, 218
  26. At the Schoolmaster's Porch, Chapter XXIV, 226
  27. The Dunce improves the Occasion, Chapter XXV, 231
  28. The Lady of the Caravan, Chapter XXVI, 257
  29. Nell hides from Quilp, Chapter XXVII, 246
  30. Mrs. Jarley's Waxworks, Chapter XXVIII, 251
  31. Producing a Sensation, Chapter XXIX, 253
  32. A Game of Cards, Chapter XXIX, 260
  33. Miss Monflathers chides Nell, Chapter XXXI, 270
  34. Mrs. Jarlay at the Pay-place, Chapter XXXII, 276
  35. Quilp leering at the Brasses; or, A Colleague for Miss Brass XXXIII, 280
  36. Taken by a Single Gentleman, Chapter XXXIV, 288
  37. Mr. Brass at the Keyhole, Chapter XXXV, 293
  38. The Small Servant's Dinner, Chapter XXXVI, 300
  39. The Interview with Codlin and Short, Chapter XXXVII, 304
  40. Jerry's Dancing Dogs, Chapter XXXVII, 306 [end of Vol. I]
  41. Mr. Swiveller's Libation, Chapter XXXVIII, 2.1
  42. Initial Letter "K", Chapter XXXIX, 2.1
  43. At Astley's, Chapter XXXIX, 2.11
  44. Mr. Garland and Kit, Chapter XL, 2.15
  45. Kit's Mother on a Journey, Chapter XLI, 2.24
  46. A Parley with the Card-sharpers, Chapter XLII, 2.27
  47. Flight by Water; or, Nell sat in the open air, Chapter XLIII, 2.34
  48. Watching the Furnace Fire, Chapter XLIV, 2.41
  49. A Procession of the Unemployed, Chapter XLV, 2.45
  50. Nell in a Faint, Chapter XLVI, 2.49
  51. A Very Aged, Ghostly Place, Chapter XLVI, 2.55 [Cattermole]
  52. A Gracious Invitation, Chapter XLVIII, 2.61
  53. A Descriptive Advertisement, Chapter XLIX, 2.70
  54. Mrs. Quilp visits Bachelor's Hall, Chapter L, 2.79
  55. Uproarious Hospitality, Chapter LI, 2.82
  56. Nell's New Home, Chapter LII, 2.86 [Cattermole]
  57. Resting Among the Tombs, Chapter LIII, 2.95 [Cattermole]
  58. Nell's Garden, Chapter LIV, 2.103
  59. A Black and Dreadful Place, LV, 2.108 [Maclise]
  60. Kit brings a Letter, Chapter LIV, 2.109
  61. The Marchioness playing Cards LVII, 2.120
  62. Mr. Swiveller playing the Flute, Chapter LVIII, 2.124
  63. Quilp's Grotesque Politeness, Chapter LX, 2.135
  64. Kit in Jail, Chapter LXI, 2.142
  65. Revenge is Sweet LXII, 2.147
  66. Mr. Swiveller to the Rescue LXIII, 2.155
  67. A Quiet Game at Cribbage LXIV, 2.158
  68. The Marchioness in the Chaise LXV, 2.167
  69. Delicacies for Mr. Swiveller LXVI, 2.172
  70. Mr. Brass Unexpectedly Appears LXVI, 2.153
  71. The Death of Quilp, Chapter LXVII, 2.187
  72. Kit's Visit to the Stable LXVIII, 2.190
  73. Farewell to the Travellers, Chapter LXIX, 2.196
  74. The Journey's End, Chapter LXX, 2.204 [Cattermole]
  75. At Rest, Chapter LXXI, 2.210 [Cattermole]
  76. Waiting at the Grave (The Old Man Watching Over Nell's Grave), Chapter LXXII, 2.216 [Cattermole]
  77. Tailpiece: The Spirit's Flight, Chapter LXXIII, 2.223 [Cattermole]
  78. The Monthly Wrapper Numbers 1 through 88 of Master Humphrey's Clock, 4 April 1840 through 4 December 1841 [Cattermole].
  79. The Marchioness extra illustration, 1848 Cheap Edition
  80. Master Humphrey's Chamber in Master Humphrey's Clock, Vol. I (4 April 1840)
  81. The Frontispiece for Volume One, 4 April 1840
  82. The Frontispiece for Volume Two, 1841
  83. The Frontispiece for Volume Three, 1841
  84. Chapter VI in Master Humphrey's Clock 2.228: Master Humphrey's Visionary Friends, 6 February
  85. The Frontispiece for Volume Three, Chapter 1841.

Phiz Finally Dispenses with his Pseudonym

Though he appeared to take its excellence for granted, certainly Dickens was pleased with Browne's work. The artist must have been gratified when Phiz's true identity was publicly disclosed for the first time on the title page of the first bound volume of the Clock. He himself had dispensed with his pseudonym insigning his engravings, using instead his own initials, first HB and then, perhaps due to its closeness to John Doyle's pseudonym, HKB. The artist would continue to sign "Phiz" to his subsequent etchings for Dickens'snovels; but his present use of his real name seems especially appropriate, forit was during the Clock that Browne artistically came into his own, manifesting unsuspected versatility that the author would be quick to utilize in their long collaboration ahead. — Jane Rabb Cohen (76)

Principal Illustrated Editions of the Novel (1841-1924)

Of the five chief nineteenth-century illustrated editions that preceded Furniss's 32-illustration volume in 1912, only three had long programs exclusively produced by a single artist: Eytinge (1867), Worth (1876), and Green (1876).

A Note on the Date of the Action of the Novel

A Note on the locations of the Novel, including the Old Curiosity Shop

Scanned images and texts by Philip V. Allingham. Edited by George P. Landow. [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. This image is reproduced courtesy of The Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LF.]

Bibliography of Illustrated Editions of The Old Curiosity Shop

Dickens, Charles. The Old Curiosity Shop in Master Humphrey's Clock. Illustrated by Phiz, George Cattermole, Samuel Williams, and Daniel Maclise. 3 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1841; rpt., Bradbury and Evans, 1849.

_____. The Old Curiosity Shop. Frontispieces by Felix Octavius Carr Darley and Sir John Gilbert. The Household Edition. 55 vols. New York: Sheldon & Co., 1863. 4 vols.

_____. The Old Curiosity Shop. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. 14 vols. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867. XII.

_____. The Old Curiosity Shop. Illustrated by Thomas Worth. The Household Edition. New York: Harper & Bros., 1872. I.

_____. The Old Curiosity Shop. Illustrated by Charles Green. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1876. XII.

_____. The Old Curiosity Shop. With nineteen steel-plate illustrations from original wood-engravings by Phiz and George Cattermole. 2 vols. "New Illustrated Library Edition" of the Works of Charles Dickens. New York: Hurd and Houghton; Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1876. Vols. VI and VII.

_____. The Old Curiosity Shop. Illustrated by William H. C. Groome. The Collins' Clear-Type Edition. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1900.

_____. The Old Curiosity Shop. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910. V.

Hammerton, J. A. "XIII. The Old Curiosity Shop." The Dickens Picture-Book. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book, 1910. XVII, 170-211.

Bibliography of Secondary Materials

Bates, Allan. “Stage Coach Routes in 1836." Directory of Stage Coach Services, 1836. Web. 2 November 2020.

Bates, Allan. “Stage Coach Routes in 1836." Directory of Stage Coach Services, 1836. Web. 2 November 2020.

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

Ciugureanu, Adina. "Dantean Echoes in The Old Curiosity Shop." Dickens Quarterly, 52.2 (June 2015): 116-28.

Cohen, Jane Rabb. "Part Two: Dickens and His Principal Illustrator. 4. Hablot Browne." (Part 1). Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators. Columbus: Ohio U. P., 1980. 59-80.

Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.

Easson, Angus, ed. "Introduction." Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop. Harmondsworth: Penguin Classics, 1977.

Hall, Stephanie. "Punch & Judy in America: Lecture and Oral History with Mark Walker." Library of Congress. 5 November 2019. Web. 2 June 2020.

_______. "Puppets: A Story of Magical Actors." Folklife Today, March 16, 2018. Web. 2 June 2020.

Kitton, Frederic George. "Phiz" (Hablot Knight Browne), a Memoir, Including a Selection From His Correspondence and Notes on His Principal Works. London, George Redway, 1882.

Lester, Valerie Browne. Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens. London: Chatto and Windus, 2004.

Matz, B. W., and Kate Perugini. Character Sketches from Dickens. Illustrated by Harold Copping. London: Raphael Tuck, 1924.

Mayhew, Henry. "Punch's Showmen" and "Our Street Folk. 1. Street Exhibitions, Punch." London Labour and the London Poor, Volume III. Griffen, Bohn, and Co., 1861 (volume III was part of the original 1851 set). [Available from Hathi Trust. See page 61 of the digital version for a discussion and script of Punch and Judy street puppetry.]

The Pilgrim Edition of the Letters of Charles Dickens. Ed. Madeline House, Graham Storey, and Kathleen Tillotson. 12 vols. (1820-70). Oxford: Clarendon, 1965-2002. Volume Two, 1840–1841 (1969).

Schlicke, Paul, ed. "The Old Curiosity Shop." Oxford Readers' Companion to Dickens. Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1999. 422-27.

" Shropshire Verger in Tong faked grave of Dickens' Little Nell." BBC Shropshire. 20 January 2010.

Steig, Michael. "Phiz's Marchioness." Dickens Studies. 2, 3: (September 1966): 141-46.

_______. Chapter 3. "From Caricature to Progress: Master Humphrey's Clock to Martin Chuzzlewit." Dickens and Phiz. Bloomington & London: Indiana U. P., 1978. 53-85.

Stevens, Joan. "'Woodcuts Dropped into the Text': The Illustrations in The Old Curiosity Shop and Barnaby Rudge." Studies in Bibliography. 20 (1967): 113-34.

Tan, Jack. "Charles Dickens’s Idealized Portraits: Rewriting the child in Oliver Twist and The Old Curiosity Shop." The Looking Glass : New Perspectives on Children's Literature 18, No 1 (September 2015).

Vann, J. Don. "The Old Curiosity Shop in Master Humphrey's Clock, 25 April 1840-6 February 1841." Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: MLA, 1985. 64-65.

Created 26 April 2019

Last modified 16 November 2020