For Dombey and Son, his seventh novel, Charles Dickens once again enlisted Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne) as his illustrator. Bradbury and Evans, who replaced Dickens's former publishers, Chapman and Hall, serialised Dombey and Son in twenty parts from October 1846 through April 1848. The last of these monthly instalments was a "double number," as was the case with Pickwick and Nicholas Nickleby. The book differed from Dickens's previous novels because its serial publication involved unusually careful planning and symmetrical composition of instalments.

After a successful string of novels which began with The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club in 1836, Dickens had split with publishers Chapman and Hall over the less than stellar profits for A Christmas Carol in 1844. Throughout the remainder of the 1840s, Dickens published both the seasonal Christmas Books and his serialised novels through the firm of William Bradbury and Frederick Mullett Evans, formerly only printers until they became the proprietors of Punch. Through them Dickens published both The Battle of Life in December 1846, and in monthly parts his seventh full-length novel, Dombey and Son, Wholesale Retail & for Exportation in nineteen shilling numbers, with the final instalment as a double number (April 1848: Ch. 58-62) containing four plates: two regular engravings, a frontispiece, and an engraved title-page. At the conclusion of serialisation, Bradbury and Evans issued the novel in a single volume.

A typical instalment contained three uniform chapters, the exceptions being no. 12 (September 1847: Ch. 35-38) and no. 19 (really 19-20, a double-number, April 1848: Ch. 58-62). Although he does not reproduce the wrapper in Chapter 16 of The Dickens Picture-Book (1910), on p. 294 J. A. Hammerton gives the frontispiece (also provided by Michael Steig in Dickens and Phiz), thirty-seven of the thirty-eight plates issued two each for every monthly part, and five so-called "character plates" from Phiz's correspondence: Little Paul, Florence, Alice, and Edith. Paul Schicke in The Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens (1999) notes that Phiz also supplied "the wrapper design, frontispiece, and vignette title-page" (85), for a grand total of forty-six illustrations associated with the serial.

According to Hammerton, "Kitton chronicles the fact that all the the plates were etched in duplicate, and the greater number were drawn on quarto plates with two subjects on each. In Dombey Phiz first made use of the oblong form of illustration, all his earlier plates having been designed as uprights, often to the ruin of the subject" (295).

Some of the following illustrations, a number of them colourised, come from the Caxton Publishing Company’s so-called "London Edition," and are identical in scale to the plates in the original monthly numbers. Since this volume, however, does not contain all of the original thirty-nine engravings,the copy text for these has been the 1880 two-volume Illustrated Library Edition. —  Philip V. Allingham

The 40 Plates, plus colourised versions from 1910 and working sketches

  1. Characters in the Story, uncaptioned frontispiece (in serial with the last number, April 1848)
  2. Rob the Grinder Reading with Captain Cuttle, title-page vignette (in serial with the last number, April 1848)
  3. Miss Tox Introduces "The Party" Ch. 2 (October 1846)
  4. The Dombey Family, Ch. 3 (October 1846), and colourized version
  5. The Christening Party , Ch. 5 (November 1846)
  6. Polly Rescues the Charitable Grinder, Ch. 6 (November 1846)
  7. Paul and Mrs. Pipchin, original plate — (working drawing), and colourized version, Ch. 8 (December 1846)
  8. Captain Cuttle consoles his Friend Ch. 9 (December 1846)
  9. Doctor Blimber's Young Gentlemen as they appeared when enjoying themselves, Ch. 12 (January 1847)
  10. Paul's exercises, Ch. 12 (January 1847)
  11. Paul goes home for the holidays, Ch. 14 (February 1847)
  12. Profound cogitation of Captain Cuttle, original plate Ch. 15 (February 1847) — colourized version (1910)
  13. Poor Paul's Friend, Ch. 18 (March 1847)
  14. The Wooden Midshipman on the look out, Ch. 19 (March 1847)
  15. Major Bagstock is delighted to have that opportunityworking drawing) Ch. 21 (April 1847)
  16. Mr. Toots becomes particular — Diogenes also Ch. 22 (April 1847)
  17. Solemn reference made to Mr. Bunsby, Ch. 23 (May 1847)
  18. Mr. Carker introduces himself to Florence and the Skettles familycolourized version, Ch. 24 (May 1847)
  19. "Joe B. is sly, Sir, devilish sly," Ch. 26 (June 1847)
  20. Mr. Dombey introduces his daughter Florence (original plate) — colourized version) Ch. 28 (June 1847)
  21. The eyes of Mrs. Chick are opened to Lucretia Tox, Ch. 29 (July 1847)
  22. Coming home from Church, Ch. 31 (July 1847)
  23. A Visitor of distinction, Ch. 32 (August 1847)
  24. The Rejected Alms, Ch. 34; (August 1847); colourized version (1910)
  25. Mrs. Dombey at Home, Ch. 36 (September 1847)
  26. Miss Tox pays a visit to the Toodle Family, Ch. 38 (September 1847)
  27. The Midshipman is boarded by the enemy — plate, Ch. 39 (October 1847) — working drawing
  28. A chance Meetingcolourized version, Ch. 40 (October 1847)
  29. Mr. Dombey and his "confidential agent," Ch. 42 (November 1847)
  30. Florence parts from a very old friend Ch. 44 (November 1847)
  31. Abstraction & Recognition, Ch. 46 (December 1847)
  32. Florence and Edith on the Staircase, Ch. 47 (December 1847)
  33. The Shadow in the Little Parlour, Ch. 49 (January 1848)
  34. Mr. Dombey and The World, Ch. 51 (January 1848)
  35. Secret intelligence, Ch.52 (February 1848)
  36. Mr. Carker in His Hour of Triumphworking drawingcolorized version Ch. 54 (February 1848)
  37. On the Dark Road [dark plate] Ch. 55 (March 1848)
  38. An Arrival, Ch. 56 (March 1848)
  39. "Let him remember it in that room, years to come!" Ch. 59 (April 1848)
  40. Another Wedding, Ch. 60 (April 1848)

Other material, including front matter and sketches

Eight coloured lithographs bassed on the original engravings (1910)

Related Material, including Other Illustrated Editions of Dombey and Son


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.

Dickens, Charles. Dombey and Son. With illustrations by  H. K. Browne. The illustrated library Edition. 2 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, c. 1880. Vol. II.

__________. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr., and engraved by A. V. S. Anthony. 14 vols. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867. III.

__________. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by W. L. Sheppard. The Household Edition. 18 vols. New York: Harper & Co., 1873.

__________. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Fred Barnard. 61 wood-engravings. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1877. XV.

__________. Dombey and Son> Illustrated by W. H. C. Groome. London and Glasgow, 1900, rpt. 1934. 2 vols. in one.

__________. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. 9.

__________. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz"). 8 coloured plates. London and Edinburgh: Caxton and Ballantyne, Hanson, 1910.

__________. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz"). The Clarendon Edition, ed. Alan Horsman. Oxford: Clarendon, 1974.

Hammerton, J. A. "Chapter 16: Dombey and Son." The Dickens Picture-Book. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. 18 vols. London: Educational Book Co., 1910. Vol. 17, 294-337.

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.

Lester, Valerie Browne. Ch. 12, "Work, Work, Work." Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens. London: Chatto and Windus, 2004. 128-160.

Schlicke, Paul. (Ed.). "Dombey and Son." The Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens. Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1999. 183-88.

Steig, Michael. Chapter 4. "Dombey and Son: Iconography of Social and Sexual Satire." Dickens and Phiz. Bloomington & London: Indiana U. P., 1978. 86-112.

Thomson, David Croal. Life and Labours of Hablot Knight Browne — "Phiz.". London: Chapman and Hall, 1884.

Vann, J. Don. Chapter 4. "Dombey and Son, twenty parts in nineteen monthly installments, October 1846-April 1848." Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: Modern Language Association, 1985. 67-68.

Created 8 August 2015

Last modified 12 February 2021