Christmas Book cover Christmas Book cover

Covers for volumes 1 and 2 of Dickens's “Christmas Books” by Charles Green, R. I.

Charles Green was one of the original Household Edition illustrators for Chapman and Hall — his commission was new wood-engravings for The Old Curiosity Shop (1876). A "New Man of the Sixties," Green had undoubtedly studied the Fred Barnard illustrations for The Christmas Books, but probably did not see the work of American illustrator Edwin Austin Abbey for the Harper & Bros. (New York) edition. The original series had the same scarlet boards with gilt lettering as the first of the Christmas Books, A Christmas Carol the year before, with gilt chimes on the front. The two distinct Household Edition volumes containing The Chimes, that of 1876 (Harper & Bros., New York) and that of 1878 (Chapman & Hall, 1878), had the same ornate green boards with gilt lettering and pictures of a number of well-known Dickens characters. Viewed in this context, the "Pears Edition of Charles Dickens' Christmas Books" is modest, except for the coloured picture of the child featured on the wrappers of Pears soap bars. Each volume has different-coloured boards, so that, for example, the L. Rossi-illustrated Cricket on the Hearth has light green boards. Although all volumes are illustrated with small-scale and full-page lithographs, the number per volume differs slightly, so that, for example, the Rossi volume has just twenty-two illustrations plus the title-page vignette, whereas the Green-illustrated Carol has twenty-seven, but The Chimes has thirty.

Scanned images and text by Philip V. Allingham.[You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the images and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. Illustrated by Charles Green, R. I. London: A & F Pears, 1912.

Created 8 April 2015

Last modified 6 April 2020