Edwin Austin Abbey

Bust of E.A. Abbey by Thomas Brock

Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911), painter and illustrator, worked in the idiom of the English Pre-Raphaelites, painting such mediaevalist oils as Castle of Maidens (1895) and King Lear's Farewell (1898). Much of his work is preserved in the Brandywine River Museum in Chester County, North Carolina, although his most famous painting, The Quest for the Holy Grail, is the freize in the Boston Public Library, for which he painted a series of murals in the 1890s. Born in Philadelphia, he studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under Christian Schuessele.

A. E. Abbey provided illustrations for both Harper's Weekly (1871-1874) and Scribner's Magazine. In 1878, Abbey moved to England, becoming a member of the Royal Academy in 1898. There, undoubtedly his most prestigious commission was the 1902 coronation portrait of King Edward VII, which hangs in Buckingham Palace. In order to retain his American citizenship, however, in 1907 Abbey had to decline a knighthood. He died of cancer in 1911 in the midst of executing a vast commission for the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg, where one may still see his allegorical medallions of Science, Art, Justice, and Religion. His mural Reading of the Declaration of Independence was completed by his assistant Ernest Board and his friend John Singer Sargent.


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A Christmas Carol

The Chimes

The Cricket on the Hearth

The Battle of Life

The Haunted Man

Miscellaneous Stories from Household Words and All the Year Round


Cook, James. Bibliography of the Writings of Dickens. London: Frank Kerslake, 1879. As given in Publishers' Circular The English Catalogue of Books.

Dickens, Charles. Christmas Stories. Illustrated by E. A. Abbey. The Household Edition. 19 vols. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1876. Vol. III.

Dickens, Charles. Christmas Books. Illustrated by Fred Barnard. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1878. Vol. XVII.

Dickens, Charles. The Dickens Souvenir Book. London: Chapman and Hall, 1912. The collection of the Main Library of The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B. C.

Hammerton, J. A. The Dickens Picture-Book. London: Educational Book, 1912.

Kitton, Frederic G. Dickens and His Illustrators. 1899. Rpt. Honolulu: U. Press of the Pacific, 2004.

Patten, Robert L. Charles Dickens and His Publishers. University of California at Santa Cruz: The Dickens Project, 1991. rpt. from Oxford U. p., 1978.

Created 3 January 2013

Last modified 5 September 2023