Under the lilac tree. 1870s. Illustration by Fred Barnard for the Household Edition of David Copperfield (Chapter XXXIII, "Blissful," facing p. 233). Scanned image and text 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.]

But oh! when I did find the house, and did dismount at the garden gate, and drag those stony-hearted boots across the lawn to Dora sitting on a garden seat under a lilac tree, what a spectacle she was, upon that beautiful morning, among the butterflies, in a white chip bonnet and a dress of celestial blue! [239]

Barnard sets his illustration of the protagonist's courtship in Mr. Spenlow's garden on his daughter's birthday. Barnard renders Mr. Spenlow's young guest, proctor-candidate David Copperfield, as far more earnest than the vain, self-centred, exquisitely dressed Dora, who has just received the bouquet that David purchased for her that morning at Covent Garden. Her older friend, Miss Julia Mills, acting as chaperon, discretely keeps to one side, but Dora seems much more interested in her flowers and dog Jip than in the well-dressed young man with the riding crop and penetrating gaze. To focus the viewer's attention on the doll-like Dora, Barnard has made her the central triangle in his composition,m shading the barely seen figure of Julia Mills and crowding David into the left register. Already David has received his usual rebuff from the jealous pet, and, thanking David, Dora has laid the floral tribute to her beauty "against her little dimpled chin," just as in Dickens's text.


Dickens, Charles. David Copperfield, with 61 illustrations by Fred Barnard. Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1871-1879.

The copy of the Household Edition from which this picture was scanned was the gift of George Gorniak, Editor of The Dickens Magazine, whose subject for the fifth series, beginning in January 2010, is this novel.

Fred Barnard

Last modified 27 December 2010