Ornamental head-piece: Mistletoe Ornamental head-piece: Mistletoe

Two of Sol Eytinge, Jr.'s ornaments — headpiece on left, tailpiece on right — for Dickens's A Christmas Carol in Prose: being a ghost story of Christmas in the Ticknor and Fields (Boston) edition, 1869 (published at Christmas 1868), p. 3. Wood engravings, 2.0 high x 3.2 cm. (left) and 2.8 high x 2.2 cm. (right)

Eytinge has provided such artistic elaboration to make this "second edition" of A Christmas Carol a commodity text for the times, such decorative features being common in annuals and seasonal "gift-books" since the 1840s.

Including head-note illustrations, emblems, and ornamental tail-pieces, Ticknor and Fields' 1868 'twenty-fifth anniversary' second edition has an extensive narrative-pictorial sequence of thirty-four images. These delightful seasonal miniatures Eytinge did not consider worthy of inclusion in his list of eighteen illustrations, five of which are not full-page plates, but woodcuts dropped into the text, in the manner of Christmas Books 2 through 5. These ornamental head- and tailpieces, like the initial letter vignettes for A Holiday Romance in Our Young Folks (1867), reveal Eytinge at his most creative and particular in his detailing, the image of the ledger and fiddle being a particularly interesting juxtaposition of two metonymies, in that it contains objects that exemplify the contrasting life choices that Scrooge as a young clerk had before him: family comforts and music, or the barren life of the account-keeper.

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 in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one. in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol in Prose: being a Ghost Story of Christmas. Il. Sol Eytinge, Jr. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1868.

Last modified 23 August 2011