Plates for The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Each of the following plates appears within a bold, rectilinear frame of approximately 16 cm by 10 cm. Several scenes are set in London (no. 1 and no. 12 utilize as their backdrop an East End opium den that Dickens had actually visited with Inspector Charles F. Field of the London Metropolitan Police, while no. 10 is set in Grewgious's rooms in the Staple Inn, Holborn, West London). However, the majority are set in "Cloisterham," Dickens's name for Rochester, Kent, where he spent much of his childhood and where Gadshill, the mansion in which he died in June 1870, is located.

  1. 1870 Title Page [Edwin Drood]
  2. "1880 Title Page" [Edwin Drood]
  3. "In the Court"
  4. "Under the Trees"
  5. "At the Piano"
  6. "On Dangerous Ground"
  7. "Mr. Crisparkle Is Overpaid"
  8. "Durdles Cautions Mr. Sapsea Against Boasting."
  9. "'Good-Bye, Rosebud, Darling!'"
  10. "Mr. Grewgious Has His Suspicions"
  11. "Jasper's Sacrifices"
  12. Mr. Grewgious Experiences a New Sensation"
  13. "Up the River"
  14. "Sleeping It Off"
  15. 'You Shall See Me Once Again in the Body, When You Are Tried for Your Life.'
  16. With a Look of Scorn, She Put Into My Hand a Bit of Paper, and Took Another Partner
  17. 'What Is the Matter?', Asked Brother Hawkyard. 'Ay! What Is the Matter?' Asked Brother Gimblet.

Plates for other Works

  1. "As He sat Upon a Low Seat Beside My Wife, I Would Peer at Him For Hours Together From Behind a Tree."
  2. "'Vith These Words He Rushes Into the Shop, Breaks the Dummy's Nose Vith a Blow of His Curlin'-Irons, Melts Him Down at the Parlour Fire, and Never Smiles Artervards'."
  3. "'You Shall See Me Once Again in the Body, When You Are Tried for Your Life. You Shall See Me Once Again in the Spirit, When the Cord Is Round Your Neck, and the Crowd Are Crying Against You!'."
  4. "With a Look of Scorn, She Put Into My Hand a Bit of Paper."
  5. "'What Is the Matter?"

In addition to the above, in The Mystery of Edwin Drood as published by Chapman and Hall in 1870, appears the plate "Mr. Crisparkle Is Overpaid." In Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators (1980), Jane R. Cohen in Chapter 17 shows the monthly wrapper drawn by Charles Collins (page 215), and in Chapter 18 reproduces Fildes's unused sketch of "In Rochester Cathedral" from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Collection, Yale University. Finally, L. V. Fildes, the artist's son, mentions that Dickens proposed taking his young illustrator round the "Cloisterham" country" (p. 16), in particular, to visit the Maidstone Jail

"so that the artist could see the condemned cell. The concluding illustration in the book, the twenty-fourth, was to be John Jasper in the cell waiting to be hanged for the murder of Edwin Drood. Dickens had told his illustrator that this concluding illustration must outvie Cruikshank's famous one of "Fagin in the condemned cell" in Oliver Twist.

That visit to Gad's Hill did not take place. On the morning of the day he was to have left London my father opened his paper and read the news of Dickens's sudden death.

Fildes's last tribute to the novelist he had only just met but for whom he felt a considerable regard was a plate of the writer's grave in Westminster Abbey's Poets' Corner, which appeared at the conclusion of John Forster's Life of Charles Dickens.

Related Materials


The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Other Stories. By Charles Dickens. With Illustrations [by Sir Luke Fildes, R. A.] London: Chapman and Hall Limited, 193, Piccadilly. 1880.

Cohen, Jane R. "Chapter 18: Luke Fildes." Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators. Columbus: Ohio State U. P., 1980. Pp. 221-234.

Fildes, L. V. Luke Fildes, R. A. — A Victorian Painter. London: Michael Joseph, 1968.

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.

Last modified 7 July 2015