Left: "She hurriedly put her work aside." (Ch. 8). Left of centre: "Papa, what's money?" (Ch. 8). Right of centre: Bunsby put his arm around Mrs. MacStinger (Ch. 39). Right: The unfortunate Native suffered terribly (Ch. 57)

Biographical Note: William H. C. Groome (1854-1913)

The landscape painter and children's book illustrator William Henry Charles Groome was born in Argentina in December 1854, and died in Brighton, Sussex, England, in December 1913. W. H. C. Groome (also known as William H. C. Groome) illustrated the works of Charles Dickens, O. F. Walton, and Amy Le Feuvre during the period 1895 through 1913. Collectors are still interested in his realistic treatment of such children's works as Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey's Pixie O'Shaughnessy (3 vols., 1902) and W. H. G. Kingston's The South Sea Whaler (1900).

Dombey and Son: two volumes in one (1900, rpt. 1934)

  1. Frontispiece, She hurriedly put her work aside (see p. 114)
  2. "Papa! What's money?" (see p. 98)
  3. Florence kissed him on the cheek (see p. 260)
  4. "I'll call it after her." (see p. 375)
  5. They were received by the matron (see II, p. 178)
  6. "Let us have no turning out." (see II, p. 38)
  7. Bunsby put his arm around Mrs. MacStinger (see II, p. 117)
  8. The unfortunate Native suffered terribly. (see II, p. 358)

Of the eight small-scale lithographs, three in some way involve Florence. Characters in order of appearance and frequency: Florence (plates 1, 3, and 5); Paul Dombey (plates 1 and 2); Toots (plates 3 and 5); Carker (plates 4 and 6); Captain Cuttle (plates 6 and 7); Mr. Dombey (plate 2); Good Mrs. Brown (plate 4); Edith Granger (plate 4); Susan Nipper (plate 5); Bunsby (plate 7); Mrs. MacStinger (plate 7); Major Bagstock  (plate 8); The Native (plate 8). Groome's eight lithographs contain a total of thirteen named characters in a novel that originally had five times that number of illustrations (1846-48).

Groome's eight Edwardian illustrations reveal, despite their small dimensions (12.4 cm high by 8.0 cm wide, on pages measuring 15.2 cm by 9.5 cm — the standard for the Collins' Clear-type Editions), a sure sense of composition, even though he depicts character at the expense of background. Groome prefers scenes between a limited number of characters, such as "She hurriedly put her work aside" for Ch. VIII (a response to Fred Barnard's illustration of Listening to the Sea.Florence and Little Paul on the beach at Brighton in the Household Edition. Groome always puts his paired or grouped characters in focus, and tends to throw the backdrop out of focus.

Number of appearances by twenty-one characters

Groome, like Eytinge and other 19th c. illustrators working in small scale plates, focuses on just five characters in the majority of his lithographs for the 1846-48 Dickens novel. Whereas four of the eight illustrations (50%) involve just two characters, he has no single character studies, and only a single illustration involving five or more characters (Mrs. Macstinger's wedding day). Florence and Paul Dombey, Captain Cuttle, Susan Nipper, and James Carker each appear in two of the eight illustrations. Consequently, just five characters dominate the sort series, and, significantly, the eponymous character with whom the narrative begins and ends, Mr. Dombey, appears just once. Groome's emphasis reflects, in part, the popularity over fifty years of such secondary characters as the devoted maid, Susan Nipper and the genial old salt, Captain  Cuttle, and Groome's assessment of the importance of Florence and her father's duplicitous manager, Carker. In conclusion, four characters dominate the program: Florence, Paul, Cuttle, and Susan. Significantly absent among the secondary characters are Polly, Toodle, Rob, Dr. Blimber and his family, Alice Marwood, Miss Tox, Mrs. Skewton, and Mrs. Pipchin.

Related Material

Scanned images, colour correction, sizing, caption, and commentary 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.] Click on the image to enlarge it.

Bibliography

Bentley, Nicolas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. New York and Oxford: Oxford U. , 1990.

Darley, Felix Octavius Carr. Character Sketches from Dickens. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates, 1888.

Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.

Barnard, Fred, et al.. Scenes and Characters from Dickens. London: Chapman & Hall, 1908.

Bentley, Nicolas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. New York and Oxford: Oxford U. , 1990.

The Characters of Charles Dickens pourtrayed in a series of original watercolours by "Kyd." London, Paris, and New York: Raphael Tuck & Sons, n. d. [1910?].

Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.

Dickens, Charles. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Phiz. (Hablot K. Browne). London: Chapman and Hall, 1848.

_______. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. The Works of Charles Dickens. The Household Edition. 55 vols. New York: Sheldon and Company, 1862. Vols. 1-4.

_______. Dombey and Son.16 Illustrations by Sol Eytinge, Jr., and A. V. S. Anthony (engraver). The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867. III.

_______. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by W. H. C. Groome. London and Glasgow, 1900, rpt. 1934. 2 vols. in one.

_______. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz). 8 coloured plates. London and Edinburgh: Caxton and Ballantyne, Hanson, 1910.

_______. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. 9.

_______. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Fred Barnard. 61 wood-engravings. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1877. XV.

_______. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. 9.

_______, and Fred Barnard. The Dickens Souvenir Book. London: Chapman & Hall, 1912.

Hammerton, J. A. "Ch. XVI. Dombey and Son."  The Dickens Picture-Book. London: Educational Book Co., [1910], 294-338.

Kitton, Frederic George. "Phiz" (Hablot Knight Browne), a Memoir, Including a Selection From His Correspondence and Notes on His Principal Works. London, George Redway, 1882.

Lester, Valerie Browne. Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens. London: Chatto and Windus, 2004.

Matz, B. W., and Kate Perugini. Character Sketches from Dickens. Illustrated by Harold Copping. London: Raphael Tuck, 1924.

Schlicke, Paul, ed. The Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1999.

_______. Chapter 4. "Dombey and Son: Iconography of Social and Sexual Desire." Dickens and Phiz. Bloomington & London: Indiana U. P., 1978. 86-112.

Vann, J. Don. "Dombey and Son in Master Humphrey's Clock, 25 April 1840-6 February 1841." Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: MLA, 1985. 67-68.


Created 7 August 2020

Last modified 23 January 2021