Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, p. 33. Engraved by “W.T.G.” [Click on image to enlarge it.]by Phiz (Hablot K. Browne). Chapman and Hall's Household Edition of Dickens's
The illustration appears in the British Edition of Charles Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club, Chapter VII, "How Mr. Winkle, instead of shooting at the Pigeon, and killing the Crow, shot the Crow and wounded the Pigeon; How the Dingley Dell Cricket Club played All-Muggleton, and how All-Muggleton dined at the Dingley Dell expense; with other interesting and instructive matters," page 33. Wood-engraving, 4 ⅛ inches high by 5 ⅜ inches wide (10.5 cm high by 13.7 cm wide), framed, half-page; referencing text on page 43; descriptive headlines: "Arrival at Manor Farm" (p. 33) and "A Well-Intended Shot" (p. 43). London: Chapman & Hall, 193 Piccadilly, 1874.
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. Formatting, color correction, and linking by George P. Landow. [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.]
The Context of the Illustration: The Inept Winkle shoots Tupman by accident
"Won't it go?" inquired Mr. Pickwick.
"Missed fire," said Mr. Winkle, who was very pale — probably from disappointment.
"Odd," said the old gentleman, taking the gun. "Never knew one of them miss fire before. Why, I don’t see anything of the cap."
"Bless my soul!" said Mr. Winkle, "I declare I forgot the cap!"
The slight omission was rectified. Mr. Pickwick crouched again. Mr. Winkle stepped forward with an air of determination and resolution; and Mr. Tupman looked out from behind a tree. The boy shouted; four birds flew out. Mr. Winkle fired. There was a scream as of an individual — not a rook — in corporal anguish. Mr. Tupman had saved the lives of innumerable unoffending birds by receiving a portion of the charge in his left arm. [Chapter 7, "How Mr. Winkle, instead of shooting at the Pigeon, and killing the Crow, shot the Crow and wounded the Pigeon; How the Dingley Dell Cricket Club played All-Muggleton, and how All-Muggleton dined at the Dingley Dell expense; with other interesting and instructive matters," page 43]
Commentary: Nast versus Phiz in the Household Edition volumes
Right: Harry Furniss's satire of the melodramatic scene in which Tracy Tupman receives a flesh-wound, Mr. Winkle Rook Shooting (1910). [Click on image to enlarge it.]
In their Household Edition programmes, the aging Hablot Knight Browne, attempting to adjust his caricatural style to the new realism of the Sixties, and the American political cartoonist Thomas Nast have seized upon the same serio-comic moment. Nast's treatment is rather more melodramatic, but also better organised than Phiz's, in which Tupman merely holds his arm as the party of birders, shocked and immobile, looks on. Winkle in particular seems stunned rather than suitably distressed that he has shot his friend by accident.
Although both artists have recognised the comic possibilities of the Dingley Dell rook-hunting expedition, they have realised different moments as Tupman, Snodgrass, and Winkle join Pickwick, Wardle, and Joe (the Fat Boy) in the rookery. Invited to shoot after their host has brought down a plump rook, Winkle (who has heretofore praised himself as an expert marksman) fails in his first attempt because he has not loaded the fowling-piece with a percussion cap. On the second attempt, Winkle fires just as Tupman looks out from behind a tree. In the Nast illustration, Tupman is already laid out on the ground; Mr. Winkle has yet to kneel "horror-stricken" (44) beside the victim, but is clearly distressed that his ineptitude with the firearm (on the ground, just behind him) has resulted in so dire a mishap. Although Dickens does not describe Pickwick's reaction, Nast plausibly realizes the leader's shock, and has placed him nearest the fallen Tupman. In contrast, in the Phiz composition, Pickwick seems stunned and at a loss for words. As the readers respond to the accompanying text (some ten pages further on), as well return to the composite woodblock engraving which they have considered only proleptically, they eventually learn that the mishap has not proven fatal to the unfortunate spectator, whose arm his "anxious" friends subsequently bind up with pocket-handkerchiefs before transporting him to the manor house. As with their ineptitude with the horses earlier, Winkle's inexperience here has caused some minor damage (not the least to the group's pride as outdoorsmen!), but the Pickwickians have survived intact to blunder on through further rural misadventures.
Although Phiz depicts Tupman as on the verge of collapse, he does not indicate that Tupman is bleeding or that his condition has prompted the others in the scene to administer first-aid. Phiz has somewhat surprisingly set the context of the rook-shooting as within sight of the substantial farmhouse (left rear). Already the hunting party have had some success as Joe, The Fat Boy, standing beside Pickwick is holding a dead rook. To focus the reader's attention on the principal figures, Phiz has lightly sketched in the tree-trunks and the half-dozen supporting characters, drawing the eye inevitably to the victim and the shocked principal, Winkle (extreme right) who has just wounded his friend.
Parallel Scene by Thomas Nast in the American Household Edition (1873)
Above: Nast's somewhat cartoonish treatment of the farcical scene in which Winkle, Pickwick's lieutenant at this point in the episodic narrative, a thorough urbanite, pretends to be knowledgable about firearms and hunting, but reveals his total ignorance of such matters when he fails to charge his piece, and then accidentally wounds a hapless companion in To describe the confusion that ensued would be impossible (1873). [Click on the image to enlarge it.]
Related Material: Other 19th c. Programs of Illustration
- The complete list of illustrations by Seymour and Phiz for the original edition
- An introduction to the Household Edition (1871-79)
- A selection of Harry Furniss's lithographs for the 1910 Charles Dickens Library Edition
- Darley's 1861 Frontispieces
- Sol Eytinge, Jr.'s Diamond Edition illustrations (1867)
Dickens, Charles. "Pickwick Papers. Illustrated by Robert Seymour and Hablot Knight Browne. London: Chapman & Hall, 1836-37.
Dickens, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. Engraved by A. V. S. Anthony. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.
Dickens, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. The Household Edition. Illustrated by Thomas Nast. New York: Harper and Brothers 1873.
Last modified 11 August 2019