Will Fern's Cottage

Clarkson Stanfield


Wood engraving

Full-page illustration for Dickens's The Chimes: Third Quarter, page 120.

When a party of aristocrats approach the Dorset peasant's cottage in search of the picturesque, the owner of the building, radical Will Fern, emphasizes the economic and political realities underlying the aesthetic concept of the picturesque:

Gentlefolks, I've lived many a year in this place. You may see the cottage from the sunk fence over yonder. I've seen the ladies draw it in their books, a hundred times. It looks well in a picter, I've heerd say; but there an't weather in picters, and maybe 'tis fitter for that, than for a place to live in. Well! I lived there. How hard — how bitter hard, I lived there, I won't say. Any day in the year, and every day, you can judge for your own selves. [Third Quarter, page 119 — prior to the illustration]

[Click on image to enlarge it.]

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.

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