The vignette on page 112 merely labelled "Page 110," although effective as a description of Anne entering Benjamin Derriman's residence, Oxwell Hall, and suggesting the miser's parsimony in having visitors enter by a hurdle, poses two problems fairly common in Collier's program of illustration. First, since he has provided no proper caption but a mere page number, Collier compels the reader to go back several pages to locate the moment illustrated: "Anne passed under the arched gateway . . . went on to a second [enclosure] and open door, across which was another hurdle to keep the live stock from absolute community with the inmates" (p. 110). Since the passage is in fact an entire paragraph, the serial reader must have found it difficult to determine the precise moment realised in the ninth plate. Although just one other plate (that on page 441) is identified solely by a page number, fifteen plates bear no captions, so that the serial reader must have floundered frequently, not even sure whether Collier was illustrating a moment that had passed, or a moment yet to come. Effectively, half the plates lack proper captions to guide the reader-viewer.
The second problem posed by the ninth plate is equally serious: narrative-pictorial continuity of figures -- in this case, that of Anne Garland, whose face looks different on almost every one of the seventeen occasions on which she is depicted, the two closest images being those in plates 2, "On a fine summer morning . . . . Anne looked rather frequently from the open casement." (top half of p. 8), and 30, "Anne swept with her eyes the tremulous expanse of waters around her" (half-page, centre of p. 729), illustrating the opening of eleventh instalment on page 721, although her nose is a little sharper in the former, and the headdress -- cloth for indoors in the former, a Leghorn bonnet of straw for outdoors in the latter -- differs. In plate 9, Anne is wearing a light straw hat with dark band, a dark shawl, and boots; however, in plate 10, as she reads the newspaper to Uncle Benjy, she is wearing a light shawl, slipper, and a different head-covering, even though the moments illustrated are immediately sequential. Her images on pages 156, 256, facing 258, and 441 have similar discontinuities. It is hardly surprising, then, that so perceptive a viewer-reader as Arlene Jackson should misidentify the young woman in the June illustration (no. 15), "'She was standing before the looking-glass, apparently lost in thought.' Page 361." (full-page, facing p. 360), as Anne Garland when, in fact, the complementary text, facing the illustration, clearly indicates that Anne and her mother have "gone out on the bridge to look at the new moon" (361) and that a light has appeared "in the room which had been assigned to Matilda Johnson" (361), whom John confronts about her sexual history in the succeeding dialogue.
Although the Miss Johnsons of plates 13, 14, 15, and 26 look nothing much alike, examination of the text should have clarified the subject's identity in plate 15. "The pose and situation of Miss Garland [in fact, Miss Johnson] suggests [sic] the famous nineteenth century painting, Millais's Mariana, painted some twenty [in fact, almost thirty] years earlier and based on Tennyson's poem of the same name" (122). Jackson sees the plate as a piece of Collier's "mood-painting" and a tribute to his master, Sir John Everett Millais:
Though the plate is technically well-executed, and Anne [Matilda's] presentation is provocative as she ponders her fate and her womanhood [advancing rapidly to middle age] in the mirror before her, the scene ironically serves to emphasize the unsatisfactory quality of the other illustrations. [Jackson 123]
However, the Collier plate is a mirror image of Millais's Mariana in its composition: whereas Millais shows his subject holding her back and facing left (towards despair and advancing age, as symbolized by the autumn leaves on her embroidery), Collier shows his facing right, her arms behind her head as she puts up her hair and considers her future as Mrs. Robert Loveday. Collier's scene is lit by romantic but distorting candle light, Millais by prosaic daylight. Admittedly, the chest of drawers surmounted by candles echoes the miniature altar in the background of the famous 1851 Pre-Raphaelite painting. However, while Mariana believes that, abandoned by Angelo after the loss of her dowry in a shipwreck, she has nothing to live for since love and marriage seem unlikely at this point in her life, in fact Shakespeare's providential Duke in Measure for Measure is about to bring her her heart's desire. Conversely, while the smiling and slightly vain Matilda believes that, despite fleeting youth, she is about to become a wife, the reader learns by the end of the first column of accompanying text that John has compelled her to give up this scheme, and that for Matilda the future holds no immediate prospect of a respectable marriage -- ironically, of course, in the closing pages she weds the irascible Festus Derriman.
The problem of pictorial continuity with respect to the figure of Festus, the miles gloriosus and romantic rival (by virtue of his class and expectations), is almost as great as that which Collier's varied depictions of Anne create. Hardy provides little physical description for the artist to work with: Festus is specifically "colossal," "of florid complexion, red-haired, and tall" (106); he is always seen in the uniform of the yeomanry cavalry. In terms of personality, he is intrusive, egotistical, and at heart (despite fierce words and his tendency to threaten in order to get what he wants) a coward. In the narrative-pictorial program, Festus is the fourth most frequently represented character, appearing seven times, in plates 4, 5, 7, 11, 22, and 24. In his first appearance, in plate 4, he is certainly large, but not without dignity and seriousness -- there is nothing of the braggadocio in this dark-haired singer. In plate 5, Festus, although wearing the same uniform and caught in the same pose, has much lighter hair. The Festus in his uncle's drawing-room (plate 7) has lighter hair but a uniform with dark facing and a single bandoleer. in all three representations Collier does not give any visual clue to Festus's darker side. He has changed uniform again in plate 11 (facing page 258), and wears this second uniform again in plates 22 and 23; his face, framed by his helmet and plume (and not the cap he carries in his first appearance), seems much more sharp-featured -- not to say mild-mannered and pleasant, despite the fury with which he assails the door, symbolically breaking his sabre in the process. Furthermore, until the twenty-second plate Collier has never suggested the comedic function that Festus serves; visually, there has been no hint of vanity, wrong-headedness, or even bad temper. A far more telling moment in Anne's entrapment in the isolated cottage in Chapters 27 and 28: Festus's flinging himself against the door and watching in frustration as Anne escapes on his charger, the ironically-named Champion, are far more telling and dramatic moments, and either would have been far more appropriate for the buffooon's last pictorial appearance. Collier has done better at capturing Miller Loveday's essence, a joie de vivre and bonhomie that he manifests on all occasions and evident in the scene in which he knocks on the Garlands' door, inviting them to meet some of the interesting people from outside the little corner of Wessex that is all the world Anne has ever known. As in Hardy's text, in Collier's plate on page 11 the miller is "dressed in an intervening suit between sober and gay, which he used for such occasions as the present one" (p. 11); although Collier does not suggest a striped waistcoat or speckled stockings, he has provided "steel-buckled shoes." Collier's slightly larger representation of the miller (although still small-scale and dropped into the text) on page 433 shows him garbed as a volunteer in the local militia -- the rifle and his older face distinguish him from other uniformed characters such as Festus and John. Undoubtedly much to the confusion of readers of Good Words, Hardy's description to match the plate occurs a chapter later: "the miller, following the example of all his neighbours, had become a volunteer, and duly appeared twice a week in a red, long-tailed military coat, pipe-clayed breeches, black cloth gaiters, a heel-balled helmet-hat with a tuft of green wool, and epaulettes of the same colour and material" (437). Nowhere does Hardy mention the bandoleers or the feather in the hat. The point of the plate is to underscore that, while even his father is actively assisting in the war effort, Bob has refrained from committing himself to any cause but his love for Anne. In his other appearance, in plate 12, Miller Loveday is a mere shadow in the background, the picture's focus being Anne's and her mother's contrasting responses to Bob's exotic gifts.
Last modified 27 July 2001