Barnaby Rudge and Grip the Raven
Felix O. C. Darley
11.4 by 10 cm vignetted
Dickens's Barnaby Rudge, as realised in Character Sketches from Dickens (1888).
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Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
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As he stood, at that moment, half shrinking back and half bending forward, both his face and figure were full in the strong glare of the link, and as distinctly revealed as though it had been broad day. He was about three-and-twenty years old, and though rather spare, of a fair height and strong make. His hair, of which he had a great profusion, was red, and hanging in disorder about his face and shoulders, gave to his restless looks an expression quite unearthly — enhanced by the paleness of his complexion, and the glassy lustre of his large protruding eyes. Startling as his aspect was, the features were good, and there was something even plaintive in his wan and haggard aspect. But, the absence of the soul is far more terrible in a living man than in a dead one; and in this unfortunate being its noblest powers were wanting.
His dress was of green, clumsily trimmed here and there — apparently by his own hands — with gaudy lace; brightest where the cloth was most worn and soiled, and poorest where it was at the best. A pair of tawdry ruffles dangled at his wrists, while his throat was nearly bare. He had ornamented his hat with a cluster of peacock's feathers, but they were limp and broken, and now trailed negligently down his back. Girt to his side was the steel hilt of an old sword without blade or scabbard; and some parti-colored ends of ribands and poor glass toys completed the ornamental portion of his attire. The fluttered and confused disposition of all the motley scraps that formed his dress, bespoke, in a scarcely less degree than his eager and unsettled manner, the disorder of his mind, and by a grotesque contrast set off and heightened the more impressive wildness of his face. — Chapter III, Household Edition, vol. 1, p. 51-52.
Dickens's official illustrators for Barnaby Rudge, George Cattermole and Hablot Knight Browne depict the "natural," Barnaby, some nine times in their seventy-six illustrations, first seen in Master Humphrey's Clock 13 February through 27 November 1841. Although Dickens introduces Barnaby in the third chapter simultaneously with Phiz's illustration Succouring the Wounded, Darley's model appears to be Barnaby Greets His Mother in chapter 17 (17 April 1841), although Barnaby does not appear before his mother carrying the pet raven.
Furthermore, Darley has altered the context, as he does not depict either Mrs. Rudge, or her parlour, or yet her scapegrace husband, peeping out from the closet. Thus, Darley has eliminated the dramatic context in order to focus on the character of Barnaby. Rather, adjusting Barnaby's figure so that he is now facing the reader, Darley presents a more natural figure with a normal walking staff as he and his avian companion make their way to London, still twenty miles away according to the milestone, through open country. In fact, Barnaby does not travel the highroad to London at this point, but some five years later, in Part 25 (31 July 1841), and he does so in company with his mother. In rendering Barnaby realistically and in the round Darley has removed the somewhat fantastic aspects of Phiz's caricature, and made him more sympathetic, as is appropriate to Dickens's text.
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Bolton, Theodore. The Book Illustrations of Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1951). Worcester, Mass: American Antiquarian Society, 1952.
Darley, Felix Octavius Carr. Character Sketches from Dickens. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates, 1888.
Dickens, Charles. Barnaby Rudsge/span>. Illustrated by Phiz and George Cattermole. London: Chapman and Hall, 1841.
Dickens, Charles. Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. 55 vols. Illustrated by F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1862. 3 vols.
Dickens, Charles. Barnaby Rudge. Works of Charles Dickens. Diamond Edition. 18 vols. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.
Dickens, Charles. Barnaby Rudge. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. Illustrated by Fred Barnard. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874. Vol. 7.
Dickens, Charles. Barnaby Rudge. Works of Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. London: Educational Book Company, 1910. Vol. 6.
Dickens, Charles. Barnaby Rudge. Ed. Gordon Spence Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne and George Cattermole. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977.
Hammerton, J. A. The Dickens Picture-Book. Works of Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book Company, 1910. Vol. 17.
F. O. C.
Last modified 15 August 2014