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Frederic G. Kitton (1899) has noted that, although limited, Felix Octavius Carr Darley's frontispieces for Dickens has made him "Perhaps the best of Dickens's American illustrators" (223), rivalling the work of fellow Harper's illustrator John McLenan and Ticknor Fields house artist Sol Eytinge, Jr. in the study of Dickens's characters. Some ten years younger than the British author whose works he illustrated in the fifty-five volume so-called "Household Edition" for New York publisher James G. Gregory, Philadelphia-born artist Felix Octavius Carr Darley was recognized in his era as one of the chief illustrators of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Washington Irving, and Edgar Allen Poe, although he also illustrated such lesser American writers as Mary Maples Dodge, George Lippard, Donald Grant Mitchell, Clement Clarke Moore, Frances Parkman, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The son of an English actor, Darley, a skilled draughtsman, did large-scale genre prints such as "The Wedding Procession" and "The Village Blacksmith," as well as historical subjects such as "Washington's Entry into New York" (from Washington Irving's 1860 five-volume The Life of George Washington, G. P. Putnam, 1862). After moving to New York City in 1848, he became a house artist for Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization from its founding, supplying wood-engravings for the periodical, but lithographs and photogravure prints for such series as the complete works of James Fenimore Cooper (1859-1861), for which, prior to undertaking Dickens, Darley had executed more than five hundred illustrations. His "Household Edition" Dickens illustrations were subsequently reproduced in Houghton Mifflin's Standard Library Edition in 32 volumes (Boston, 1894). Darley also provided six plates for Children from Dickens's Novels and eight photogravures for the Imperial Edition of Dickens's works, issued in considerable numbers by Estes and Lauriat, Boston. Leaving New York in 1859 with his bride, he took up residence at Darley House in Clayton, Delaware, where Charles Dickens visited him while on his second reading tour of the United States in 1867. Although he died in Clayton on 27 March 1888, Felix Octavius Carr Darley is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His best-known picture, often reproduced, remains A Visit from Saint Nicholasfor the 1862 Christmas book of the same name by Clement Clarke Moore.

Works

Secondary materials

Bolton, Theodore. The Book Illustrations of Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1951). Worcester, Mass: American Antiquarian Society, 1952.

Kitton, Frederic G. "F. O. C. Darley." Dickens and His Illustrators. London: Chapman and Hall, 1899. Rpt. Honolulu: University Press of the Pacific, 2004. Pp. 223-224.

Loomis, Richard Stillman, Jr. "45." First American Editions of Charles Dickens. The Calinescu Collection, Part II. Yarmouth, ME: Sumner and Stillman, 2012.

Books illustrated by Darley

Dickens, Charles. Christmas Books. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. 55 vols. Il. F. O. C. Darley. 2 vols. New York: James G. Gregory, 1861.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. 55 vols. Il. F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. 2 vols. New York: James G. Gregory, 1861.

Dickens, Charles. Hard Times. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. 55 vols. Il. F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. 2 vols. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1863.

Dickens, Charles. Martin Chuzzlewit. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. 55 vols. Il. F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. 4 vols. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1862.

Dickens, Charles. The Pickwick Papers. Il. F. O. C. Darley. Volumes 1 and 2 [originally four volumes in the James G. Gregory Household Edition]. The Riverside Edition. New York and Cambridge, Mass.: Hurd and Houghton, and Riverside, 1872.

Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. 55 vols. Il. F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. 2 vols. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1863.

Dickens, Charles. The Uncommercial Traveller. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. 55 vols. Il. F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1865.


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Last modified 10 February 2014