Portrait of Charles Dickens as Americans Saw Him in 1867-68
Wood engraving, approximately 10 cm high by 7.5 cm wide (framed)
The portrait appeared in Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club in the Ticknor and Fields (Boston, 1867) Diamond Edition, facing the tite-page.
Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
[You may use these images 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.]
This 1867 Eytinge portrait of Dickens also appeared as the frontispiece in the juvenile monthly magazine Our Young Folks in January 1868 for the first of the four instalments of A Holiday Romance. The date of 1867 on the title-page of the Diamond Edition of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club suggests that it might have been completed before Dickens arrived in Boston in November of that year, but it is possible that Eytinge consulted Dickens about the illustrations for this volume of the Diamond edition since that volume alone among the originally planned fourteen contains a portrait of Dickens quite probably executed by Eytinge in November or December 1867; it appears to be identical to the one used by Ticknor Fields for the Our Young Folks illustrated version of A Holiday Romance. Consequently, one might conclude that the volume did not go to press until January 1868, although admittedly this earliest novel in the Dickens canon would not be the logical choice for the fourteenth and final volume, considering the continuing popularity of the novel in the United States and therefore its continuing power to attract purchasers.
Although no longer the fashionable London "buck" of 1842, for each of his Boston constitutionals in late 1867 Dickens was as beautifully dressed as he was for the stage. In contrast to the conventional dark-hued suits of Bostonian middle-class males, for his first pedestrian excursion, for example, Dickens wore
Light trousers with a broad stripe down the side, a brown coat bound with wide braid of a darker shade and faced with velvet, a flowered fancy vest . . . necktie secured with a jewelled ring and a loose kimono-like topcoat with wide sleeves and the lapels heavily embroidered, a silk hat, and very light yellow gloves. . . . [cited in Ackroyd, Dickens, 1011]
The Eytinge portrait, however, casts Dickens as a serious and even sombre man whose careworn features belie his actual age of 55, for he looks a good ten years older. This study is not the same as Eytinge's celebrated portrait, which Ticknor and Fields reproduced in 1868 as a souvenir of the American reading tour (included by William Winter in Old Friends. The portrait still reveals animation and a sense of playing to the audience, whereas this "close up" is highly introspective, like the half-awake writer of Buss's "Dickens' Dream." The strain of nearly a decade of keeping up pretences, of being the champion of family values in All the Year Round while carrying on a clandestine affair with young actress Ellen Ternan, whom he met when she was just a teenager acting in The Frozen Deep (1857) is all too evident. Moreover, the toll taken upon his health by the Staplehurst railway accident and by the recent transatlantic voyage may also be reflected in the study of Dickens as a prematurely aged fifty-five year-old.
The Ticknor & Fields Diamond Edition, 1867-68
In its "quality" periodical, The Atlantic Monthly, and in its special commemorative edition of the reading text of "Dr. Marigold" and "The Trial" from "Pickwick" (1868, but registered for copyright in 1867), Ticknor (later, Osgood) and Fields of Boston advertised its forthcoming 14-volume Diamond Edition of Dickens's works, which was to be published at the rate of four volumes per month and at the cost of $1.50 each (for green Morocco cloth; $3.00, half-calf) with 16 full-page illustrations by Sol Eytinge, Jr., in each volume. The additional, sixteenth volume was not a work by Dickens, but a concordance of Dickens's characters and locales:
- 1. Pickwick Papers
- 2. Our Mutual Friend
- 3. David Copperfield
- 4. Nicholas Nickleby
- 5. Martin Chuzzlewit
- 6. Dombey and Son
- 7. Old Curiosity Shop
- 8. Little Dorrit
- 9. Bleak House
- 10. Burnaby Rudge
- 11. Oliver Twist, Pictures from Italy, American Notes
- 12. A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations
- 13. Christmas Books and Sketches by Boz
- 14. The Uncommercial Traveller and additional Christmas Stories. [published 1 Feb. 1868]
Other artists who illustrated this work
Ackroyd, Peter. Dickens. London: G. K. Stevenson, 1988.
Bentley, Nicolas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1988.
Cohen, Jane Rabb. "Dickens and His Principal Illustrator, Hablot Knight Browne." Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators. Columbus: Ohio State U. P., 1980. Pp. 61-122.
Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Checkmark and Facts On File, 1998.
Dickens, Charles. The Posthumous Adventures of the Pickwick Club. Il. Sol Eytinge, Jr. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1869.
Dickens, Charles. "Pickwick Papers (1836-37). Il. Hablot Knight Browne. The Charles Dickens Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867.
Dickens, Charles. "Pickwick Papers (1836-37). Il. Hablot Knight Browne. The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1873.
Dickens, Charles. "Pickwick Papers (1836-37). Il. Thomas Nast. The Household Edition. New York: Harper and Bros., 1873.
Guiliano, Edward, and Philip Collins, eds. The Annotated Dickens. Vol. 1. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1986.
Hammerton, J. A. The Dickens Picture-Book. London: Educational Book Co., 1910.
Kitton, Frederic G. Dickens and His Illustrators. 1899. Rpt. Honolulu: U. Press of the Pacific, 2004.
Steig, Michael. Dickens and Phiz. Bloomington & London: Indiana U.P., 1978.
Last modified 6 March 2012