In anticipation of Dickens's long-awaited 1867-1868 reading tour, which had been postponed by the American Civil War, the Boston publisher James T. Fields had commissioned from Eytinge ninety-six designs for wood-engravings to grace the pages of the exhaustive Diamond Edition of Dickens's works, each volume being of compact dimensions with very fine but sharp type. Logically intended for readers travelling on the American railroads of New England, the publication of this slender volume coincided that momentous visit to American shores.

On the verso of the title-page is the statement that James T. Fields, the author's friend and confidant, so valued since it authorized his firm as Dickens's sole representatives in the United States:

Gad's Hill Place, Higham by Rochester, Kent,
Second April, 1867.
By a special arrangement made with me and my English Publishers (partners with me in the copyright of my works), MESSRS. TICKNOR AND FIELDS, of Boston, have become the only authorized representatives in America of the whole series of my books.
CHARLES DICKENS.

William Winter in his autobiography recalls that Sol Eytinge, Jr.'s illustrations for Dickens's works "gained the emphatic approval of the novelist" (318), although of course the pair did not actively collaborate on this series, as did Hablot Knight Browne, George Cattermole, and Charles Dickens for the seventy-six serial illustrations for the Chapman and Hall publication in Master Humphrey's Clock, 25 April 1840 through 6 February 1841 in forty parts. As one regards this series of individual and group character studies for Barnaby Rudge (1867) and appreciates them as exemplars of the new realism of the the sixties' manner of book and magazine illustration, one is tempted to agree with Winter that

The most appropriate pictures that have been made for illustration of the novels of Dickens, — pictures that are truly representative and free from the element of caricature, — are those made by Eytinge. . . . [317-318]

  1. I. Barnaby and His Mother [Barnaby Rudge]
  2. "II. John Willet and His Cronies"
  3. "III. Sim Tappertit and Stagg"
  4. "IV. Old Rudge"
  5. "V. Mr. and Mrs. Varden and Miss Miggs"
  6. "VI. Joe Willet and Dolly Varden"
  7. "VII. Mr. Chester and Edward"
  8. "VIII. Lord Gordon, Gashford, and Grueby"
  9. "IX. Mr. Haredale"
  10. "X. Dennis and Hugh"
  11. Title-page for the "Diamond Edition" of Barnaby Rudge and Hard Times (1867).

References

Schlicke, Paul, ed. The Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1999.

Dickens, Charles. Barnaby Rudge and Hard Times. Il. Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867.

Kitton, Frederic George. Dickens and His Illustrators: Cruikshank, Seymour, Buss, "Phiz," Cattermole, Leech, Doyle, Stanfield, Maclise, Tenniel, Frank Stone, Landseer, Palmer, Topham, Marcus Stone, and Luke Fildes. Amsterdam: S. Emmering, 1972. Re-print of the London 1899 edition.

Winter, William. "Charles Dickens" and "Sol Eytinge." Old Friends: Being Literary Recollections of Other Days. New York: Moffat, Yard, & Co., 1909. Pp. 181-202, 317-319.


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Last modified 8 November 2011