Spring Killed by Haggard Winter —

Harry Furniss


13.7 x 9 cm framed

Dickens's Christmas Books, Charles Dickens Library Edition, facing p. 384.

Although the subject of the scene is an actual incident in the story, the caption is a metaphor for the effect that Redlaw's "gift" has on others; thus, the illustration of the young prostitute in Furniss's illustration is akin to that by John Leech of the boy and girl, Ignorance and Want, in his highly realistic delineation of these figures, allegorical and yet convincing in their suffering, in Ignorance and Want (1843). Furniss's scene is unusual in that it realises an aspect of the story which all the other illustrators of the book have avoided: the East-end slum from which the urchin comes, where, moreover, dissolute gambler George Swidger lies dying. [Commentary continued below.]

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Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.

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