Walter Stanley Paget (1863-1935), the youngest and perhaps the least artistically talented of the three Paget brothers, held a gold medal from the Royal Academy of Art, and, like his brothers, illustrated books and magazines in late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century London, signing himself as "Wal Paget":

His eldest brother, Henry, attended the Royal Academy Schools and worked for The Sphere as a "special artist" during the Balkan War of 1912-13. Walter had worked for this magazine, too, in London during the Boer War, turning the rough sketches sent by the paper's "specials" in South Africa into complete illustrations for publication. Walter's second brother, Sidney, also attended the Academy Schools. . . . Walter Paget's art was usually workmanlike but for the most part uninspired. (Arabian Nights Books [online source])

Walter Paget "also . . . produc[ed] coloured illustrations of pretty girls, rather feeble rustic interiors, and easy-to-view scenes of country life, soldiers and girls, and courting couples. He had a keen sense of correct costume for his figures, as shown to advantage in many of his illustrations, for example to Robinson Crusoe in the early 1890s." (mrholmes.com [online source])

It was Walter Paget whom Strand Magazine publisher Sir George Newnes (who founded The Strand in 1891, The Westminster Gazette in 1873, and Country Life in 1897) had selected to illustrate the initial six Holmes stories, but through a mix-up Sidney Paget received that commission instead. Sidney Paget illustrated thirty-eight Holmes stories, including The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1891-93), The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, and The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), his 357 drawings involving his younger brother Walter as the facial model for the detective. For Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Dying Detective," first published in the November 1913 issue of Collier's Weekly Magazine, Frederic Dorr Steele provided three illustrations. In Great Britain, the same story appeared in The Strand Magazine for December 1913 accompanied by four illustrations by Walter Paget.

In "Hardy's Forgotten Illustrators" (Bulletin of the New York Public Library, Vol. 77, no. 4: 454-463), Norman Page asserts that Walter Paget ("who also illustrated novels by Scott and Stevenson" 456) illustrated the twelve weekly instalments (Oct. 1-Dec. 17, 1892) of The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved in The Illustrated London News with 24 plates. The same decorative headpiece by Paget accompanied each instalment:

"The decorative headpiece was the same for each instalment, and depicted a blindfolded male figure reaching out toward three beautiful but elusive women, all four figures draped in the costuming of ancient Greece. The headpiece thus reflects the pursuit of the ideal, the frustration of the quest, and possibly even the ironic possibilities of Hardy's serial text." (Arlene M. Jackson, Illustration and the Novels of Thomas Hardy 58)

When Hardy published the novella in volume form in 1897, he shortened the title to The Well-Beloved and revised the opening and the closing of the serial text considerably. See Richard Little Purdy, Thomas Hardy: A Bibliographical Study (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968), pp. 93-4. The volume edition did not include any of Paget's plates, whose large scale rendered them unsuitable for a standard-sized book. In fact, as Page notes, "of the 171 illustrations which originally appeared alongside Hardy's text [i. e., of his ten serialised, illustrated novels], almost none survives in the various collected editions" (457). Walter Paget also provided four illustrations for Thomas Hardy's short story "On the Western Circuit" for its initial publication in the English Illustrated Magazine (December 1891, pp. 275-88).

Jackson praises Paget's handling of the landscape scenes in The Pursuit of the Well-Beloved, especially his treatment of the Isle of the Slingers -- "proportioning of figure to landscape and juxtaposing of one human figure with another are especially well done" (127).


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Last modified June 29, 2002