Mr. Flintwinch mediates as a friend of the family (facing p. 42) — originally, Phiz's third illustration for Dickens's Little Dorrit, Authentic Edition, 1901. Steel engraving for Book the First, "Riches," Chapter 5, "Family Affairs" (originally in Part 2, January 1856). 10.1 cm high x 12.6 cm wide, vignetted. [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image 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.]

Passage Illustrated

"Now," said Jeremiah; "premising that I'm not going to stand between you two, will you let me ask (as I have been called in, and made a third) what is all this about?"

"Take your version of it,' returned Arthur, finding it left to him to speak, "from my mother. Let it rest there. What I have said, was said to my mother only."

"Oh!" returned the old man. "From your mother? Take it from your mother? Well! But your mother mentioned that you had been suspecting your father. That's not dutiful, Mr Arthur. Who will you be suspecting next?"

"Enough," said Mrs Clennam, turning her face so that it was addressed for the moment to the old man only. "Let no more be said about this."

"Yes, but stop a bit, stop a bit," the old man persisted. "Let us see how we stand. Have you told Mr Arthur that he mustn't lay offences at his father's door? That he has no right to do it? That he has no ground to go upon?"

"I tell him so now."

"Ah! Exactly," said the old man. "You tell him so now. You hadn't told him so before, and you tell him so now. Ay, ay! That's right! You know I stood between you and his father so long, that it seems as if death had made no difference, and I was still standing between you. So I will, and so in fairness I require to have that plainly put forward. Arthur, you please to hear that you have no right to mistrust your father, and have no ground to go upon." — Book the First, "Poverty," Chapter 5, "Family Affairs," p. 44.


Mr. Flintwinch mediates as a friend of the Family, (Bk 1, ch. 5) again, is elaborately etched, with all three faces modeled and the background fully filled in. Mr. Flintwinch's face is the most striking, done with a modified caricature technique which conveys the man's grotesqueness without that impossibility of face one sometimes got in Browne's early work. An emblematic detail appears, done with extreme care in the working drawing as well as the etching, which may at first seem out of place in the mode Browne establishes in these first few illustrations, where tone and composition seem to matter more than minor detail. It is a picture over Flintwinch's head, identifiable as the central portion of John Martin's painting and mezzotint, Joshua Commanding the Sun to standstill on Gibeon, probably the most familiar image of this episode in the first half of the century, especially in woodcut illustrations of the Bible (see William Feaver). The presence of such a picture in the room of Mrs. Clennam, an extreme self-justifying Calvinist, is plausible. In Dickens' words, Mrs. Clennam has "a general impression" that threatening to disown her son "was in some sort a religious proceeding" (Bk 1, ch. 5, p. 37). Jeremiah's first name also fits well with his function as mediator, speaking for the lordly Mrs. Clennam to the sinful Arthur. In the detail, Joshua's hand is raised in the same way as Flintwinch's, and there is a visual pun: the (supposed) man of God causes the "son" to stand still, to cease his rebellion (There is a similar pun in a detail in James Gillray's L'Assemble Nationale. . . (BM Cat 10253), which anticipates the Prince of Wales's becoming Regent; and see chapter V, above, for a related pun in a David Copperfield illustration.). [Steig, Ch. 6, p. 163]


Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ("Phiz"). The Authentic Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1901 [rpt. of the 1868 volume, based on the 30 May 1857 volume].

Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. Frontispieces by Felix Octavius Carr Darley and Sir John Gilbert. The Household Edition. 55 vols. New York: Sheldon & Co., 1863. 4 vols.

Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867. 14 vols.

Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. Illustrated by James Mahoney. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1873. Vol. 5.

Dickens, Charles. Little Dorrit. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. 12.

Hammerton, J. A. "Chapter 19: Little Dorrit." The Dickens Picture-Book. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. 18 vols. London: Educational Book Co., 1910. Vol. 17. Pp. 398-427.

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.

Lester, Valerie Browne. Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens. London: Chatto and Windus, 2004.

Steig, Michael. Dickens and Phiz. Bloomington & London: Indiana U.P., 1978.

Vann, J. Don. Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: The Modern Language Association, 1985.

Last modified 21 May 2016