Frontispiece, vol. 1 (1858)

Vignette Title-Page, vol. 1, Illustrated Library Edition

Phiz (Hablot K. Browne)



Dickens's David Copperfield, ch.

Source: Nonesuch

By the time that Chapman and Hall commissioned Hablot Knight Browne to provide new title-page vignettes for the two-volume Illustrated Library Edition of David Copperfield in 1858, the British reading public would have been well aware of the general plot outline of the bildungsroman, including the domestic scenes in the Peggotty boathouse, that peculiar bastion of middle-class domestic sentiment and home to the atypical Peggotty family grouping of uncle, aunt, niece, nephew — and business partner's widow, Mrs. Gummidge. Although both little Em'ly and diminutive David appear in "I am hospitably received by Mr. Peggotty", only in the frontispiece for the first volume edition (first issued in the November 1850 "double" number, being the nineteenth monthly instalment) does Phiz foreground the figure and mental state of Em'ly herself as a child. [Commentary contimnued below]

Image scan and text by Philip V. Allingham.

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