For Dombey and Son, his seventh novel, Charles Dickens once again enlisted Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne) as his illustrator. Bradbury and Evans published Dombey and Son in twenty parts from October 1846 through April 1848; it appeared in nineteen monthly instalments, the last being a "double number" and differed from Dickens's previous novels in two ways: First, although it appeared in parts, the author himself arranged with a printer to publish them rather than their appearing in a magazine. Second, it had unusually careful planning and symmetrical composition of installments.

After successful string of novels beginning with The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club in 1836, Dickens had split with publishers Chapman and Hall over the less than stellar profits for A Christmas Carol in 1844. Throughout the remainder of the 1840s, Dickens published both the seasonal Christmas Books and his serialised novels through the firm of William Bradbury and Frederick Mullett Evans, formerly only printers until they became the proprietors of Punch. Through them he published both The Battle of Life in December 1846, and in monthly parts his seventh full-length novel, Dombey and Son, Wholesale Retail & for Exportation in shilling numbers from October 1846 through April 1848, with the nineteenth and final instalment a double number (April 1848: ch. 58-62) containing four plates: two regular engravings, a frontispiece, and an engraved title-page. At the conclusion of serialisation, Bradbury and Evans issued the novel in a single volume.

A typical instalment contained three uniform chapters, the exceptions being no. 12 (September 1847: ch. 35-38) and no. 19 (really 19-20, a double-number, April 1848: ch. 58-62). Although he does not reproduce the wrapper in Chapter 16 of The Dickens Picture-Book (1910), on p. 294 J. A. Hammerton gives the frontispiece (also provided by Michael Steig in Dickens and Phiz), thirty-seven of the thirty-eight plates issued two each for every monthly part, and five so-called "character plates" from Phiz's correspondence: Little Paul, Florence, Alice, and Edith. Paul Schicke in The Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens (1999) notes that Phiz also supplied "the wrapper design, frontispiece, and vignette title-page" (85), for a grand total of forty-six illustrations.

According to Hammerton, “Kitton chronicles the fact that all the the plates were etched in duplicate, and the greater number were drawn on quarto plates with two subjects on each. In Dombey Phiz first made use of the oblong form of illustration, all his earlier plates having been designed as uprights, often to the ruin of the subject” (295).

The following illustrations, a number of them colourised, come from the Caxton Publishing Company’s so-called "London Edition" and are identical in scale to the plates in the original monthly numbers. This volume, however, does not contain all of the original thirty-nine plates. Therefore I have supplemented the London Edition, adding the missing illustrations from The Dickens Picture-Book (1910). —  Philip V. Allingham

The 40 Plates, plus colourised versions from 1910 and working sketches

Other material, including front matter and sketches


Dickens, Charles. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Hablot K. Browne ("Phiz"). 8 coloured plates. London and Edinburgh: Caxton and Ballantyne, Hanson, 1910.

Hammerton, J. A.. The Dickens Picture-Book. London: Educational Book Co., [1910].

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

Last modified 7 August 2015