Is a critic of Victorian illustration to be credited who places an accent over the "o" in "Hablot" (i. e., Hablot Knight Browne, a. k. a. "Phiz")? Despite this solecism, the first critic to make a methodical study of the work of Dickens's illustrations during his lifetime and afterwards, including the American illustrators such as Sol Eytinge and John McLenan then quite unknown in Britain, was Frederic G. Kitton. In Dickens and His Illustrators (1899), Kitton comments upon the collaborative work of seventeen British artists, retailing anecdotes about Dickens, some furnished him by the artists themselves. Not nearly as thorough as, for example, Michael Steig in Dickens and Phiz (1978) or Jane R. Cohen in Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators (1980), Kitton often focuses on one particular book per illustrator, as, for example, Marcus Stone and the plates for the serial run of Our Mutual Friend (1864-65).
Of Stone's displacing Phiz as the illustrator for Great Expectations when it appeared in volume form in the 1862 Library Edition, Kitton remains silent, reproducing Stone's original sketch for "Taking Leave of Joe" ("lent by the Artist," facing page 200) with just the remark "Pip is seen wearing a 'bowler' hat," drawing attention to the anachronistic aspect of this feature of his attire. The bowler was introduced in 1850, and would therefore be inappropriate at that point in the narrative, for Pip, born in 1806 (if we follow the logic of his just having turned six when he meets the convict in the churchyard on Christmas Eve, 1812), was about eighteen when he took leave of Biddy and Joe at the end of the first part of his "Great Expectations" (probably in 1818). Most authorities (for example, Edgar Rosenberg and Any Sadrin) give the chronological setting of the action of the novel as being 1812 to 1840. The hat that Pip wears in Stone's sketch has been altered in the final plate, suggesting that Stone (if we follow Kitton's contention that this is indeed a "bowler") became aware of the supposed anachronism, possibly as a result of showing the sketch to Dickens. The matter is complicated, however, by the fact that the hat in Stone's sketch appears to be a top hat of the early '60s, whereas the hat worn by Pip in the woodcut appears to be a felt "muffin" hat (see C. Willett and Phillis Cunnington, 251) of the same period. indeed, the high-crowned hat (especially if made of silk, as in the 1850s, worn by Pip in the sketch would seem to be more appropriate for a young gentleman going up to town (i. e., London) than the lower-crowned hat of the published illustration. However, Stone may be making a point about the country haberdasher's inadequate sense of the fashion of the metropolis, for "A lower-crowned, broader-brimmed style was worn in the country and unfashionably" (Buck,194).
Of the less significant illustrators and those who provided visual accompaniment for Dickens's works for readers after the novelist's death, Kitton has a little to offer on T. Webster, A. B. Broughton, G. J. Pinwell, Fred Walker, Charles Green, and a little more on the prolific F. O. Darley, a New York artist, and Fred Barnard, the principal illustrator in the British Household Edition of the 1870s. Kitton labels him "the Charles Dickens among black-and-white artists" (222) for having illustrated sixteen of Dickens's works with a grand total of 455 drawings. In addition, Barnard got in on the lucrative "characters from Dickens" market with four series independent of any texts: "Character Sketches from Dickens" (London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1879), "Character Sketches from Dickens," second series: six photogravures (same publijshers, 1884), "Character Sketches from Dickens," third series: six photogravures (same publishers, 1885). Sixteen of the eighteen plates were made available to the masses through the Christmas 1896 issue of Cassell's Family Magazine. Finally, for Harry Furniss's short-lived magazine of humour, Lika Joko, Barnard provided studies of characters from both Shakespeare and Dickens (17 November 1894 to 23 February 1895.
Buck, Anne. Victorian Costume and Costume Accessories. London: Herbert Jenkins, 1961.
Cunnington, C. Willett and Phillis.Handbook of English Costume in the Nineteenth Century. Boston, Great Britain: Plays, 1970.
The Hat Blog: Everything Hats, "The Bowler," accessed 22 April 2007: http://blog.villagehatshop.com/2007/01/the_bowler.html
Kitton, Frederic G. Dickens and His Illustrators. (1899). Rpt. Honolulu: university of Hawaii, 2004.
The bowler hat was created in 1850 for an English game warden, James Coke. It was intended as a riding hat that Mr. Coke could count on for hard hat protection as he rode his steed through his protectorate looking out for poachers. It soon became, as Fred Miller Robinson wrote in The Man in the Bowler Hat: His History and Iconography, " . . . an emblem through the then-incredible changes that industrialism was engendering-----but as an emblem of many things, a sign of the times. See The Hat Blog: Everything Hats, "The Bowler," accessed 22 April 2007: http://blog.villagehatshop.com/2007/01/the_bowler.html
Last modified 26 April 2007