In anticipation of Dickens's long-awaited 1867-68 reading tour, which had been postponed by the American Civil War, the Boston publisher James T. Fields had commissioned from Eytinge ninety-six designs for wood-engravings to grace the pages of the exhaustive Diamond Edition of Dickens's works, each volume being of compact dimensions with very fine but sharp type. This volume, moreover, coincided that momentous visit to American shores.
On the verso of the title-page is the statement that James T. Fields, the author's friend and confidant, so valued since it authorized his firm as Dickens's sole representatives in the United States:
Gad's Hill Place, Higham by Rochester, Kent, Second April, 1867. By a special arrangement made with me and my English Publishers (partners with me in the copyright of my works), MESSRS. TICKNOR AND FIELDS, of Boston, have become the only authorized representatives in America of the whole series of my books. CHARLES DICKENS.
William Winter in his autobiography recalls that Sol Eytinge, Jr.'s illustrations for Dickens's works "gained the emphatic approval of the novelist" (318), although of course the pair did not actively collaborate on this series, as did Hablot Knight Browne and Dickens for the 1859 twenty serial illustrations for the Chapman and Hall A Tale of Two Cities. The limited Marcus Stone narrative-pictorial sequence for the 1862 Library Edition of Great Expectations reveals flashes of youthful innovation, particularly the studies of Pip's initial meeting with Miss Havisham at Satis House and of his final reunion in the ruined garden with a much chastened Estella. Nevertheless, as one regards this series of eight individual and group character studies for Great Expectations (1867) and appreciates them as exemplars of the new realism of the the sixties' manner of book and magazine illustration, one is tempted to agree with Winter that
The most appropriate pictures that have been made for illustration of the novels of Dickens, — pictures that are truly representative and free from the element of caricature, — are those made by Eytinge. . . . [317-318]
- "Pip and the Convict" [Great Expectations]
- "Joe Gargery and Mrs. Joe"
- "Pumblechook and Whopsle"
- "Old Orlick"
- "Wemmick and "The Aged""
- "Miss Havisham and Estella"
- "Trabb's Boy"
- Title-page for the "Diamond Edition" of A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations (1867).
Schlicke, Paul, ed. The Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1999.
Dickens, Charles. A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Il. Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867.
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.
Winter, William. "Charles Dickens" and "Sol Eytinge." Old Friends: Being Literary Recollections of Other Days. New York: Moffat, Yard, & Co., 1909. Pp. 181-202, 317-319.
Last modified 17 October 2011