"Dead, Mr. Peggotty?" I hinted, after a respectful pause. "Drowndead," said Mr. Peggotty. 1872. Third llustration by Fred Barnard (engraved by the Dalziels) for the Household Edition of David Copperfield (Chapter II, "I Observe"). 9.4 cm high by 13.8 cm wide, framed; middle of page 9, but referencing Chapter III, "I Have a Change," 16.

Passage Illustrated: David is confused about the Peggottys' relationships

"Mr. Peggotty!" says I.

"Sir," says he.

"Did you give your son the name of Ham, because you lived in a sort of ark?"

Mr. Peggotty seemed to think it a deep idea, but answered:

"No, sir. I never giv him no name."

"Who gave him that name, then?" said I, putting question number two of the catechism to Mr. Peggotty.

"Why, sir, his father giv it him," said Mr. Peggotty.

"I thought you were his father!"

My brother Joe was his father," said Mr. Peggotty.

"Dead, Mr. Peggotty?" I hinted, after a respectful pause.

"Drowndead," said Mr. Peggotty.I was very much surprised that Mr. Peggotty was not Ham’s father, and began to wonder whether I was mistaken about his relationship to anybody else there. I was so curious to know, that I made up my mind to have it out with Mr. Peggotty. [Chapter III, "I Have a Change," 16]

Commentary: The working-class family welcomes David

In the early 1870s when he was working on this extensive program of illustration in large-scale wood-engravings for the novel, Barnard had only one precedent which he consulted: the forty Phiz steel-engravings that had appeared with the serial instalments of the novel in 1849-50. He admired the work of Hablot Knight Browne, but obviously felt that with his three-dimensional style and the new print technologies he could provide entirely new but equally entertaining illustrations. Here, for example, Barnard shows David huddled beside Little Em'ly at the Peggottys' cheerful fireside. In this congenial, family scene, Barnard offers us something approaching the vivacity and particularity of Phiz's illustration of the unconventional family's domestic hearth. Here, the Household Edition illustrator must suggest that the snug parlour is on a boat, without necessarily copying Phiz's strategy of inserting a large, semi-circular wooden beam that frames the top of the composition. Barnard suggests the houseboat setting more subtly, mainly by how jammed together everything is, including considerable nautical bric-a-brac on the mantelpiece and the net hanging between Ham and the children (left). Barnard distinguishes Dan'l Peggotty and Ham by their relative ages, and Ham's beardless visage, and suggests the identities of Mrs. Gummidge and Clara Peggotty by the former's being rather plain and slightly wizened.

Other Illustrators' Depictions of David's Visit to the Peggottys (1849 to 1910)

Left: W. H. C. Groome's small-scale lithograph of David's Yarmouth visit: "No, sir. I never give him no name." (1907). Right: Phiz's original illustration of David with Little Em'ly at the Peggottys' fireside: I am hospitably received by Mr. Peggotty (May 1849).

Left: Sol Eytinge, Junior's portrait of the Peggottys: Mr. Peggotty, Ham, and Mrs. Gummidge (Diamond Edition, 1867). Right: Harry Furniss's version of the family aboard the houseboat: Little David in the Peggotty Household (Charles Dickens Library Edition, 1910).

Related Material

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 in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Dickens, Charles. The Personal History of David Copperfield, illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ("Phiz"). The Centenary Edition. London & New York: Chapman & Hall, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911 [rpt. from 1850]. 2 vols.

_______. The Personal History of David Copperfield. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867. Vol. V.

_______. The Personal History of David Copperfield, with 61 illustrations by Fred Barnard. Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1872. Vol. III.

_______. David Copperfield. Illustrated by W. H. C. Groome. London and Glasgow: Collins Clear-type Press, 1907. No. 1.

_______. The Personal History and Experience of David Copperfield, with 29 illustrations by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book Company, 1910. Vol. X.

The copy of the Household Edition from which this picture was scanned was the gift of George Gorniak, Editor of The Dickens Magazine, whose subject for the fifth series, beginning in January 2010, is this novel.

Created 10 July 2018

Last modified 8 July 2022