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The brother of well-known fin de siècle​illustrator Henry Matthew Brock (illustrator of the Gresham Imperial edition volume of Great Expectations, 1901-3), Charles Edmund Brock was a widely published English line artist​ and book illustrator, who signed his work "C. E. Brock."​Noted for the quality of his line drawings in the manner of the early Victorian illustrators, he was the eldest of four artist brothers, sons of a specialist reader in oriental languages for Cambridge University Press. With his better known brother, H. M., Charles Edward, and Richard Brock shared a studio, in which they gathered eighteenth- and nineteenth-century artefacts and curios to use in their drawings,​paintings, and book illustrations. Having trained in the studio of Henry Wiles, their careers began in the early 1890s at Macmillan. Like his brother, E. C. Brock contributed to Punch, but Charles Edmund was also a recognized painter in oils. Moreover, he illustrated Dickens's Christmas BooksA Christmas Carol, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Haunted Man, and The Battle of Life, as well as an edition of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, various novels by Jane Austen, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Oliver Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield, Thomas Hood's poems, Lamb's essays, volumes of Greek and Norse myths, and the Bible.

Although John Leech, Dickens's original Carol illustrator, did not make much of the Cratchits, depicting Bob just once, in the tailpiece, later illustrators in general and Brock in particular have recognized the importance of Cratchit family values in this tale of redemption and social reintegration. Here, Brock depicts Mrs. Cratchit's serving her culinary triumph, the wonderful Christmas pudding, to the manifold compliments of her adoring family. Although his visualisations are often congruent with those of Leech, Brock consistently depicts the characters in a naturalistic rather than caricatural vein, and emphasizes the presence of children in five of the sixteen plates that graph Scrooge's spiritual and social redemption. — Philip V. Allingham

A Christmas Carol (1905)

The Cricket on the Hearth

Charles Edmund Brock (artist) and Alexander H. Williamson (designer)

Other Illustrations for the first two Christmas Books (1843-1915)

Scanned images and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use the images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned them and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol and The Cricket on the Hearth. Illustrated by C. E. [Charles Edmund] Brock. London: J. M. Dent, 1905; New York: Dutton, rpt., 1963.

Created 21 May 2015

Last modified 12 July 2020