The picture-books Children's Stories from Dickens (1893) and Character Sketches from Dickens (1924) combine extracts and synopses from Dickens's best-selling novels with Copping's depictions of well-known characters and in particular child characters, including the Walmers from the periodically published "The Holly Tree Inn" and three of the Christmas Books, A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth. Especially effective are the with historically-costumed character studies in lithographs by late Victorian water-colourist Harold Copping. Eleven of these illustrations appear in the volume compiled by Dickens's grand-daughter, Mary Angela Dickens, Children's Stories from Dickens.

Of more critical interest is the "Introduction" of six pages by Dickens's daughter, the widow of Charles Allston Collins who remarried, Kate Macready Perugini (1839-1929), and the "Foreword" by Bertram W. Matz (1865-1925), Dickensian editor from the inception in January 1905 of that specialty journal and organ of the Dickens Fellowship. Although the text does not so indicate, the author of each of the introductions to the plates was probably Matz also. Each plate is an independent work of art in itself, given additional meaning by the accompanying extract, the style being markedly more realistic than the original illustrations produced by Phiz. Notably absent from the array of characters are those from two of Dickens's current "best-sellers," Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities. One wonders whether the choices were Copping's or Matz's since a great many beloved characters even from the limited range of titles illustrated are missing: the crotchety Mr. Dick and Aunt Betsy from David Copperfield and the ebullient Mark Tapley and subtle Montague Tigg from Martin Chuzzlewit, for example. — Philip Allingham

Related Material

Pickwick Papers

Oliver Twist

The Old Curiosity Shop

Barnaby Rudge

Nicholas Nickleby

Martin Chuzzlewit

A Christmas Carol

The Chimes

The Cricket on the Hearth

Dombey and Son

David Copperfield

Little Dorrit

Bleak House

Our Mutual Friend

"The Runaway Couple" from The Holly Tree Inn

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer 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. Illustrated by Harold Copping. London, Paris, New, York: Raphael Tuck, 1911.

Dickens, Mary Angela, Percy Fitzgerald, Captain Edric Vredenburg, and Others. Illustrated by Harold Copping with eleven coloured lithographs. Children's Stories from Dickens. London: Raphael Tuck, 1893.

Dickens, Mary Angela [Charles Dickens' grand-daughter]. Dickens' Dream Children. London, Paris, New York: Raphael Tuck & Sons, Ltd., 1924.

Matz, B. W., and Kate Perugini; illustrated by Harold Copping. Character Sketches from Dickens. London: Raphael Tuck, 1924. Copy in the Paterson Library, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

Created 22 June 2013

Last modified 29 September 2023