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Oliver accompanied by Bumble leaves Mrs.  Mann's (lower left quadrant on the 31 DEcember 1845 wrapper for the ten-month re-serialisation of the novel by Bradbury and Evans, ending 30 September 1846 — regular and hand-coloured woodblock engraving for the first monthly instalment of Charles Dickens's The Adventures of Oliver Twist, first published with a series lack-and-white steel-engravings in the Richard Bentley triple-decker (9 November 1838). [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Passage Illustrated: Leaving Mrs. Mann's for the Workhouse

Mr. Bumble walked on with long strides; little Oliver, firmly grasping his gold-laced cuff, trotted beside him, inquiring at the end of every quarter of a mile whether they were “nearly there.” To these interrogations Mr. Bumble returned very brief and snappish replies; for the temporary blandness which gin-and-water awakens in some bosoms had by this time evaporated; and he was once again a beadle. [Chapter II, "Treats of Oliver Twist's Growth, Education, and board,' p. 7 in the 1846 edition]


Although Dickens and Cruikshank parted company with perhaps a little ill-feeling as a result of Dickens's requiring the artist to redraft entirely the final serial illustration, The Fireside, or Cancelled Plate after the final sequences of plates had, in fact, been printed in the third volume of the Richard Bentley triple-decker, Dickens later compensated Cruikshank for any inconvenience by recommending him to Chapman and Hall for the design of the 1846 serial wrapper.

With considerable time to reflect on the significance of the various scenes and characters whom he encountered in the monthly serialisation of Dickens's second novel in Bentley's Miscellany between February 1837 and the spring of 1839 as he finished drafting the final illustrations for the three-volume version that Richard Bentley published on 9 November 1838, George Cruikshank reached firm conclusions about the relative importance of certain characters and events. Realising that the story is at least partly a condemnation of the New Poor Law, the workhouse, and the venial functionaries administering the system, Cruikshank gave the Beadle, Mr. Bumble, a prominent position in the wrapper's eleven vignettes; he appears lower left, escorting Oliver from Mrs. Mann's baby-farm to the workhouse.

In the designs of the eleven vignettes, Oliver appears seven times; Sikes three times; and Fagin, Jack Dawkins, and Bull's-Eye twice each. Not mentioned visually although important to the plot, are Monks, Mr. Brownlow, and Nancy — and, indeed, Cruikshank seems to have avoided showing female characters as much as possible. Again at Dickens's instigation, he subsequently provided Chapman and Hall with a frontispiece for the Cheap Edition and a title-page vignette for the Library Edition, tasks that logically should have fallen to Dickens's principal illustrator in the 1840s, Hablot Knight Browne.


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Cohen, Jane Rabb. "George Cruikshank." Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators. Columbus: Ohio State U. P., 1980. Pp. 15-38.

Darley, Felix Octavius Carr. Character Sketches from Dickens. Philadelphia: Porter and Coates, 1888.

Davies, Philip. "Warren of Sunless Courts." Lost London, 1870-1945. Croxley Green, Hertfordshire: Transatlantic, 2009. Pp. 258-60.

Davis, Paul. Charles Dickens A to Z: The Essential Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts On File, 1998.

Dickens, Charles. The Adventures of Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. London: Bradbury and Evans; Chapman and Hall, 1846.

_______. The Adventures of Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy's Progress. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. London & New York: Macmillan, 1892 [contains reproductions of the 1846 wrapper, of the first page of the 1838 Bentley volume, and of the first page of the Prest serial, Oliver Twiss].

_______. Oliver Twist. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. 55 vols. Illustrated by F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1865.

_______. Oliver Twist. Works of Charles Dickens. Diamond Edition. 14 vols. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.

_______. Oliver Twist. . Household Edition. Illustrated by James Mahoney. London: Chapman and Hall, 1871.

_______. Oliver Twist. The Annotated Dickens. Ed. Edward Guiliano and Philip Collins. New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1986. I, 534-823.

_______. The Adventures of Oliver Twist. Works of Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens Library Edition. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. London: Educational Book Company, 1910. Vol. 3.

Forster, John. "Oliver Twist 1838." The Life of Charles Dickens. Ed. B. W. Matz. The Memorial Edition. 2 vols. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1911. Vol. 1, book 2, chapter 3. Pp. 91-99.

Kitton, Frederic G. "George Cruikshank." Dickens and His Illustrators: Cruikshank, Seymour, Buss, "Phiz," Cattermole, Leech, Doyle, Stanfield, Maclise, Tenniel, Frank Stone, Topham, Marcus Stone, and Luke Fildes. 1899. Rpt. Honolulu: U. Press of the Pacific, 2004. Pp. 1-28.

Created 1 December 2021