The ​Meeting in the Cloisters of Saint George's Chapel​ by French illustrator Tony Johannot for the fifth instalment of Windsor Castle. An Historical Romance for December 1842 in Ainsworth's Magazine, which he founded he had quarrelled with the publisher and left his editorial post at Bentley's Miscellany. "Book the First: Anne Boleyn," Chapter VII, "How the Earl of Surrey and the Fair Geraldine plighted their troth in the Cloisters of Saint George’s Chapel," facing p. 58. 9.6 cm high by 13.6 wide, framed. Here Ainsworth exploits the same winning formula that he used in The Tower of London: antiquarian description of an historical building, real personages, secretive romantic liaisons — an overheard conversations. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

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.]

Passage Illustrated: Will Sommers enables Richmond to overhear the lovers

At the appointed hour the duke proceeded to the lower ward, and stationed himself near Wolsey’s tomb-house. Just as he arrived there, the vesper hymn arose from the adjoining fane, and its solemn strains somewhat soothed his troubled spirit. But they died away; and as the jester came not, Richmond grew impatient, and began to fear he had been duped by his informant. At length the service concluded, and, losing all patience, he was about to depart, when the jester peered round the lower angle of the tomb-house, and beckoned to him. Obeying the summons, the duke followed his conductor down the arched passage leading to the cloisters.

"Tread softly, gossip, or you will alarm them,” said Sommers, in a low tone.

They turned the corner of the cloisters; and there, near the entrance of the chapel, stood the youthful pair​— the Fair Geraldine half reclining upon the earl's breast, while his arm encircled her slender waist.

"There!"​whispered the jester, chuckling maliciously, "there! did I speak falsely​ — eh, gossip?"

Richmond laid his hand upon his sword.

"Hist!" said the jester; "hear what the Fair Geraldine has to say."

"We must meet no more thus, Surrey," she murmured: "I feel I was wrong in granting the interview, but I could not help it. If, when a few more years have flown over your head, your heart remains unchanged —"

"It will never change!"​interrupted Surrey. "I here solemnly pledge my troth to you."

"And I return the pledge," replied the Fair Geraldine, earnestly. "I vow to be yours, and yours only."

"Would that Richmond could hear your vow!"​said Surrey — "it would extinguish his hopes."

"He has heard it!"​cried the duke, advancing. "But his hopes are not yet extinguished."

The Fair Geraldine uttered a slight scream, and disengaged herself from the earl.

"Richmond, you have acted unworthily in thus playing the spy," said Surrey angrily.​ [Chapter 7,​"How the Earl of Surrey and the Fair Geraldine plighted their troth in the Cloisters of Saint George's Chapel,"​ pp. 58-59]


By using these strange, mask-like faces ​for the four characters Johannot has failed to distinguish the figures or provide visual continuity from the second illustration, The Banquet in Saint George's Hall. Although the scene is a corridor near the Chapel, the illustrator does not particularize the passageway in terms of architectural ornamentation, whereas the English illustrator W. A. Delamotte on the facing page has provided a much sharper image of the cloisters as they appeared in 1842. The French illustrator's lack of specific detail as one sees in Cloisters near Saint George's Chapel suggests that he did not bother to cross the Channel in order to sketch the backdrops which Ainsworth describes in such detail.

Johannot, instead, focusses on the four figures: in the foreground, the tender lovers, the Fair Geraldine and the Earl of Surrey (right), and in the background the leering jester, Will Sommers, pointing with malicious satisfaction and chuckling as the Duke of Richmond, Henry the Eighth's illegitimate son, grips the handle of his rapier. Shortly, the pampered youth will angrily step forward to challenge Surrey, causing the young Irish noblewoman to scream in surprise. Although Ainsworth insists that the eighteen-year-old son of Henry Tudor resembles his father — "formed on the same large scale, and distinguished by the same haughty port and same bluff manner, as his royal sire" (24) — the Johannot figure is tall and thin. Thus, although in an impressionistic manner the French illustrator conveys the essential situation through the poses and juxtapositions of the characters, he does not relate the figures in terms of face, form, and clothing to the passages prior to Chapter VII in which Ainsworth provides considerable detail about such matters.

Delamotte's Complementary Wood-engraving for Chapter VII

Above: W. Alfred Delamotte's sterile but accurate realisation of the physical setting of the dramatic scene about to unfold in Johannote's steel-engraving on the facing page, Cloisters​near​Saint George's Chapel, as they would have appeared in the autumn of 1842. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]


Ainsworth, William Harrison. Jack Sheppard. A Romance. With 28 illustrations by George Cruikshank. In three volumes. London: Richard Bentley, 1839.

Ainsworth, William Harrison. Windsor Castle. An Historical Romance. Illustrated by George Cruikshank and Tony Johannot. With designs on wood by W. Alfred Delamotte. London: Routledge, 1880. Based on the Henry Colburn edition of 1844.

Patten, Robert L. Chapter 30, "The 'Hoc' Goes Down." George Cruikshank's Life, Times, and Art, vol. 2: 1835-1878. Rutgers, NJ: Rutgers U. P., 1991; London: The Lutterworth Press, 1996. Pp. 153-186.

Worth, George J. William Harrison Ainsworth. New York: Twayne, 1972.

Vann, J. Don. "Windsor Castle in Ainsworth's Magazine, June 1842-June 1843." Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: MLA, 1985. P. 23.

Last modified 4 February 2018