Harry C. Edwards (1868-1922) was both an American periodical illustrator and a painter noted for such historical compositions as Discovery of Gold in California. He grew up in Philadelphia, and studied art and design at Adelphi College in Brooklyn, New York, and at the Art Students' League in New York City. Afterwards, in addition to wildlife and Western-themed paintings, Edwards provided black-and-white illustrations for such large-circulation American magazines as McClure's and The Saturday Evening Post.

Edwards' fourteen illustrations in the conventionally-sized McClure's Magazine for July 1893 are (with a single exception) small-scale woodcuts, some just mere thumbnails, dropped into the eleven-page letterpress of Hardy's historical short story "Master John Horseleigh, Knight." The American periodical quaintly re-spelled 'knight' as "Knyght." A month after the appearance of "Master John Horseleigh, Knight" accompanied by W. B. Wollen' s large-scale lithographs in The Illustrated London News, Edwards provided Hardy's Renaissance tale of mistaken motives and familial vengeance with uncaptioned small-scale illustrations that the readers would encounter as they reached the passages illustrated.

A useful point of comparison for the American serial's illustrations is provided by those dating from 12 June 1893 by William Barnes Wollen (1857-1936) in the "Extra Summer Number" of The Illustrated London News. Wollen's are much larger: an uncaptioned headpiece and four large-scale lithographs which focus on the story's principals. These are the indignant brother, Roger, who serves in this Sensation short story as both both detective and murderer (pages 5, 6, and 8); the devious Sir John Horseleigh, the secretive aristocrat whose double-life ultimately leads to his death (headpiece, pages 6, 7, and 8); Horseleigh's aristocratic and bourgeois wives: the "portly dame," daughter of "Master Richard Phelipson, of Montislope in Nether Wessex" (page 7); and Roger's sister, Edith (headpiece, pages 6 and 8). Both the illustrations and the text indicate that their creators were equally interested in the complicated marital plot that leads to Horseleigh's death and Roger's exile.

Hardy lovingly conveys through accumulated detail his vision of early Renaissance Wessex society, and his illustrators, Wollen and Edwards, are equally careful in their depictions of Renaissance costumes and period backdrops. And both the illustrations and the letterpress indicate that their creators were also interested in the complicated relationships that create misunderstanding, domestic tragedy, and ultimately the extinction of an aristocratic line. Edwards' plates, which focus on the characters, rely for their meaning upon the reader's comparing the letterpress to the graphics, since he has not provided the informative captions of the type which one finds in Wollen's series. The magazine illustrations condition one's reception of the text since Edwards presents both Roger and Edith sympathetically, whereas the text itself utilizes the limited omniscient point of view to make Roger the focal character. Edwards' illustrations, consistently objective in the treatment of the cast of characters, support Hardy's view of Horseleigh himself as a shadowy, enigmatic figure with questionable ethics and devious motives.

Illustrations for Hardy's 1893 Short Story


Allingham, Philip V. "Chapter 12: The Illustrated Short Stories of Thomas Hardy, 1888-1903." Hardy's Illustrated Fiction: A Study of the Illustrations that Accompanied the Original Periodical Fiction of Thomas Hardy (1870-1903). Saarbrucken; LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, 2011. Pp. 396-468.

Hardy, Thomas. "Master John Horseleigh, Knight." McClure's Magazine. (New York) 1 (July 1893): 136-46.

_______. "Master John Horseleigh, Knight." The llustrated London News Summer Number (12 June 1893): 5-8.

_______. "Master John Horseleigh, Knight." "A Changed Man," "The Waiting Supper," and Other Tales. London: Macmillan, 1913. Pp. 235-251.

Ray, Martin. Chapter 34 in Part Four. "Master John Horseleigh, Knight." Thomas Hardy: A Textual Study of the Short Stories.. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1997. Pp. 313-317.

Created 14 February 2009

last updated 1 December 2021