Harry Furniss's eighteen-volume edition of The Charles Dickens Library (London: Educational Book Company, 1910) contains some 500 special plates (part of the total of 1200 illustrations) and two volumes of commentary. Volume XVII, edited by J. A. Hammerton, is entitled The Dickens Picture Book: A Record of the Dickens Illustrators. Since the order of the volumes is roughl chronological, the tenth volume, entitled The Personal Experience and History of David Copperfield, precedes the eleventh volume, David Copperfield, the ninth volume being Dombey and Son. David Copperfield was Dickens's eighth complete novel, a work so long at 882 pages (and originally a nineteen-month serialisation) that the series editor, J. A. Hammerton, did not have to fill out the volume with short stories or journalistic pieces. This was the second novel written after Dickens's hugely successful Christmas Books (1844-48). Although Dickens began writing Copperfield in the autumn of 1849, before he had completed that series of five novellas, and although the first instalment did not appear until October 1851, by the time that Dickens completed it, he had written all but the final novella in seasonal series, The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain.

The final volume of the 1910 Charles Dickens Library Edition is The Dickens Companion: A Book of Anecdote and Reference. Whereas the muti-volumed Household Edition, issued in tandem by Chapman and Hall and Harper and Brothers throughout the 1870s involved some sixteen American and British illustrators working in the new mode of the Sixties and providing more than a thousand wood-engravings for the thirty-eight volumes, Furniss produced five hundred full-page lithographs — a prolific output and a singular achievement for a single artist. Furniss was fortunate in illustrating Copperfield that he had as precedents for his twenty-nine lithographs (based on staccato pen-and-ink drawing) both the original serial program of forty illustrations by Dickens's collaborator of twenty-two years,Hablot Knight Brown, and the wholly new, generally half-page composite woodblock illustrations by the gifted caricaturist Fred Barnard in the Household Edition of 1872, which as one of the longest volumes in that edition contains sixty illustrations. Furniss's standard throughout the 1910 edition, even for the longest novels in the canon, is twenty-eight full-page lithographs plus the coloured engraved-title.

For all twenty-nine of the illustrations for the The Personal Experience and History of David Copperfield illustrations in volume 10, Hammerton and Furniss have included both succinct captions (given in full below) and extended quotations to demonstrate the textual moment realised in each; moreover, each quotation refers to a specific page number, thereby enabling the reader to find the passage illustrated. The exception to this standard mode of presentation and captioning is the character study (without benefit of setting or backdrop) of David Copperfield the novelist, dreaming of his creations (frontispiece), perhaps based on Robert William Buss'   Dickens' Dream (1875).

As usual in the volumes of The Charles Dickens Library Edition Furniss provides an ornately bordered title-page, listed as Characters in the Story in the "List of Special Plates" (vii). Although each page is 12.2 by 18.4 mm (4.75 by 7.25 inches) and the caption below each in upper-case, and below that occurs a multi-line quotation in upper and lower case, each plate is effectively 14.3 cm by 9.2 mm (5.5 inches by 3.25 inches), the vertically-mounted illustrations usually being framed, and the horizontally-mounted illustrations being vignetted. Aside from the forty-four title-page vignetted figures who surround the book's full title, of the twenty-eight full-page illustrations, in twenty-one Furniss includes the eponymous character through whose consciousness Dickens filters the entire story. However, secondary characters, as well as the principals, appear. The rakish James Steerforth, Mr. Murdstone, the ebullient Micawber, the dastardly Uriah Heep, and stalwart Dan'l Peggotty occur a number of times. In particular, the long-time comic favourite, the irresistible comic, Wilkins Micawber, appears in the vignettes that surround David in the frontispiece and among the numerous vignettes on the engraved title, as well as in four of the remaining twenty-seven black-and-white lithographs made from Furniss's dynamic pen-and-ink sketches.

The Personal Experience and History of David Copperfield (1910)

  1. David Copperfield (Frontispiece)
  2. Characters in the Stories
  3. David's Aunt "Vanishes"
  4. David in the Peggotty Household
  5. Mr. Murdstone takes David upstairs
  6. Mr. Mell is dismissed
  7. David at the Undertaker's
  8. "Barkis is willin'"
  9. Mr. Micawber takes David home
  10. Mr. Dick suggests treatment for David
  11. David visits Uriah and Mrs. Heep
  12. Rosa Dartle enquires about "Daisy"
  13. Little Em'ly presented to Steerforth
  14. Miss Mowcher
  15. David meets Dora
  16. The little Dinner at Copperfield's Lodgings
  17. The Letter from Emily
  18. Dora and David in the Garden
  19. David's Aunt loses patience with Uriah
  20. Mr. Dick with his Kite
  21. Martha, the Wanderer
  22. Peggotty attends as Witness
  23. Dora's lamentable Shortcomings
  24. David's Aunt and her Secret
  25. Copperfield's Domestic Troubles
  26. Mr. Peggotty finds Em'ly
  27. Mr. Micawber achieves Downfall of Heep
  28. End of Steerforth
  29. The Micawber Family off to Australia

Related Material, including Other Illustrated Editions of David Copperfield

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.]


Bentley, Nicolas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. New York and Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1990.

Dickens, Charles. The Personal Experience and History of David Copperfield. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne. London: Chapman and Hall, 1851.

_______. The Personal Experience and History of David Copperfield. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. 55 vols. Illustrated by F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1863.

_______. David Copperfield. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Jr, and engraved by A. V. S. Anthony. 14 vols. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1867. IV.

_______. David Copperfield, with 61 illustrations by Fred Barnard. Household Edition, volume XV.London: Chapman and Hall, 1877.

_______. David Copperfield. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. 10.

_______, and Fred Barnard. The Dickens Souvenir Book. London: Chapman & Hall, 1912.

Hammerton, J. A. "Ch. XVII. David Copperfield."  The Dickens Picture-Book. London: Educational Book Co., [1910], 339-438.

Kitton, Frederic George. Dickens and His Illustrators: Cruikshank, Seymour, Buss, "Phiz," Cattermole, Leech, Doyle, Stanfield, Maclise, Tenniel, Frank Stone, Landseer, Palmer, Topham, Marcus Stone, and Luke Fildes. Amsterdam: S. Emmering, 1972. Re-print of the London 1899 edition.

Kyd [Clayton J. Clarke]. Characters from Dickens. Nottingham: John Player & Sons, 1910.

Lester, Valerie Browne. Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens. London: Chatto and Windus, 2004.

Matz, B. W., and Kate Perugini; illustrated by Harold Copping. Character Sketches from Dickens. London: Raphael Tuck, 1924.

Schlicke, Paul, ed. The Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens. Oxford and New York: Oxford U. P., 1999.

Steig, Michael. Chapter 5. "David Copperfield: Progress of a Confused Soul" Dickens and Phiz. Bloomington & London: Indiana U. P., 1978. Pp. 113-130.

Vann, J. Don. "David Copperfield, twenty parts in nineteen monthly instalments, October 1849—April 1851." Victorian Novels in Serial. New York: The Modern Language Association, 1985. 69-70.

Created 3 March 2022

Last modified 18 January 2021