She lifted her hand.

"She lifted her hand" by Arthur Hopkins. Plate 2. Belgravia, A Magazine of Fashion and Amusement (February 1878) Vol. 34, to face page 493. 6.375 inches wide by 4.3125 inches high. Text illustrated from Hardy's The Return of the Native: "Far away down the valley the faint shine from the window of the inn still lasted on; and a few additional moments proved that the window, or what was within it, had more to do with the woman's sigh than had either her own actions or the scene immediately around. She lifted her left hand, and revealed that it held a closed telescope. This she rapidly extended, as if she were well accustomed to the operation, and raising it to her eye directed it exactly towards the light beaming from the inn."

Disappointed with Hopkins' depiction of Eustacia in this number, in the first of five plates in which she figures, Hardy wrote the artist on the 8th of February, expressing dissatisfaction:

It is rather ungenerous to criticise; but since you invite me to do so I will say that I think Eustacia should have been represented as more youthful in face, supple in figure, &, in general, with a little more roundness and softness than have been given here. [Note the passive.]

My opinion, & I believe that of most novelists, is that the writer and illustrator of a story can hardly ever be in thorough accord unless they live in constant communication during its progress, & in these days that is almost impossible. However I trust some day to make your acquaintance, & obtain your pardon for my remarks. [Letters I: 52]

Hopkins has, under the pastoral spell of the novel's opening, given Belgravia's readers at best a Roman matron rather than a Greek divinity, hiding what Hardy describes as her voluptuous adolescent curves behind drapery characteristic of the monumental statuary of the late Roman empire. Even the pair of heathcroppers, putting their heads together conversationally, and the wind-blown furze are more visually interesting than Eustacia. The focal point of the illustration is the telescope that she carries to keep watch on her lover, Wildeve, at the Quiet Woman Inn.

Jackson describes Hopkins' version of Eustacia here as "dumpy . . . , unromantic and unsophisticated" (89), although she is quick to point out that Hardy himself indicates that his dark heroine is "full-limbed and somewhat heavy." Hopkins' intention in the plate seems to have been to stress "her eventual alienation from the world of Egdon."

Image scan, caption, and commentary 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. ]

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Created 5 December 2000

Last modified 30 December 2019