"Hurra!" echoed Mr. Pickwick, taking off his hat and dashing it on the floor, and insanely casting his spectacles into the middle of the kitchen by Thomas Nast (1873).

Bibliographical Note

The illustration appears in the American Edition of Charles Dickens's The Posthumous Papers of The Pickwick Club, Chapter VIII, "Strongly Illustrative of the Position, That the Course of True Love is not a Railway," page 54. Wood-engraving, 4 inches high by 5 ¼ inches wide (10.2 cm high by 13.4 cm wide), vignetted, half-page; referencing text two pages previous; descriptive headlines: "A Snake in the Grass," p. 53 and "The Snake in Action," p. 55 — the "snake" being Alfred Jingle. New York: Harper & Bros., Franklin Square, 1873.

Scanned image, colour correction, sizing, 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.]

Passage Illustrated: The Aftermath of the Salmon Dinner

"It wasn't the wine," murmured Mr. Snodgrass, in a broken voice. "It was the salmon." (Somehow or other, it never is the wine, in these cases.)

Hadn't they better go to bed, ma'am?" inquired Emma. "Two of the boys will carry the gentlemen upstairs."

"I won’t go to bed," said Mr. Winkle firmly.

"No living boy shall carry me," said Mr. Pickwick stoutly; and he went on smiling as before.

"Hurra!" gasped Mr. Winkle faintly.

"Hurra!" echoed Mr. Pickwick, taking off his hat and dashing it on the floor, and insanely casting his spectacles into the middle of the kitchen. At this humorous feat he laughed outright. [Chapter VIII, "Strongly Illustrative of the Position, That the Course of True Love is not a Railway," page 52]

Commentary: Buss, Phiz, Phiz again, and Nast (1836-74)

1title1 The new illustrator, R. W. Buss, submitted a trial design for this very subject for the June 1836 number, but his engraving technique was so far below Dickens's standard that the author rejected it, and recommended that Chapman and Hall dismiss Buss, whose Fat Boy and Muggleton cricket match illustrations had already disappointed the publishers. (Buss's difficulty lay in the fact that he had not previously worked in the medium of steel-engraving, despite some experience with engraving on copper.) The title is facetious in that the salmon dinner, served after the cricket match, is, of course, not the cause of the Pickwickians' general inebriation. Rather, the great room of the Blue Lion Inn, Muggleton, had been the scene not merely of a "Devilish good dinner" (to quote the omnivorous Jingle in Chapter Seven), but of vociferous toasts accompanied by the copious drafts of "old port — claret — good — very good — wine" (again, citing Jingle's account of events earlier that evening). The party now adjourns to the kitchen of the manor house at Dingley Dell, the scene of one of Phiz's June 1836 illustrations.

Nast based his 1873 illustration on the plate which Phiz substituted for one of Buss's June 1836 engravings. Like Phiz, Nast draws the reader's attention to the tipsy homecoming of old Wardle and Jingle (centre, with Wardle rather off-balance), and particularly Mr. Pickwick. Nast foregrounds him, throwing all the others into the background, but shows him attempting to stand without the benefit of the kitchen table, against which he leans in the Phiz original. This Phiz scene, set at 1:20 A. M. by the kitchen clock, was Nast's point of departure for his Household Edition version of the Pickwickians' returning from Muggleton, but Nast has evidently set his version ten minutes later. Nast does not (apparently) include the romantic Tupman, readily identifiable by his arm sling. Nast places Pickwick, the focal point of Dickens's description of the scene, in the foreground, and has positioned Winkle by the kitchen clock, which now reads 1:30 A. M.

The lengthy eighth chapter offered Nast a considerable amount of material for visual commentary, and he has provided a total of three illustrations (one of them a full-page study of Mr. Tupman) for it, without, however, showing the figure of Tupman's nemesis, the out-of-work actor Alfred Jingle, whose arrival Phiz marks in his Household Edition illustration for this chapter, Mr. Wardle looked on, in silent wonder, set in the refreshment tent at the cricket match earlier that day. In the foreground, slumped in the chair, is Mr. Snodgrass, recognizable by his checkered trousers. Although Dickens mentions "three ladies" in the scene, Nast includes just one, presumably Rachael Wardle. Nast draws the reader's attention to Pickwick's throwing down his spectacles by rendering them in mid-air, perhaps to suggest his lack of perception, either of his own conduct or that of the others, and his waistcoat is mis-buttoned, as if to imply his lack of attention to proprieties in general.

Phiz's Parallel Scene in the British Household Edition (1874)

Above: In illustrating the scene in the refreshment tent at the cricket match Phiz takes the opportunity to foreground the figure of Alfred Jingle in Mr. Wardle looked on, in silent wonder. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]

Other artists who illustrated this work, 1836-74

Related Material


Dickens, Charles. The Pickwick Papers. Illustrated by Robert Seymour and Hablot Knight Browne. London: Chapman & Hall, 1836-37.

Dickens, Charles. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. The Household Edition. Illustrated by Thomas Nast. New York: Harper and Brothers 1873.

Dickens, Charles. Pickwick Papers. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne ('Phiz'). The Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1874.

Last modified 7 June 2019