Master Humphrey's Clock. Vol. I & II. 4 April 1840 and 3 October 1840. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]by Phiz (Hablot K. Browne). Wood engraving, 7 ⅝ x 4 ¾ inches (19.4 cm high by 12 cm wide), vignetted. Dickens's
The separate frontispieces underscore the notion that the "miscellany" is actually a book published serially in forty-three weekly parts, although the first three numbers contain no instalments of Old Curiosity Shop. As Michael Steig remarks of Phiz's motifs in these frontispieces,
Browne was perfectly capable of his own religiosity and sentimentality, as we can see from the angels in his frontispiece to the second volume of Master Humphrey's Clock. For Browne absorbed many influences besides that of caricature, including Christian iconography, German Romantic art, and the influence of some of his contemporaries among British painters, such as Maclise. 
In the first, Phiz presents an image of the late eighteenth-century as a congenial Golden Age, with comfortable editors sitting around a large table; the scene below reveals that the elderly gentlemen have imbibed a little too freely, and are now fast asleep. Little else introduces the first of the two novels in the miscellany, although the reader encounters generalised images of the virtuous Nell and the whimsical Dick Swiveller in the margins, which are dominated by serious angels and cavorting knights in armour. The images in the second and third frontispieces more pertinently portray figures from the main narratives of Master Humphrey's Clock.
In the second and third, Phiz reflects his concerns about the inexorable passing of time, with an enormous hour-glass for Volume Two and a gigantic, ornate eighteenth-century clock for the frontispiece of Volume Three. He has incorporated within the hour-glass motif (which he has borrowed from Cattermole's monthly wrapper design) figures from both The Old Curiosity Shop, which concluded in the 6 February 1841 number, and Barnaby Rudge, which began serialisation on 13 February 1841. In the initial frontispiece, serial readers would have immediately recognized Jerry and his troupe of performing dogs (left), Dick Swiveller on one knee before The Marchioness (upper left), and a melodramatic revision of Cattermole's At Rest (upper left, with Grandfather Trent inserted at Nell's bedside), but gradually readers would also have been able to identify such characters such as Joe Willet from the second novel in the weekly magazine.
Bibliographical Note on the "Three Volumes in Two"
The composition of the 1849 two-volume edition is somewhat confusing since the page numbering and frontispieces indicate that there are three volumes, not two.
Master Humphrey's Clock. Illustrated by George Cattermole and Hablot Browne. First Edition. Hardcover. Chapman and Hall, 1841. Half-leather with marbled boards, gilt tooling and raised bands on spine. Three volumes published as two. Vol. 1: The Old Curiosity Shop (MDCCCXL), pp. iii-306. Vol. II (in the first bound volume): The Old Curiosity Shop, pp. 1-228. Bound as a second volume: Barnaby Rudge, pp. iv-306. Numbering then begins again as the start of Vol. III at Chapter the Thirteenth, pp. 1-426.
Scanned images and texts 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.]
- The Old Curiosity Shop Illustrated: A Team Effort by "The Clock Works" (1841)
- Cattermole's Illustrations of The Old Curiosity Shop.
- Frontispieces to the three-volume edition of Dickens's The Old Curiosity Shop, illustrated by Felix Octavius Carr Darley in the James G. Gregory (New York) Household Edition (1861-71)
- The Old Curiosity Shop by Sol Eytinge, Jr., in the Boston Diamond Edition (1867)
- The Old Curiosity Shop by Thomas Worth in the American Household Edition (1874)
- The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Green in the British Household Edition (1876)
- J. Clayton Clarke ("Kyd") (13 lithographs from watercolours)
- Harold Copping (2 plates selected)
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.]
Dickens, Charles. The Old Curiosity Shop in Master Humphrey's Clock. Illustrated by Phiz, George Cattermole, Samuel Williams, and Daniel Maclise. 3 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1840-41. Rpt., 1849.
Steig, Michael. Chapter 3. "From Caricature to Progress: Master Humphrey's Clock to Martin Chuzzlewit." Dickens and Phiz. Bloomington & London: Indiana U. P., 1978. 53-85.
Last modified 16 November 2020