Background Information: Browne and the 1848-49 Irish Novel
- Hablot Knight Browne, 1815-1882; A Brief Biography
- Charles Lever's The Martins of Cro' Martin (1854-56)
- Cattermole and Phiz: The First illustrators of Barnaby Rudge: A Team Effort by "The Clock Works" (1841)
- Phiz: 'A Good Hand at a Horse'" — A Gallery and Brief Overview of Phiz's Illustrations of Horses for Defoe, Dickens, Lever, and Ainsworth (1836-64)
During the period of gestation for Roland Cashel, Charles Lever had transferred his family from a luxurious villa on the shores of Lake Como, playground of a fabulously rich international community, to the Casa Standish in Florence, which he styled the "Palazzo Standish." Owing to copyright problems with his former publisher, the now-bankrupt Curry, Lever was living beyond his means. The only thing that kept him afloat financially was the regular advances from Chapman and Hall on the new novel, which he had begun at the Villa Cima in Como. He had little hope of recuperating any profits from stupendous American sales because of cheap piracies over there, and could only hope that Chapman and Hall could negotiate control of the copyrights from Curry. No sooner had the colourful Lever party settled in Florence than revolutions broke out: "Florence is the only tranquil spot in Europe," he wrote to a correspondent.
By this time, Roland Cashel was being published by Chapman & Hall in the customary monthly parts. Lever's anxieties prevented him from having much enthusiasm for it: "It is very hard, under such circumstances, to write anything imaginative — the stern cry of reality drowning the small whispering of fancy." Nevertheless, the novel is among his best, and his divagation from his original plan did not prevent it from being soundly and coherently constructed, The shift of scene from Columbia to Ireland gave scope for striking contrasts in the experience of the hero, abruptly transformed from a buccaneering adventurer into a millionaire, and the sequels of his first exploits were skilfully woven into the plot. The only flaw in the story is the constant intermingling of two unassimilable literary genres — grim melodrama and mordant social satire. The melodramatic plot builds up to a climax of murder with many of the neat devices of a modern detective story, and has an Iago-like villain who is strangely convincing — indeed Lever protested that "I made but a faint copy of him who suggested that personage, and who lives and walks the stage of life as I write (in 1871). One or two persons who know him are aware that I have neither overdrawn my sketch nor exaggerated my drawing."
In the satire on Dublin society, he paid off many grudges. "The whole dramatis personae are portraits," he gleefully old Spencer. [Stevenson, Dr. Quicksilver, pp. 173-174]
Geographical and Socio-political Associations: Victorian Ireland
- The Landscape of Ireland
- The Geography of Ireland
- Ireland in The Illustrated London News
- Victorian Ireland
- The Land War in Ireland
- The Irish Famine: 1845-49
Illustrations for Roland Cashel (May, 1848 — November, 1849)
- 1. Frontispiece: Maritaña. Facing title page (November 1849 double number) from Parts 19/20.
- 2. Engraved title & Vignette. Facing frontispiece (November 1849) From Parts 19/20.
- 3. The Game at Monte. Facing page 4 in Chapter I, "Don Pedro's Guests." (May 1848)
- 4. The Manolo. Facing page 44. Chapter VI, "A Fracas at the Betting Ring." (May 1848)
- 5. The Two Sisters. Facing page 52. Chapter VII, "Peeps behind the Curtain." (June 1848)
- 6. A Prairie-evening Ride. Facing page 70. Chapter IX, "An Evening Adventure." (June 1848)
- 7. Bravo Toro! Facing page 76 in Chapter IX. (July 1848)
- 8. The Dean shows how to take the Bull by the Horns. Facing page 105 in Chapter XII, ""The Great Kennyfeck Dinner." (July 1848)
- 9. The Cottage. Facing page 121 in Chapter XIII, "Tubber-Beg." (August 1848)
- 10. The Major "Stops the Way." Facing page 148 in Chapter XV, "At the Gaming Table." (August 1848)
- 11. The Money-Lender. Facing page 132 in Chapter XVI, ""What Roland Overheard at the Money Lender's." (September 1848)
- 12. A Meeting under the Greenwood Tree. Facing page 168 in Chapter XVIII, "'Under the Green-wood Tree'." (September 1848)
- 13. A Domestic Detective. Facing page 182 in Chapter XIX, "The Domestic Detective Consulted." (October 1848)
- 14. The Picture Gallery — Sir Andrew Puzzled. Facing page 203 in XXII, "Visit to the 'Cashel Picture Gallery'." (October 1848)
- 15. An Evening Scene. Facing page 220 in Chapter XXIII, "Linton Visits His Estate." (November 1848)
- 16. How to work a Patent Pump. Facing page 246 in Chapter XXIV, "Tubbermore Transformed." (November 1848)
- 17. The Fisherman's Hut. Facing page 267 in Chapter XXIX, "Storm and Wreck." (December 1848)
- 18. The Discovery. Facing page 277 in Chapter XXX, "Miss Leicester's Dream and its Fulfillment." (December 1848)
- 19. "The —— Sassenachs." Facing page 280 in Chapter XXXI, "The Guests Begin to Arrive." (January 1849)
- 20. Jim. Facing page 308 in Chapter XXXIV, "Roland 'Hears Something to his Advantage." (January 1849)
- 21. Coronation of Miss Meek. Facing page 318 in Chapter XXXVI, "An 'Unlimited' Monarchy." (February 1849)
- 22. "After Luncheon — The Start." Facing page 329 in Chapter XXXVIII, "A Partial Recovery and a Relapse." (February 1849)
- 23. Corrigan parts with an Old Friend. Facing page 336 for Chapter XXXIX, "More Kennyfeck Intriguing. (March 1849)
- 24. A Phoenix. Facing page 370 in Chapter XLV, "The Burnt Letters — 'Great Expectations'." (March 1849)
- 25. Aunt Fanny's Benediction. Facing page 383 in Chapter XLV, "The Burnt Letters — 'Great Expectations'." (April 1849)
- 26. A Little Bit of Scandal. Facing page 386 in Chapter XLVI, "Scandal and General Ill-humour." (April 1849)
- 27. The Wager. Facing page 406 in Chapter XLVIII, "Cigars, Ecarte, and Hazard." (May 1849)
- 28. Preparations for Departure Facing page 426 in Chapter LI, "A West Day — The False Signal." (May 1849)
- 29. "No" in the Feminine of "Yes." Facing page 441 in Chapter LII, "The Shadow in the Mirror." (June 1849)
- 30. The Chess-Players. Facing page 455 in Chapter LIV, "A Tete-a-tete Interrupted." (June 1849)
- 31. The Temptation. Facing page 474 in Chapter LVII, "Linton Instigates Keane to Murder." (July 1849)
- 32. Picturesque, but not Pleasant. Facing page 492 in Chapter LIX, "Giovanni Unmasked." (July 1849)
- 33. A Family Party. Facing page 502 in Chapter LX, "Terribly Intimidated — The Abstracted Deeds." (August 1849)
- 34. The Masquerade. Facing page 512 in Chapter LX. (August 1849)
- 35. The Temptation. Facing page 526 in Chapter LXII, "Murder of Mr. Kennyfeck — Cashel Detained on Suspicion." (September 1849)
- 36. Friends ("Ever Faithfully Young"). Facing page 547 in Chapter LXIV, ""The Trial — The Prosecution." (September 1849)
- 37. Guilt and Innocence. Facing page 552 in Chapter LXIV. (October 1849)
- 38. La Ninetta. Facing page 590 in Chapter LXVIII, La Ninetta." (October 1849)
- 39. Linton's last visit to Maritana. Facing page 610 in Chapter LXXI, "Arrest of Linton." (November 1849)
- 40. The Arrest Facing page 616 in Chapter LXXI. (November 1849).
Commentary by Michael Steig (1978): An Abundance of Dark Plates (1848-49)
The dark plate technique, first used in 1847, is applied to all the plates in Lever's Roland Cashel (1848-49), which is thus unique among the full-length novels that Browne illustrated. In some of the etchings the only function of the technique is to produce an even tint, softening the general tone; in others, the grayish background helps to set off the foreground subject (for example, Bravo Toro!); and in several, a basically dark tone plays against grays of varying shades and white highlights. Perhaps the most noteworthy of these latter is Bravo Toro! (illustration 121), a horizontal plate in which a horde of stampeding bison emerge from gray skies and form an almost abstract pattern of black bodies and white eyes around the protagonist on his struggling white horse. Browne displays his compositional abilities in A meeting under the Greenwood tree, where trunks and foliage form a design around the human figures. The artist varied the texture with great effectiveness by using several kinds of roulette. In some of the interior scenes, the mechanical tint adds a degree of depth uncharacteristic of most such subjects among Phiz's work, and at least some reviewers were impressed: Chapman and Hall's catalogue for November 1849 quotes the Edinburgh News on the topic of Roland Cashel to the effect that "the illustrations by Phiz are the finest we have ever seen anywhere, combining, in a new and noble style, line with etching, thus producing all the mellowness of mezzotint in the happiest manner." The dark plate is, indeed, a kind of shortcut to mezzotint effects, whereby the laborious pretreatment of the steel with a "rocker" is bypassed. The inclusion of such a quotation in advertising suggests that the publishers were well aware of the part played by Browne's illustrations in the sale of Lever's novels. [Steig, pp. 307-308]
The Novel's Twenty Serial Instalments, with Two Plates Each
- 1 May 1848 Chapters I-VI.
- 2. June 1848 Chapters VII-IX.
- 3. July 1848 Chapters X-XII.
- 4. August 1848 Chapters XIII-XIV.
- 5. September 1848 Chapters XV-XVII.
- 6. October 1848 Chapters XVIII-XIX.
- 7. November 1848 Chapters XX-XXI.
- 8. December 1848 Chapters XXII-XXV.
- 9. January 1849 Chapters XXVI-XXIX.
- 10. February 1849 Chapters XXX-XXXII.
- 11. March 1849 Chapters XXXIII-XXXVI.
- 12. April 1849 Chapters XXXVII-XXXIX.
- 13. May 1849 Chapters XL-XLI.
- 14. June 1849 Chapters XLII-XLVI.
- 15. July 1849 Chapters LII-LIII.
- 16. August 1849 Chapters LIV-LIX.
- 17. September 1849 Chapters LX-LXIII.
- 18. October 1849 Chapters LXIV-LXVII.
- 19/20. November 1849 Chapters LXVIII-LXXII.
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.]
Buchanan-Brown, John. Phiz! Illustrator of Dickens' World. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1978.
Lester, Valerie Browne Lester. Chapter 11: "'Give Me Back the Freshness of the Morning!'" Phiz! The Man Who Drew Dickens. London: Chatto and Windus, 2004. Pp. 108-127.
Lever, Charles. Roland Cashel. Illustrated by Phiz [Hablot Knight Browne]. London: Chapman and Hall, 1850.
Lever, Charles. Roland Cashel. Illustrated by Phiz [Hablot Knight Browne]. Novels and Romances of Charles Lever. Vols. I and II. In two volumes. London: Routledge, 1877, Rpt. Boston: Little, Brown, 1907. Project Gutenberg. Last Updated: 19 August 2010.
Steig, Michael. Chapter One, "Illustration, Collaboration, and Iconography." Dickens and Phiz. Bloomington: Indiana U. P., 1978. Pp. 1-23.
Stevenson, Lionel. Chapter X, "Onlooker in Florence, 1847-1850." Dr. Quicksilver: The Life of Charles Lever. London: Chapman and Hall, 1939. Pp. 165-183.
_______. "The Domestic Scene." The English Novel: A Panorama. Cambridge, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin and Riverside, 1960.
Started 5 October 2002 Last updated 29 October 2022