(Left)"Phiz" Browne, The Red-Nosed Man Discourseth, 1837. (Right) William Mulready, The Fight Interrupted, 1816.

Stiggins, while drunk, lectures Sam Weller, his father, and his father's wife on the evils of drunkenness. His numerous religious and moral references lead us to perceive him in the light of the preacher (Pickwick Papers, 728). [Click upon each image to obtain a larger version.]

The placement of the minister and his hearers is quite similar to Browne's, without the sarcastic overtones of the cartoon conveyed by the caricature-figures and allegedly inappropriate facial expressions.

The following two pictures exemplify a more common Victorian view of the clergy. The solitary portrait, rather than before their auditors, seems to have been the most widely used form for portraying people of great influence.

(Left) Sir John Everett Millais, The Right Reverend James Fraser D.D., Lord Bishop of Manchester, 1880. (Right) W. Holman Hunt, New College Cloisters (Canon Jenkins), 1852.

Both portraits emphasize caring eyes and calm faces, in contrast to the demeanor we know of St. John Rivers in Jane Eyre. His voice is described as calm, but his language is "nervous." Jane goes on to say, "This grew to force — compressed, condensed, controlled...Throughout there was a strange bitterness; an absence of consolatory gentleness; stern allusions to Calvinistic doctrines...each reference sounded like a sentence pronounced for doom." Hardly similar images to those of the preachers whose portraits have been taken. This contrast leads us to believe that there is something lacking in this unloving minister, just as there is something lacking in the Pickwick's tipsy one, whose audience is even bored, not in awe as St. John's, or even respectful of his position, as the children are in The Fight Interrupted.

Victorian Overview Pickwick Papers

Last modified 1996

Last modified 8 June 2007