Dombey and Son, Household Edition (1877), p. 77 (scene from chap. xi). Wood engraving by the Dalziels, 4 ¼ x 5 ½ inches (10.8 cm high by 13.8 cm wide), framed. Running head: "Mr. Dombey takes leave of his son," 77. [Click on the image to enlarge it.]— Fred Barnard's eleventh illustration for Dickens's
Passage Illustrated: Making a Show of Being "Learned"
With that, Mrs. Blimber, who was a lady of great suavity, and a wiry figure, and who wore a cap composed of sky-blue materials, proceeded upstairs with Mr. Dombey and Cornelia; Mrs. Pipchin following, and looking out sharp for her enemy the footman.
While they were gone, Paul sat upon the table, holding Florence by the hand, and glancing timidly from the Doctor round and round the room, while the Doctor, leaning back in his chair, with his hand in his breast as usual, held a book from him at arm’s length, and read. There was something very awful in this manner of reading. It was such a determined, unimpassioned, inflexible, cold-blooded way of going to work. It left the Doctor’s countenance exposed to view; and when the Doctor smiled auspiciously at his author, or knit his brows, or shook his head and made wry faces at him, as much as to say, "Don’t tell me, Sir; I know better," it was terrific. [Chapter 11, "Paul’s Introduction to a New Scene," 76]
According to Dickens's cynical narrator rather than to Paul's conscious impression of the Brighton academy, "Doctor Blimber’s establishment was a great hot-house, in which there was a forcing apparatus incessantly at work" (73). In his illustration of the head-master in his book-lined study, Barnard regards the staff as posers and the curriculum as artificial. The illustrator seems to have relied upon Dickens's earlier description of the portly and pretentious Blimber:
The Doctor was a portly gentleman in a suit of black, with strings at his knees, and stockings below them. He had a bald head, highly polished; a deep voice; and a chin so very double, that it was a wonder how he ever managed to shave into the creases. He had likewise a pair of little eyes that were always half shut up, and a mouth that was always half expanded into a grin, as if he had, that moment, posed a boy, and were waiting to convict him from his own lips. Insomuch, that when the Doctor put his right hand into the breast of his coat, and with his other hand behind him, and a scarcely perceptible wag of his head, made the commonest observation to a nervous stranger, it was like a sentiment from the sphynx, and settled his business. 
The Relevant Illustrations of Dr. Blimber the Novel from Other Editions
Left: Phiz's January 1847 illustration for the twelfth chapter, Doctor Blimber's Young Gentlemen as they appeared when Enjoying Themselves. Centre: Phiz's other study of Dr. Blimber's Academy, engraved frontispiece for the first volume, Paul Goes Home for the Holidays (February 1847). Right: Sol Eytinge, Junior's family grouping of the Blimbers, The Blimbers and Mr. Feeder (1867).
Left: Phiz's other study of Dr. Blimber's Academy, engraved frontispiece for the first volume, Paul Goes Home for the Holidays (February 1847). Right: Harry Firniss's version of the scene in Dr. Blimber's study: Paul introduced to Dr. Blimber (1877).
Related Material including Other Illustrated Editions of Dombey and Son
- Dombey and Son (homepage)
- Phiz's 40 illustrations for Dombey and Son, Wholesale Retail & for Exportation (Oct. 1846 — April 1848)
- O. C. Darley's Frontispiece in the New York edition (Vol. 1, 1862)
- O. C. Darley's Frontispiece in the New York edition (Vol. 2, 1862)
- O. C. Darley's Frontispiece in the New York edition (Vol. 3, 1862)
- Sol Eytinge, Junior's 16 Diamond Edition Illustrations (1867)
- The Illustrators of the Household Edition of the Works of Charles Dickens (22 vols., 1871-79)
- Groome's eight illustrations for the Collins Pocket Edition (1900, rpt. 1934)
- Kyd's five Player's Cigarette Cards (1910)
- Harry Furniss's 29 illustrations for the Charles Dickens Library Edition (1910)
- Harold Copping's Captain Cuttle's Bright Idea, 1924.
Scanned image and text 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. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Phiz. (Hablot K. Browne). London: Chapman and Hall, 1848.
_______. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz). 8 coloured plates. London and Edinburgh: Caxton and Ballantyne, Hanson, 1910.
_______. Dombey and Son. Illustrated by Fred Barnard [62 composite wood-block engravings]. The Works of Charles Dickens. The Household Edition. 22 vols. London: Chapman and Hall, 1877. XV.
"Dombey and Son — Sixty-two Illustrations by Fred Barnard." Scenes and Characters from the Works of Charles Dickens, Being Eight Hundred and Sixty-six Drawings by Fred Barnard, Gordon Thomson, Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz), J. McL. Ralston, J. Mahoney, H. French, Charles Green, E. G. Dalziel, A. B. Frost, F. A. Fraser, and Sir Luke Fildes. London: Chapman and Hall, 1907.
Created 27 March 2017
Last modified 16 December 2020