Mr. Pecksniff. Placid, calm, but proud . . . . . gently travelling across the disc, as if he were a figure in a magic lantern." (1872). Forty-first illustration by Fred Barnard for Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit (Chapter XXXV), page 281. [Now back in England, Mark and Martin are astonished at the spectacle of Mr. Pecksniff sailing along an English high street with architectural plans under his arm. The publican then informs them that Pecksniff is now termed "the celebrated architect."] 9.4 x 13.7 cm. 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. Click on the image to enlarge it.]

Commentary: Phiz and Furniss Attempt the Same Scene

Having just returned from America, their passage paid through Mark's working as the ship's cook, Martin and Mark discover Pecksniff in a part town (possibly Portsmouth or Liverpool) about to complete the laying of two foundation stones for a new grammar-school. Thus, Pecksniff stands among other pillars of the community, awaiting his moment of recognition and popular endorsement of his status as a master builder, as as "cornerstone" of upper-middle-class society.

Although Fred Barnard in Mr. Pecksniff. Placid, calm, but proud . . . . . gently travelling across the disc, as if he were a figure in a magic lantern, has attempted to show the reaction of Mark and Martin to Pecksniff's coincidental appearance in the high street of the port city, later illustrator Harry Furniss has clearly based his illustration on one in the original serial, Hablot Knight Browne's January 1844 steel-engraving Martin is Much Gratified by an Imposing Ceremony (Chapter ​​ 35), Martin's indignation at Pecksniff's having plagiarized his design being quite the reverse of "gratification." Therefore, any analysis of the Furniss illustration must take into account the original rather than the Fred Barnard version. In the January 1844 single-page illustration, organised around the triangular apparatus for positioning the corner-stone, the local Member of Parliament, standing on a stool to increase his height and dignity (and to assist him in projecting his voice above the heads of the admiring onlookers), gestures appreciatively towards the self-satisfied architect with his left hand as he holds a silver trowel with his right, while a middle-class crowd. Barnard seems to have deliberately avoided repeating a scene that Phiz had executed so effectively, choosing instead to focus on the utter amazement of the returned travellers as they realise that Pecksniff is esteemed by the general public for his (non-existent) architectural abilities, leaving Martin feeling both chagrined and cheated out of the recognition that should be his for the grammar school's design.

Relevant Images from Other Editions, 1843-1910

Left: Hablot Knight Browne's realisation of the laying of the corner-stone, Martin is Much Gratified by an Imposing Ceremony (Chapter ​ 35, January 1844). Centre: Clayton J. Clartke's watercolour study of the mock-modest architect with the distinctive hairstyle, Mr. Pecksniff (c. 1910). Right: Harry Furniss's realisation of the scene in which Martin and Mark witness Pecksniff assisting in the laying of a corner-stone for a building which Martin designed, The Laying of the Foundation Stone (1910). [Click on the images to enlarge them.]


Bentley, Nicolas, Michael Slater, and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. New York and Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1990.

Dickens, Charles. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. Illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne. London: Chapman and Hall, 1844.

Dickens, Charles. Martin Chuzzlewit. Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. 55 vols. Illustrated by F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert. New York: Sheldon and Co., 1863. Vols. 1-4.

Dickens, Charles. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. Illustrated by Sol Eytinge, Junior. The Diamond Edition. Boston: Ticknor and Fields, 1867.

_____. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, with 59 illustrations by Fred Barnard. Household Edition, volume 2. London: Chapman and Hall, 1871-1880. The copy of the Household Edition from which this picture was scanned was the gift of George Gorniak, proprietor of The Dickens Magazine, whose subject for the fifth series, beginning in January 2008, was this novel.

Dickens, Charles. Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. The Charles Dickens Library Edition. 18 vols. London: Educational Book, 1910. Vol. 7.

Steig, Michael. "Martin Chuzzlewit's Progress by Dickens and Phiz. Dickens Studies Annual 2 (1972): 119-149.

Last modified 4 August 2016