The picture-book combines extracts from Dickens's best-selling novels, including the periodically published "The Holly Tree Inn" and three of the Christmas Books, A Christmas Carol,The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth, with historically-costumed character studies by water colourist Harold Copping. Of more critical interest is the "Introduction" of six pages by Dickens's daughter, the widow of Charles Allston Collins who remarried, Kate Macready Perugini (1839-1929), and the "Foreword" by Bertram W. Matz (1865-1925), Dickensian editor from the inception in January 1905 of that specialty journal and organ of the Dickens Fellowship. Although the text does not so indicate, the author of each of the introductions to the plates was probably Matz also. Each plate is an independent work of art in itself, given additional meaning by the accompanying extract, the style being markedly more realistic than the original illustrations produced by Phiz. Notably absent from the array of characters are those from two of Dickens's current "best-sellers," Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities. One wonders whether the choices were Copping's or Matz's since a great many beloved characters even from the limited range of titles illustrated are missing: the crotchety Mr. Dick and Aunt Betsy from David Copperfield and the ebullient Mark Tapley and subtle Montague Tigg from Martin Chuzzlewit, for example.

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Matz, B. W., and Kate Perugini; illustrated by Harold Copping. Character Sketches from Dickens. London: Raphael Tuck, 1924. Copy in the Paterson Library, Lakehead University.

Last modified 22 June 2013