A commission to illustrate Charles Lever's Lord Kilgobbin which opened in Cornhill in October [1870] and ran for a year and a half, was a compensation for the loss of the last twelve illustrations for Edwin Drood. (L. V. Fildes, Luke Fildes, R. A. — A Victorian Painter [1968], 17)

Since Luke Fildes was to provide two plates for each of the twelve monthly parts of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, it was fortunate for him that Lever's new novel, to be published in eighteen successive monthly numbers of the Cornhill Magazine (then edited by Sir Leslie Stephen) would require only one wood-engraving for each issue. Lever's agreement to provide another serial for the London publishers of the Cornhill actually predated both Sydney Lever's marriage and the death of Lever's wife, both in 1870, but Lever's health and family events delayed the start of the novel's serial run until late 1870. Lord Kilgobbin's initial instalment finally appeared in the October (1870) number of The Cornhill, Vol. XXII. Although Smith, Elder sent him the proofs in Trieste, they and not he had arranged the program of illustration with Fildes. The volume's dedication, dated at "Trieste, January 20, 1872," suggests the point at which Lever finished preparing the letterpress for volume publication.

Reprinted from the Cornhill were the following eighteen full-page illustrations in both the Smith, Elder and the Chapman and Hall editions. Neither volume contains the original initial letter vignettes that led off every number. The pages cited below are those in the periodical publication, volumes XXII-XXV in The Cornhill Magazine. Although the vignette pages are numbered, in the serial format the full-page illustrations appear on unnumbered facing pages.

Initial-letter Vignettes from the Cornhill Magazine, Vols. XXII through XXV, Signed "SLF"

Related Material


Lever, Charles. Lord Kilgobbin. The Cornhill Magazine. With 18 full-page illustrations and 18 initial-letter vignettes by S. Luke Fildes. Volumes XXII-XXV. October 1870-March 1872.

Lever, Charles. Lord Kilgobbin: A Tale of Ireland in Our Own Time. Illustrated by Sir Luke Fildes, R. A. London: Smith, Elder, 1872; rpt., Chapman and Hall, 1873. 3 vols.

Lever, Charles. Lord Kilgobbin. Illustrated by Sir Luke Fildes. Novels and Romances of Charles Lever. Vols. I-III. In three volumes. London: Smith, Elder, 1872, Rpt. London: Chapman & Hall, 1873. Project Gutenberg. Last Updated: 19 August 2010.

Stevenson, Lionel. Chapter XVI, "Exile on the Adriatic, 1867-1872." Dr. Quicksilver: The Life of Charles Lever. New York: Russell and Russell, 1939; rpt. 1969. Pp. 277-296.

Sutherland, John A. "Lord Kilgobbin." The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction. Stanford: Stanford U. P., 1989, rpt. 1990, 382.

Created 9 May 2005

Updated 9 June 2023