From the Christmas Stories

Thirty Illustrations of Great Expectations (from the Household Edition)

Many of these small-scale plates contain just two or three figures, having the effect of a television mid-range shot; the plate on page 48 (114 in the Collier edition) contains four figures cleverly balanced and juxtaposed, Joe and Pip right, Miss Havisham and the shadowy Estella immediately behind her, left, to suggest that Estella is Miss Havisham's apprentice in the ghastly "trade" of breaking men's hearts. A pattern in these 28 plates is that, in illustrations containing three figures, one is often the observer, as in "Orlick . . . . Was Very Soon Among the Coal-dust, and in No Hurry To Come Out of It" (p. 53; p. 129 in the Collier edition), in which a small Pip observes the battling giants from the right, or in "'Now This,' Said Mr. Trabb . . . . 'Is a Very Sweet Article" in which Trabb's boy is the observer. Such "group" plates as that on page 77 (Collier edn., p. 187) and that on page 116 (Collier edn., p. 273) tend to be rather cluttered, despite the artist's best attempts at using block groups, costume, gender, and gesture to provide a focus and an organisational principle.

One of the best group plates, the significant scene in which Estella insists Pip take her purse on page 124 (Collier ed., p. 294), involves the foregrounding of the two principals while other figures go about their affairs (we note that one of the porters in the right foreground appears to be observing and overhearing the conversation, exactly as the readers are). The artist has generally avoided single-figure compositions, so that Pip's return home, in the garb of a London "gentleman" on page 129 (Collier edn., p. 309) admirably conveys a sense of the protagonist's sense of dislocation and alienation, a dark pillar against the white plaster walls of the village cottages in the background. The running head "How My Sister's Death Affected Me" underscores the reflective the mood created by the plate.

Title or text illustrated Page Chapter
"Why should I look at him?" returned Estella. -- P. 145. Frontispiece
"And you know what wittles is?" 1 [1?]
The sergeant ran in first 16 5
"Why, here's a J," said Joe,"and a O equal to anythink!" 21 7
She gave a contemptuous toss . . . . and left me 29 8
He said, "Aha! would you?" and began dancing backward and forward 44 11
"Well, Pip, you know, . . . . you yourself see me put 'em in my 'at" 48 13
Orlick . . . . was very soon among the coal-dust, and in no hurry to come out of it 53 15
Then she softly patted my shoulder in a soothing way 60 17
"Now, this," said Mr. Trabb, "is a very sweet article" 72 19
"Say another word — one single word — and Wemmick shall give you your money back" 77 20
"This chap . . . . murdered his master" 92 24
We found the aged heating the poker, with expectant eyes 97 26
"Do you take tea, or coffee, Mr. Gargery?" 104 27
Drawling to his attendants, "Don't know yah, don't know yah!" 116 30
"Oh, you must take the purse!" 124 33
It was fine summer weather again. 129 35
It is of no use," said Biddy. 133 36
"What!" said Estella, "do you reproach me for being cold? You?" 144 38
I rose out of my chair, and stood with my hand upon the back of it, looking wildly at him. 149 39
Gradually I slipped from the chair, and lay on the floor. 15239
"When I says to Compeyson, 'Once out of this court, I'll smash that face o' yourn!'" 164 43
He came back, calling for a light for the cigar in his mouth, which he had forgotten." 16843
I had had to feel my way back among the shipping." 180 47
I entreated her to rise 188 49
"Him That I Speak Of," Said the Landlord. "Mr. Pumblechook." -- 52
"Do you know this?" said he." 200 53
He had spoken his last words 216 56
We sat down on a bench that was near 224 59
Title-page vignette of Pip approaching the lime-kiln in ch. 53 -- 53

Running heads for the British Household Edition

The running heads for the pages on which plates are situated in the British Household edition (not found in the Collier edition of 1900) are as follows:

Related Materials

For Wilkie Collins's The Moonstone: A Romance (1890)


Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone: A Romance. Illustrated by George Du Maurier and F. A. Fraser. London: Chatto and Windus, 1890.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Volume 6 of the Household Edition. London: Chapman and Hall, 1871-1880 [this volume 1876].

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. New York: Peter Fenelon Collier, 1900. The plates in Collier edition were taken directly from the Household Edition, but were somewhat trimmed left and right to accommodate the slightly reduced width of the pages.

Created 25 July 2016

Last modified 27 September 2021