Harry Furniss's eighteen-volume edition of The Charles Dickens Library (London: Educational Book Company, 1910) contains some 500 special plates (part of the total of 1200 illustrations) and two volumes of commentary. Volume 17, by J. A. Hammerton, is entitled The Dickens Picture Book: A Record of the Dickens Illustrators. Since the order of the volumes is roughly chronological, the seventh volume, entitled The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, precedes the eighth volume, entitled Christmas Books, the sixth volume being Barnaby Rudge, the first publication dates for the works in Volumes 7, 8, and 9 being 1841, 1843-48, and 1843-44, The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit having been Dickens's sixth complete novel and so long a work (a nineteen-month serialisation) that editor J. A. Hammerton did not need to fill out the volume with short stories or journalistic pieces. This was the first novel written after his first American reading tour, probably begun in November 1842, although the first instalment did not appear until January 1843.

The final volume of the 1910 Charles Dickens Library Edition is The Dickens Companion: A Book of Anecdote and Reference. Whereas the muti-volumed Household Edition, issued in tandem by Chapman and Hall and Harper and Brothers throughout the 1870s involved some sixteen American and British illustrators working in the new mode of the Sixties and providing more than a thousand wood-engravings for the thirty-eight volumes, Harry Furniss singlehandedly produced five hundred full-page lithographs and wood-engravings — a prolific output and singular achievement for but one artist. Furniss was fortunate in that he had as precedents for his twenty-nine lithographs (based on staccato pen-and-ink drawing) both the serial program of forty illustrations by Dickens's long-tern collaborator Hablot Knight Brown and the wholly new, generally half-page composite woodblock illustrations by the gifted caricaturist Fred Barnard in the Household Edition of 1872, which as one of the longest volumes in that edition contains sixty illustrations.

For all twenty-nine of the illustrations for the Martin Chuzzlewit illustrations in volume 7, the series editor, J. A. Hammerton, has included both succinct captions (given in full below) and extended quotations to demonstrate the textual moment realised in each; moreover, each quotation refers to a specific page number, thereby enabling the reader to find the passage illustrated. The exception to this standard mode of presentation and captioning is the pair of character studies (without benefit of setting or backdrop) of Mark Tapley and Sairey Gamp; a third study, of Old Chuffey, does possess both a caption and a page number. As usual in the volumes of The Charles Dickens Library Edition Furniss provides an ornately bordered title-page, listed as Characters in the Story in the "List of Special Plates" ( xi). Although each page is 12.2 by 18.4 cm (4.75 by 7.25 inches) and the caption below each in upper-case, and below that occurs a multi-line quotation in upper and lower case, each plate is effectively 14.3 cm by 9.2 cm (5.5 inches by 3.25 inches), the vertically-mounted illustrations usually being framed, and the horizontally-mounted illustrations being vignetted. Aside from the thirty-four title-page vignettes surrounding the title, of the twenty-eight full-page illustrations, only three are devoted to the American episodes. A long-time comic favourite, the hypocritical humbug Seth Pecksniff, appears in eight of the illustrations, whereas the eponymous hero of the narrative, the eiron Young Martin, occurs in but ten of the twenty-nine. — Philip V. Allingham.

The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit

Related Materials


Dickens, Charles. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. Illustrated by Harry Furniss. Volume 7 of the Charles Dickens Library Edition. London: Educational Book Co., 1910.

Kyd. Characters from Dickens. Nottingham: John Player & Sons, 1910.

Last modified 17 February 2016