We’re in week 2 of our ‘Jane in January’ event and hope you are enjoying our special focus on “Pride and Prejudice.” The giveaways associated with this event will be distributed through rafflecopter, so be sure to sign into it to be entered.
We will announce winners by Sunday afternoon of each week.
Happy New Year! I thought I’d welcome the new year in with a look at some of the illustrators of the past who have imagined and depicted Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. As some of you may know, I have a particular fondness for illustrated books, and I’m very lucky to own a few copies of Pride and Prejudice that I bought in the days when these books could be bought for a few pounds, and not the astronomical sums they fetch now.
Pride of my collection is a ‘Peacock’ edition of Pride and Prejudice, illustrated by Hugh Thomson. He was born in Coleraine, Co. Londonderry on June 1 1860 – I like to think Jane would have approved of his Irish roots! He started his working life in the linen industry, but he’d always had a talent for drawing, and at the age of 17 he went to work for a colour printer and publisher in Belfast – Marcus Ward and Co. where his skills were recognised and encouraged.
He married Jessie Naismith Miller in 1884 and moved to London working for MacMillan and Co. on the English Illustrated Magazine. Amongst his commissions that followed were illustrations for novels like Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, The Ballad of Beau Brocade, by his friend Austin Dobson, and in 1894 the ‘Peacock’ edition of Pride and Prejudice was illustrated for the publisher, George Allen. It’s known by this name because of the beautiful gilt cover which features a peacock – a very fashionable emblem at the turn of the century, featured in interiors, fashion, and books!
After this edition for Allen he returned to Macmillan to illustrate five more of the novels, Emma and Sense and Sensibility (1896) Mansfield Park (1897) Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (1898). His drawings were exhibited on several occasions, starting with a joint exhibition with Kate Greenaway. His illustrations largely appeared in black and white, line drawings up to this point, but colour illustrations followed. Very sadly, the war years bought ill-health and hardship, and Hugh died of heart disease in London on May 7 1920.
Here’s one of the illustrations from Pride and Prejudice. Jane is staying at Netherfield, and is feeling a little better, enough to come downstairs to sit by the fire. I love the way Mr Bingley is tending the fire and looking at her adoringly!
Although it’s essentially a Georgian room, it has quite a feel of Edwardiana about it, in the array of sinuous vases on the shelf. Of course there was quite a revival at the turn of the century for Georgian fashion, which can be seen in interiors, furniture and clothing at the time. Anyone who watches Downton Abbey can see how there was a definite ‘looking back’ to an earlier time in the fashions of the day.
I love this illustration of Bingley and Darcy, and have wondered how far our modern producers of films and adaptations have been influenced by this illustration from the past. The fair-haired Bingley, and the dark-haired Darcy are so well entrenched in our minds, that it would be difficult to imagine the reverse. Jane Austen rarely gives us exact details about physical description – Hugh Thomson clearly wanted to make a distinction between the two. I must admit that his Mr Darcy is one of my favourites!
Here’s an interesting little film about Hugh Thomson and his illustrations.
The Brock Brothers, Charles and Henry were brothers and artists who both illustrated different versions of Pride and Prejudice.
Charles Brock was born in Holloway, London, on 5 February 1870, and Henry in Cambridge on 11 July 1875. The brothers went to the local Church of England School before attending Grammar School. Charles studied under the sculptor, Henry Wiles, but neither of the brothers attended art school.
Charles illustrated books from 1891 and like Hugh Thomson was commissioned by Macmillan working on illustrations for Gulliver’s Travels. Later in the same year, Henry started his career working with Charles on the illustrations to a history textbook, also for Macmillan. In 1895, Charles came into direct competition with Thomson when asked to illustrate Pride and Prejudice, and in the same decade, Charles and Henry also illustrated the Dent edition of Austen’s novels.
At the turn of the century, the Brock family moved to Arundine House and built a large studio in the garden. The brothers were both elected to the membership of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Henry in 1906, Charles two years later, in 1908. Charles died in Cambridge on 28 February 1938, but Henry managed to keep working for another 12 years, and eventually died on 21 July 1960.
In 2008, my dream of becoming a published author came true when Sourcebooks published Lydia Bennet’s Story. I was thrilled with the cover which featured one of Henry Brock’s illustrations.
It depicts the moment when Mr Denny introduces his friend Mr Wickham to the Bennet girls. Lydia and Kitty are first on the scene …
But the attention of every lady was soon caught by a young man, whom they had never seen before, of most gentlemanlike appearance, walking with an officer on the other side of the way. The officer was the very Mr. Denny, concerning whose return from London Lydia came to inquire, and he bowed as they passed. All were struck with the stranger’s air, all wondered who he could be; and Kitty and Lydia, determined if possible to find out, led the way across the street, under pretence of wanting something in an opposite shop, and fortunately had just gained the pavement when the two gentlemen, turning back, had reached the same spot. Mr. Denny addressed them directly, and entreated permission to introduce his friend, Mr. Wickham, who had returned with him the day before from town, and he was happy to say had accepted a commission in their corps. This was exactly as it should be; for the young man wanted only regimentals to make him completely charming. His appearance was greatly in his favour; he had all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure, and very pleasing address. The introduction was followed up on his side by a happy readiness of conversation — a readiness at the same time perfectly correct and unassuming; and the whole party were still standing and talking together very agreeably, when the sound of horses drew their notice, and Darcy and Bingley were seen riding down the street. On distinguishing the ladies of the group the two gentlemen came directly towards them, and began the usual civilities. Bingley was the principal spokesman, and Miss Bennet the principal object. He was then, he said, on his way to Longbourn on purpose to inquire after her. Mr. Darcy corroborated it with a bow, and was beginning to determine not to fix his eyes on Elizabeth, when they were suddenly arrested by the sight of the stranger, and Elizabeth, happening to see the countenance of both as they looked at each other, was all astonishment at the effect of the meeting. Both changed colour; one looked white, the other red. Mr. Wickham, after a few moments, touched his hat – a salutation which Mr. Darcy just deigned to return. What could be the meaning of it? – It was impossible to imagine; it was impossible not to long to know.
Philip Gough is another illustrator I really like – here’s the frontispiece of Pride and Prejudice published by Macmillan in 1951. This is quite a recent find – I looked for years for a copy and then one popped up when I wasn’t looking – isn’t that often the way? The illustration shows Lady Catherine de Bourgh arriving at Longbourn.
Chris Hammond was an illustrator working at the same time as Hugh Thomson and the Brock brothers, and a successful female artist who very sadly died young at the age of 39. She studied art in Lambeth and was accepted to study at The Royal Academy. She worked for various magazines, and exhibited at The Royal Academy, and The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours.
This edition of Pride and Prejudice, published by Doubleday is illustrated by Robert Ball in both colour and line drawings. You can see Bingley remonstrating with his friend Mr Darcy because he will not dance!
This is an illustration of Jane Bennet by Robert Ball.
I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at just a few of the artists and illustrators who have made collecting these books such a joy! Have you got a favourite illustrator or edition of Pride and Prejudice?
Here are some of the prizes we are giving away in Jane in January:
Week Two Prizes:
From Jane Odiwe – 1 copy of “Project Darcy,” 1 copy of ”Searching for Captain Wentworth,” and 1 copy of “Mr Darcy’s Secret” (international}, 1 “The Treasures of Jane Austen” with facsimile letters and other features (UK only)
From Kara Louise – 1 paperback “Pirates and Prejudice” (US); 1 ebook “Pirates and Prejudice,” (international); 1 P&P Paperdolls (US)
From Abigail Reynolds – 2 reusable shopping bags with JA images (US)
From C. Allyn Pearson – Classic Hardcover “Persuasion” (US)
Please remember to click into RaffleCopter and log in, stating that you commented on the blog post or YOU WILL NOT be entered for the giveaway! There are also two other ways to increase your chances to win. The winners will be selected through RaffleCopter only. Please include whether you are US, UK, or International in your comment, and if you have a prize preference, please add that as well. We will do our best to honor requests. Good luck!