Darvill's Rare Prints, fine antique prints and rare maps since 1918! Darvill's Rare Prints, fine antique prints and rare maps since 1918!
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Darvill's Rare Prints is pleased to offer a huge selection of original H.K. Browne ("Phiz") prints from various Charles Dickens publications.

Dickens third novel was illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz) and published in monthly parts between March 1838 and September 1839. Dickens and Browne, traveling under assumed names, visited the notorious boarding schools in Yorkshire to do background research for the novel, which deals with the mistreatment of children sent to these schools. Although the central theme takes on this serious subject, Dickens mixes in some of his best comic writing.

Dickens biographers George Gissing and G.K. Chesterton praised the comic characterization of the novel and Peter Ackroyd, in his biography Dickens, says that Nicholas Nickleby is "perhaps the funniest novel in the English language."

[source: victorianweb.com]

These are original prints about 170 years old, not reproductions.
Page size is approximately 5 3/8 x 8 1/4 inches.
There may be some damp staining or foxing on the prints due to their age,
so please have a look at the provided enlargements
by clicking on the thumbnails below.

We have many more prints by Phiz...
please see the Satire/Humor page by clicking here.

H.K. Browne, also known as Phiz

 

Background:

Dickens worked in close collaboration with his illustrators, supplying them with an overall summary of the work at the outset for the cover illustration which was printed on heavy colored stock, usually green, which served as a wrapper for each of the monthly parts. Dickens briefed the illustrator on plans for each month's installment so that work on the two illustrations could begin before he wrote them.

This close working relationship with his illustrators is important to readers of Dickens today. The illustrations give us a glimpse of the characters as Dickens described them to the illustrator and approved when the drawing was finished. Film makers still use the illustrations as a basis for characterization, costume, and set design in the dramatization of Dickens' works.

 

When Robert Seymour committed suicide after the second installment of Pickwick the author and his publishers needed a new illustrator. Artists such as John Leech, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Robert W. Buss were considered but the man selected was Hablot Knight Browne who had done some work for Chapman and Hall earlier and had worked with Dickens on a recent pamphlet.

Browne and Dickens developed an excellent working relationship and Browne took the nickname Phiz to complement Dickens' Boz. Browne would go on to illustrate Dickens' work for 23 years, ten of Dicken's novels were illustrated by Phiz. Browne's comic/satiric style of illustration did not fit well with Dickens' later, more serious, novels and after the somewhat disappointing illustrations for A Tale of Two Cities, he never worked for Dickens again.

Phiz and Emblematic Detail
In the background of many of the Phiz illustrations of Dickens' novels the illustrator introduces details that help to interpret what is happening in the story. Some of these emblematic details are rather obvious and some are more subtle. Michael Steig, in his book Dickens and Phiz, argues effectively that, although Dickens gave detailed instructions as to the content of the illustrations, many of the emblematic details in the illustrations were added by Phiz on his own.

An excellent source of information about Dickens illustrators (including the above) can be found here.

 


The Yorkshire Schoolmaster at 'The Saracen's Head'

Frontispiece to Nicholas Nickleby
(Vol. I)

The Yorkshire Schoolmaster at 'The Saracen's Head'

$20
(some foxing)


Mr. Ralph Nickleby's first visit to his poor relations

Mr. Ralph Nickleby's first visit to his poor relations

$25


The Five Sisters of York

The Five Sisters of York

$35


Newman Noggs leaves the ladies in the empty house

Newman Noggs leaves the ladies in the empty house

$25


Nicholas engaged as Tutor in a private family

Nicholas engaged as Tutor
in a private family

$35


Madame Mantalini introduces Kate to Miss Knay

Madame Mantalini introduces Kate to Miss Knay

$25


Mr. Ralph Nickleby's 'honest' composure

Mr. Ralph Nickleby's 'honest' composure

$25


The Professional Gentlemen at Madame Mantalini's

The Professional Gentlemen
at Madame Mantalini's

$35


The Country Manager rehearses a Combat

The Country Manager rehearses a Combat


The great bespeak for Miss Snevellicci

The great bespeak for Miss Snevellicci

$35


Nicholas instructs Smike in the Art of Acting

Nicholas instructs Smike
in the Art of Acting

$35


Affectionate behaviour of Mrssrs. Pyke & Pluck

Affectionate behaviour
of Mrssrs. Pyke & Pluck

$25
(short tear right margin)


Nicholas hints at the probability of his leaving the company

Nicholas hints at the probability of his leaving the company

$30
(some foxing)


Mr. and Mrs. Mantalini in Ralph Nickleby's Office

Frontispiece to Nicholas Nickleby
(vol. II)

Mr. and Mrs. Mantalini in Ralph Nickleby's Office

$30


Mr. Linkinwater intimates his approval of Nicholas

Mr. Linkinwater intimates his approval of Nicholas

$30


Nicholas recognizes the Young Lady unknown

Nicholas recognizes
the Young Lady unknown

$30


The Gentleman next door declares his passion for Mrs. Nickleby

The Gentleman next door declares his passion for Mrs. Nickleby


Mr. Mantalini poisons himself for the seventh time

Mr. Mantalini poisons himself for the seventh time

$35


Mr. Snawley enlarges on parental instinct

Mr. Snawley enlarges on parental instinct

$25


Nicholas makes his first visit to Mr. Bray

Nicholas makes his first visit to Mr. Bray

$25


The Consultation

The Consultation

$25


The last brawl between Sir Mulbery and his pupil

The last brawl between
Sir Mulbery and his pupil

$25
(fox mark)


Nicholas congratulates Arthur Gride on his Wedding Morning

Nicholas congratulates Arthur Gride on his Wedding Morning

$30
(fox mark)


The recognition

The recognition

$30


The 'breaking up' at Dotheboys Hall

The 'breaking up' at Dotheboys Hall


The children at their cousins' grave

The children at their cousins' grave

$30
(some foxing)

Many more Phiz Dickens prints on the Humor and Satire page