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December 2007 || Articles

Reflections on Illustration: the Database of Mid-Victorian Wood-Engraved Illustration (DMVI)

by Julia Thomas

This article is about reflections. Its main objective is to reflect on the methodologies and research implications of a pilot project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which culminated in the launch in January 2007 of the online Database of Mid-Victorian Wood-Engraved Illustration (DMVI).1  The database contains 868 images that accompanied literary texts published in or around 1862 and is fully searchable across bibliographic and iconographic fields. These search mechanisms, along with the variety of pictures included in DMVI, offer new ways of thinking about the genre of illustration which I shall explore here. Of course, the images in the database are not the same as the actual illustrations: they have been isolated from their textual sources and appear in a different medium, on a computer screen rather than in a book or magazine, and this determines how they are viewed and interpreted. But the digitised pictures could themselves be seen as reflections, (mirror) images that help to preserve and to render accessible in a digital form material from diverse collections and publications. Indeed, one of the principal aims of the project was to make these illustrations visible, to stress that Victorian literature is a hybrid form that combines text and image in complex ways, a factor frequently neglected in the publication of these texts today without the pictures that originally accompanied them.

While the database and this article embrace and enact a certain kind of reflectivity, however, the theoretical considerations underpinning DMVI and the material it contains lead to a reconsideration of how illustration signifies. In particular, the images in the database question a way of viewing illustration that I shall call the ‘reflective model’. This model came to prominence in the middle of the nineteenth century when illustration was at the height of its popularity, but it continues to have a significant number of advocates today. The model regards illustration as reflective in two ways, either or both of which are emphasised by individual critics. First, an illustration is seen to reflect or mirror the words that it accompanies, and is interpreted, and judged, in these terms. A good or ‘true’ illustration, therefore, is one that faithfully re-presents its textual analogue. Such ideas are common in Victorian reviews of illustrated works. In one typical account published in 1844 the critic praises those pictures that are ‘real illustrations of the text’,2  arguing that ‘above all things it is necessary that [an illustrator] should clearly understand his author’ (195-96). Five years later, W. J. Linton, himself a successful illustrator, asserts that ‘an illustration should be illustrative3  it should never ‘run counter to the text’ (93).

And if illustrations should never ‘run counter to the text’, their relation to their cultural context is just as intimate. The second critical proposition of the reflective model is that illustration mirrors the historical and cultural moment in which it is produced. This view was articulated at the end of the nineteenth century by the artist Walter Crane, who described the illustrated book as a ‘hand-glass’ that accurately and consistently reflects the social mores and values of the time.4  Crane was writing during a period that witnessed the growth, and steady decline, of a type of illustration that, with its realist and narrative agenda, did appear to adopt this reflective role, but, although illustration is undoubtedly part of the historical, political and ideological events that surround it, its meanings are perhaps more complex than Crane’s description suggests.

The main problem with the reflective model is that it depends on assumptions about illustration that have resulted in the marginalisation of this particular mode of representation in art history and literary studies and its relegation to the bottom (painting is at the top) of the hierarchical classification of genres that defines the visual arts. While it is seen to mirror culture and cultural values, illustration has no constitutive function: it is not regarded as shaping or determining these values. Similarly, in its reflection of the words it accompanies, illustration is positioned as subservient and inferior not only to context, but also to text.

Historically, however, illustration has not always been secondary to the words it accompanies. These images do not necessarily ‘follow’ a pre-existing text, but can actually precede it. Many eighteenth and nineteenth-century Keepsake annuals, for example, employed writers to add the text to pictures. This was standard practice by 1836 when Charles Dickens was approached by the publishers Chapman and Hall to write the narrative episodes to accompany Robert Seymour’s comic sketches in a publication that later became The Pickwick Papers. Dickens’ complaints at this process, and Seymour’s suicide following the second instalment of the novel, resulted in the overturning of the relationship between text and image and of author and artist, and Hablot K. Browne (‘Phiz’) was commissioned to provide the pictures that would now follow and complement Dickens’ text.

The Pickwick Papers might be seen as signalling a reversal of fortunes for illustration, a turning point in which pictures were relegated to an inferior status to words. Certainly, Dickens maintained strict control over the illustrations for his novels, selecting the episode to be pictured and often describing in meticulous detail how the artist should draw the scene. Other Victorian authors followed Dickens in viewing illustration as a medium that needed to be supervised and controlled. When the Pre-Raphaelite artist, William Holman Hunt, drew the Lady of Shalott with her hair flying about and the threads of the tapestry clinging to her contorted body for an edition of Tennyson’s poems published by Edward Moxon in 1857 (Figure 1),
1. W. Holman Hunt, ‘The Lady of Shalott’
the author reprimanded him, arguing that these details did not appear in the poem: ‘an illustrator ought never to add anything to what he finds in the text’.5 

The idea of illustration proposed by Tennyson and Dickens is a reflective one: the picture mirrors the text and remains in a secondary position in relation to it, both in terms of its artistic value and merit, and in the fact that the words literally come before and thus ‘guide’ the illustration. (Dickens would send the relevant textual episode to the artist for illustration, while Hunt’s rendition of The Lady of Shalott appeared some twenty-five years after the original publication of the poem.) Moreover, because it follows the text, the illustration should generate the same meanings: it should neither add to nor detract from the words, but should signify in the same way, reflecting textual meanings and, in so doing, duplicating them in pictorial form.

But can this illustrative role ever be achieved? The reflective model assumes that the meaning of the text is itself fixed and monolithic; this has to be so in order for the illustrator faithfully to re-present the words. The diversity of the ways in which different artists have illustrated the same text, and even the same lines from the same text, however, undermines this idea of textual stability. Illustrations are not simply reflections, but are visual interpretations of texts that can expose how multiple and ambiguous textual meanings are. Even an illustration that appears to be an exact rendition of the words can demonstrate the fact that the meanings of those words cannot be so easily controlled. A case in point is a Victorian illustration, much ridiculed at the time, of the first line of the epitaph of Thomas Gray’s poem, ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’, ‘Here rests his head upon the lap of earth’,6  where, instead of representing the symbolic impact of the words and showing a gravestone or another emblem of death, the artist depicts a gentleman lying upon the ground with a sod of turf for a pillow.7 

DMVI contains two illustrated versions of Gray’s verse (neither of which, unfortunately, include the recumbent man): one appears in the anthology, Favourite English Poems, and is illustrated by Myles Birket Foster, George Housman Thomas and Eleanor Vere Boyle (one of the few female illustrators of the period), and the other is in English Sacred Poetry and illustrated by J. D. Watson. Both versions include an illustration of Gray’s description of the futility of human ambition, ‘The paths of glory lead but to the grave’ (line 36), with George Housman Thomas showing a stately funeral procession in a dark and mannered representation that stresses the sombre outcome of Gray’s words (Figure 2),
3. J. D. Watson, ‘The Paths of Glory lead but to the Grave’
and J.D. Watson emphasising misguided ‘glory’ with an action-packed display of military heroism (Figure 3).
2. G. H. Thomas, ‘The paths of glory lead but to the grave’

These diverse illustrations of the same line expose the fact that the poem does not wholly determine the content or style of the illustration. Both of these visual interpretations are allowed for by the words, revealing what John Ruskin refers to as the ability of illustration to show ‘how variously the same verses may affect various minds.’8  Textual meanings are not fixed, but are interpreted in different ways by different illustrations. And this is assuming that it is possible to identify what part of the text is being ‘interpreted’ in the first place. The reflective model of illustration presupposes not only that the text is a self-contained entity that can be duplicated by the illustration, but also that one can easily determine what words are being illustrated in order to ascertain whether they are adequately re-presented in the picture.

DMVI does not include the accompanying texts to its illustrations, although it does contain bibliographic descriptions of the literary works and details of where the illustrations appear on the page. This decision was partly the result of practical considerations. Two of the major collections we were using – the periodical illustrations of the 1860s and 70s in the School of Art Museum and Gallery, Aberystwyth University, and the Forrest Reid collection in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford – were gathered together by Victorian enthusiasts who had cut the illustrations from their textual source and mounted them on card. But even if DMVI, and these Victorian collectors, had included the accompanying words alongside the images, what exactly would they consist of? Titles or captions? Individual sentences or lines? Sections or stanzas? Entire texts?

For what is pictured in an illustration is not transparent. Even though an accompanying caption can provide a clue (although these are not always present), illustrations do not necessarily appear alongside the relevant text. The illustrations for Dickens’ serialised novels, for instance, were physically separate from the words they were intended to illustrate, being inserted after an advertising section and before the instalment. In the case of serialised fiction, instructions from the publishers to the binders determined where the illustrations should be placed when the set of parts was complete. In fact, it was not until the advent of wood engraving in the middle years of the nineteenth century that text and image could be printed together at the same time and on the same page. But even with wood engraving, the image is not always juxtaposed with the text it represents. These pictures can appear as headers or tailpieces, at the top, bottom, or in the middle of the page, or completely divorced from the words. Moreover, the picture is often a montage of actions, events and details that have been described over multiple, and not necessarily consecutive, parts of the text. Take, for example, an illustration by John Everett Millais for Anthony Trollope’s Orley Farm (Figure 4).
4. J. E. Millais, ‘There is nothing like iron, Sir; nothing.’
The caption of the illustration, ‘“There is nothing like iron, Sir; nothing”’, is ostensibly the part of the text being illustrated. But it is not all that is illustrated; nor, in fact, does the image literally represent this caption, the words of which are spoken by the central figure before he has stepped up onto the table. In fact, a more suitable caption might be ‘“Look at that for strength”’, which this particular character pronounces from his position on the tabletop. The details and events of this image, whilst coming together in the space of the picture, are an amalgamation of preceding textual details, including the physical appearances of the five men, the setting of the scene in the commercial room of the Bull Inn, Leeds, and the description of Mr Moulder, the portly gentleman in the chair in the foreground, who has fallen asleep, still clinging to his pipe. It is not necessarily easy, then, to isolate the precise part of the text that is being illustrated. If we had incorporated the words alongside the images in DMVI, we might have included different sections of the text, whole chapters, or, in some cases, the literary work in its entirety.

Illustrations like Millais’ attempt to overcome their temporal limitations and to represent in a single scene written episodes that unfold over time or even over the duration of the text. This is also a feature of illustrated poetry anthologies, where each poem usually includes one or two pictures that can come to embody the complete text. This form was perfectly suited to illustrators such as Myles Birket Foster, who designed generic landscapes that could be seen to depict any part of the poem, or more or less any poem. William Holman Hunt had other ideas about how to represent a poem in a single image. As he explained to Tennyson, his unruly depiction of the Lady of Shalott was necessary because, as an artist, Hunt had only half a page on which to convey an idea of the curse that had befallen the protagonist, whereas Tennyson had fifteen.9  In other words, the extradiegetical features that Hunt includes in the illustration were intended to give a pictorial impression of the whole poem. While it might initially seem easy to identify the lines of the verse that Hunt illustrates, therefore, it is, in fact, anything but. In one sense, the picture shows a specific textual moment which can be reduced to four lines:

Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
‘The curse is come upon me, cried 
The Lady of Shalott.10 

However, these lines do not contain a description of the plumed Lancelot, shown in the mirror behind the Lady, nor do they include those elements that Tennyson criticised – the disorderly hair and entrapping threads of the tapestry – which are intended to convey what Hunt calls ‘the impression of weird fate’ that is given in the fifteen or so pages of verse.11 

Ironically, Hunt’s added extras are meant to render the image more faithful to the text, to ensure that it mirrors the tone of the poem, but illustrations inevitably include aspects which are not dictated by the words but are the result of the transposition from a textual to a visual medium. In Hunt’s image, one of these aspects is its most striking feature, although, interestingly, Tennyson does not comment on it: the physical characteristics of the Lady of Shalott. While Lancelot’s appearance is recounted in some detail in the poem, the heroine is merely described as having a ‘lovely face’.12  It is up to the illustrator, then, to fill in these textual gaps and uncertainties.

Even when they attempt to follow a reflective model, then, illustrations never simply reproduce the words. In some cases, they can actively contradict them. In December 1862 this picture appeared in the illustrated magazine, London Society (Figure 5).
5. A. Claxton, ‘The Young Lady’s New Year’s Dream’
Entitled ‘The Young Lady’s New Year’s Dream’, the picture attempts to recreate the temporality and narrative of the accompanying poem, but in a specifically visual way. Victorian spectators would have been familiar with the pictorial motif of the dream or fantasy sequence. It was used as a way of signifying the inner thoughts, feelings or workings of the imagination, allowing images to depict what they were conventionally unable to show. The viewer here is encouraged to make the appropriate connection between the lady, dressed up in all her finery and asleep at her dressing table, and what she is dreaming of: an evening full of dancing and flirting with an impressive array of moustachioed young men. As we focus on the scene, the narrative sequence becomes apparent. In the top left the heroine is preparing for the ball and when she arrives a queue of men wait on her, but she only has eyes for one, the handsome hero at the front of the queue, whose face is duplicated in the centre of the image and recedes into the depths of the picture space. The heroine sits on the stairs with him in the top right and dances with him underneath. At the end of the evening, he places her shawl on her shoulders and hands her into her carriage.

Despite its initial chaotic appearance, then, this image comes to signify in a linear way. And for those who fail to decipher the visual clues alone, there is the accompanying verse. The reader here moves between the visual and textual version of events, supplementing the information provided by the one with the information in the other. The narrative voice is that of the lady who is dreaming of the events of the new year’s ball that she is about to attend: the splendid gown she will wear, the admiring glances she will receive, and the wonderful Lieutenant Joyce, who has ‘such whiskers’ and ‘such a voice’.13 

But the poem presents another version of the night’s events, one that is starkly at odds with the romantic dream shown in the picture. The vision of the love-struck girl, caught up in the excitement of the dance and the attention of her dashing hero, is qualified in the verse by her ruminations on just how suitable her dancing partner is:

I wonder what his income is?
I think he said he kept a carriage.
That doesn’t look so much amiss;
Yet he’s too poor, he says, for marriage.

While the heroine in the picture closes her eyes and dreams of her would-be lover, the heroine of the poem has her eyes wide open when it comes to men and marriage:

How sweetly, when ‘tis time to shawl,
In putting on one’s cloak he lingers;
And bids ‘Good night’ with just a small,
Wee, tiny pressure of one’s fingers;
Or takes one out upon his arm,
To see one safely to the carriage.
Oh dear! his manners have a charm –
Which might, alas! be lost by marriage.

Yes! that’s the trouble! Charming men,
The best of partners where there’s dancing,
Are but indifferent partners when
Marriage has settled our romancing.

Viewed as distinct entities, the picture and poem show only one side of the story. Viewed together, they come to represent the two competing value systems that troubled Victorian society: the romantic ideal of love and marriage on the one hand, and the practical reality and financial considerations that underpinned it on the other. The innocence of the picture disappears in the cynical outpourings of the text, while these outpourings are themselves negated in the idealism of the image.

This pictorial dream sequence, while interacting with the text in complex ways, is not simply reflective of it or dependent on it for its meanings. It is not a mirror image precisely because it is an image. Although illustration is intimately connected to the text and might even attempt to replicate its structures, it is not bound by textual conventions or meanings. On the contrary, an analysis of the images in DMVI suggests the very difference of illustration, the fact that it generates its own meanings in the pictorial conventions and characteristics that distinguish it from a text. These conventions can be seen in the supplementary material the database contains, the images of woodblocks and artist’s proofs with corrections, all of which suggest the specific design processes that went into making an illustration in the mid-nineteenth century. They can be seen, too, in the application of Zoomify, a tool which enables the user to magnify aspects of each picture.14  With its focus on the lines of the engraving, Zoomify serves as a reminder that there was more than one pair of hands involved in producing Victorian illustrations: they are the product not just of the artist but also of the wood engraver, who would cut away the white parts of the block, leaving the parts to be inked in relief.

The process of wood engraving emphasises that illustration is part of an artistic as well as a literary tradition. Indeed, the specific characteristics of this artistic tradition become apparent when one searches the database in terms of the iconographic features of the images. DMVI’s iconographic browse function provides a way of retrieving relevant illustrations in terms of content and subject matter by enabling the user to drill through the data, narrowing down and mixing terms in order to access the pictures. A search for illustrations of governesses, for example, can be conducted by clicking on ‘people’ then ‘jobs and roles’ then the subcategory of ‘professions’. Keywording the picture in this way has the benefit of allowing the image to be described using multiple terms, which anticipate the needs of the user and marry these needs with the nineteenth-century context of the visual material. Thus, a depiction of a family that we might today describe as ‘working class’, but a nineteenth-century spectator might have seen as ‘middle class’, can be marked up as both, so that a user entering either term would retrieve the image. While the iconographic search mechanism is influenced by the cultural context of the keyworder,15  it also works to expose the historical and aesthetic emphases and concerns of the images. The shared features and stylistic devices in images which depict diverse texts suggest that, like a text, an illustration is a ‘tissue of quotations’.16  A search for ‘windows’ and ‘kneeling’, for example, brings up several images that employ the same pose: a figure kneels (sometimes in prayer) in front of a window through which light pours (figures 6-9).
9. E. H. Wehnert, ‘As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon’

8. J. E. Millais, ‘Irené’

7. M. J. Lawless, ‘The Lady Witch’

6. H..H. Armstead, ‘Evening Hymn’
Such pictures refer, even if unconsciously, to medieval and Renaissance devotional art, where they indicate a moment of divine revelation. In the context of Victorian illustration, they expose the fact that images always allude to other images: they are interpictorial.17 

The relationship that illustration puts into play, therefore, does not simply consist of that between the specific text and image. Victorian artists seem well aware of this interpictoriality. In one of his letters, the artist George du Maurier refers to an illustration of a bedside scene that he had recently sent to the illustrated magazine, Once a Week: ‘Everybody has brought out bedside scenes, Millais two within the last six months, and I make bold to say that mine if well engraved will smash them all.’18  What du Maurier describes here is a rivalry between illustrators in terms of the common iconography of the images; the specificity of the texts they are illustrating is of secondary significance. Du Maurier’s letter was written in January 1861. The following month the scene appeared as the illustration to a short poem, ‘A Life Story’, which shows two former lovers reunited at the deathbed of the man.19  Du Maurier seems to have been right in his assertion that his picture would ‘smash them all’. Just a few months later, he was commissioned to produce yet another bedside scene for the same magazine.20  By 1862 the trend for such pictures does not appear to have abated. DMVI contains 29 bedside scenes, many of which bear a resemblance to du Maurier’s, and over half of these show deathbeds.

Even if one examines the output of a single illustrator, one can see the extent to which designs and motifs are copied from one picture to the next, regardless of the text being illustrated. John Everett Millais, for example, was very fond of picturing figures, usually women, sitting with a side profile to the viewer (Figures 10-13).
13. J. E. Millais, ‘Lady Mason after her Confession’

12. J. E. Millais, ‘There was sorrow in her heart, and deep thought in her mind’

11. J. E. Millais, ‘Mistress and Maid’

10. J. E. Millais, in ‘Anglers of the Dove’
This practice of using the same artistic devices in illustrations of different works implies that the relation between word and image in Victorian illustration is not as unified as is sometimes implied, and, moreover, that the text might not be as influential in determining the features of the picture as the aesthetic context or artistic agenda.

Or, indeed, the cultural context. The relatively small and uniform corpus of material in DMVI enabled us to develop the classification for the iconographic search by a prior analysis of the images rather than fitting the illustrations into preconceived categories. The result is that the illustrations reveal a preoccupation with issues that dominated the time, such as domesticity, industrialisation, the rural and the urban. It is no wonder that it was precisely the cultural and social significance of illustration that was recognised by Walter Crane. Indeed, Crane’s proposition that illustration is the ‘hand-glass’ that shows Victorian life in all its minutiae might explain why mid-nineteenth-century illustration has frequently been isolated from its generic context and viewed as documentary evidence of the period in which it was produced. This mode of viewing illustration is particularly tempting in the case of images such as those by Millais, which are often set in the Victorian world and depict figures, events and customs that are part of that world. These illustrations, for example, have often been used by costume historians as indicators of Victorian fashion. In fact, Anthony Trollope only became reconciled to one of Millais’ designs for his novel Framley Parsonage when he saw the dress that the protagonist was wearing in the illustration in ‘real’ life.21 

Illustrations, like any other images or texts, are firmly entrenched in their cultural moment. This immersion can take a literal form, where the illustrations depict the physical world around them, its fashion, habits, and setting; or, as ‘The Young Lady’s New Year’s Dream’ demonstrates, illustrations can display social values: class positions, gender roles, and so on. However, it does not follow that illustrations simply mirror or replicate this world. What the reflective model excludes is the fact that the relation between illustration and culture is precisely that: a relation, a two-way process, where illustration has the potential to constitute the Victorian world and its values rather than mirroring the way things are. It is not inconceivable, for instance, that Trollope saw Millais’ offending dress in real life because it had been copied by a dressmaker from his picture.

The growth of wood engraving, which allowed more illustrations to be printed more economically, meant that such a dominant visual mode could not fail to influence its cultural context. This was recognised by contemporary critics, who wrote of the potential of illustration for constructing and subverting ideologies and values. When The Illustrated London News first appeared in 1842 the opening address celebrated the progress of illustrative art, which had made the publication of this newspaper possible: ‘there is now no staying the advance of this art into all the departments of our social system’. Amongst the working classes, in particular, illustration was seen to have an instructive function, being ‘admirably developed for the general improvement of the human race’.22  This opinion was supported later in the century by the London Review, which regarded illustrated books as a ‘distinctive feature of the age’ that testified to the ‘advanced condition of our country’.23  Both the Illustrated London News and the London Review suggest that illustration is far more than reflective: it actually enforces cultural values. In the case of the Illustrated London News, illustrations have an ‘instructive principle’,24  while the London Review sees this principle as leading to the ascendancy of Christian morality. In both of these accounts, too, illustration is of national, even imperial, significance. The Illustrated London News sees it spreading, like steam power, through the empire, while for the London Review it is no less than the condition of Britain and her colonies that is at stake in the publication of illustrated books.

The construction of national values can be seen at the level of individual illustrations. This picture from the database illustrates a poem by Thomas Hood describing the opening of the International Exhibition in London in 1862, which displayed the work of thirty-seven countries, a significant number of which were British colonies (figure 14). In the central figure of Britannia, who is honoured by animals and figures representing the continents, the image constructs a sense of national identity, forging the relations between Britain and the rest of the world. The illustration is thus a potent symbol of imperial progress, its interpictoriality exemplified in the iconic figure of Britannia, who had appeared just two months before in the same magazine, London Society, in a comic illustration that depicted the invasion of spring fashions into Britain (figure 15).
15. F. Claxton, 'March: Ye Spring Fashions'

14. W. Harvey, 'England's Welcome. May Day, 1862'
The Britannia in ‘England’s Welcome’ might be more sombre, and more fully clothed, than the crinolined figure standing on the coast of England awaiting the latest shipment of patterns, hats and bonnets from France, but she is part of the same visual tradition. Indeed, this illustration privileges visuality: in its reference to the objects from around the world that will be displayed in the exhibition; its position in an artistic tradition of representing the continents and personifying geographic locations, and even in the bust of Prince Albert, who had played a significant part in the organisation of the exhibition, but had died in December 1861. Hood’s poem refers to his untimely death and Queen Victoria’s grief:

And She – the Lady of my Land –
Sits sorrowing – nor can bear her part
In this great triumph, which He planned
For Skill – for Industry – for Art!25 

The illustration, however, tells a story about nation, empire and art that is, to a certain extent, distinct from the poem. As it does so, it actively constructs the meanings that surrounded the International Exhibition. Moreover, the ideological significance of the picture is generated as much by what is absent as what is present. The placid and welcoming Britannia who greets her foreign worshippers, including the female representative of Africa, has presumably forgotten the bitter battles in the 1850s to crush African insurgents, while the presence of the figure of North America both hides and highlights national fractures rather than unions. The American Civil war had itself impacted on the number of participating exhibitors.

The construction of DMVI and the new research questions that it generates suggests that the dynamics of individual images like ‘England’s Welcome’ need to be re-viewed alongside the meanings of illustration as a genre. The database’s search mechanisms and the wealth of material it contains are tools that might enable such a review, whether this analysis focuses on the status of illustration as an artistic form, the intricacies of the dialectic between word and image that it puts into play, or the relation between illustrative art and its aesthetic and cultural context. DMVI indicates how new technologies can function alongside scholarly work to illuminate the complexities of illustration. In this, the database forms part of a number of recent advances, including, of course, the launch of this online journal. By bringing together diverse approaches to illustration, JOIS urges the development of a discipline of Illustration Studies with its own methodologies, vocabularies and critical strategies, providing a space in which to reflect on the meanings and significance of this much-neglected mode of representation.



2 [John Holmes?], ‘Illustrated Books’, Quarterly Review 74 (June 1844): 167-99, p. 194.

3 [W.J. Linton], ‘Illustrative Art’, Westminster Review 51 (April-July 1849): 92-104, p. 92.

4 Walter Crane, Of the Decorative Illustration of Books Old and New (1896; London: Bracken, 1984) p. 14.

5 William Holman Hunt, Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, 2 vols (London: Chapman and Hall, 1913), II, 95.

6 Thomas Gray, ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’, The Poems of Thomas Gray, William Collins and Oliver Goldsmith, ed. by Roger Lonsdale (London: Longmans, 1969), p. 138, line 117.

7 [Holmes?], ‘Illustrated Books’ p. 196.

8 John Ruskin to Alfred Tennyson, 24 July 1857, The Works of John Ruskin, ed. by E.T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, 39 vols (London: George Allen, 1903-12), XXXVI, 265.

9 Hunt, Pre-Raphaelitism, II, 95.

10 Alfred Tennyson, ‘The Lady of Shalott’, The Poems of Tennyson, ed. by Christopher Ricks (London: Longmans, 1969), p. 359, lines 114-17.

11 Hunt, Pre-Raphaelitism, p. 95.

12 ‘The Lady of Shalott’, line 169, Tennyson, Poems (1969), p. 361.

13 Anon., ‘The Young Lady’s New Year’s Dream’, London Society 2 (Christmas 1862), 91-92.


15 For an analysis of these issues, see Julia Thomas, ‘Getting the Picture: Word and Image in the Digital Archive’, European Journal of English Studies 11 (August 2007), 193-206.

16 Roland Barthes, ‘The Death of the Author’, Image, Music, Text, trans. by Stephen Heath (1968; London: Fontana, 1977) p. 146.

17 I am using the term ‘interpictorial’ as opposed to ‘intertextual’ to stress the visual specificity of the referentiality of images.

18 The Young George du Maurier; a Selection of his Letters, 1860-67, ed. by Daphne du Maurier (New York: Doubleday, 1952), p. 29.

19 Mara, ‘A Life Story’, Once a Week, 4 (2 February 1861), 165.

20 This was to accompany Arthur J. Munby, ‘On her Death-Bed. A Lullaby’, Once a Week, 4 (25 May 1861), 603.

21 Anthony Trollope to George Smith, 21 July 1860, The Letters of Anthony Trollope, ed. by N. John Hall, 2 vols paginated as one (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1983), I, 111.

22 ‘Our Address’, Illustrated London News, 1 (14 May 1842).

23 ‘Illustrated Works’, London Review 11 (January 1859), 474-92, p. 475.

24 ‘Our Address’, Illustrated London News, I.

25 Thomas Hood, ‘England’s Welcome. May-Day Anno Domini 1862’, London Society, 1 (May 1862), 348–49, p. 349.



Citing this article:
Thomas, Julia. “Reflections on Illustration: the Database of Mid-Victorian Wood-Engraved Illustration (DMVI).” Journal of Illustration Studies (December 2007). 19 Dec 2018. <>