lunes, 4 de noviembre de 2013

Article! Illustrating Pride and Prejudice - By Lady Hachi

Antonia, Hachi, is a wonderful Janeite with a complete passion for the world of illustration. She is funny and loves to share her love for Jane Austen to everyone she loves or meets (for example, her nice husband, always haunted by Jane :)). She has one of the most fantastic websites of Jane Austen in Spanish, specialized in illustrations. That is the reason, she writes this worthy article.  Do not forget to visit her website:

David Gilson in A Bibliography of Jane Austen [i]collects more than hundred artists and illustrators who have put their art into the service of Jane’s work, a number which has been growing since Gilson published his book. It would be and endless work to try to get everyone. Of course, it would be needed more knowledge than this Jane Austen fan have. Nevertheless, if I limit myself to the editions I have been collecting in the last couples of years, I would like to invite you to a small walk about some of the artists that, in several formats, have illustrated the main work of Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice[ii].
Deb Williams, in an interesting article[iii], published by the Jane Austen Society of Australia, makes a good summary of the first and main artist of the Janeite work, and she says how, differently to other writers who published later, like Dickens, the works of Jane Austen did not have any illustration, and it was not till half a century later, that we start to find illustrated works of her novels.
We will go on tiptoes with the illustrators of the XIX century, because they are better known (and more valued). It is more than probable that you all know the name of Hugh Thomson. Since George Allen published in 1894 his 160 drawings for Pride and Prejudice, they have not been stopped to be reprinted. You just have to take a look to the Spanish publishing market, and all the illustrations are his, first by Alba Editorial, and later by Alianza, using them for the editions of the novel. You surely will also know the surname Brock. The ink drawings and watercolors of the brothers Charles y Henry Brock[iv], had a deep acceptance and they have been reprinted till the XX century.
Maybe, the name of Chris Hammond [v](pen-name of Christiana Mary Demain Hammond, 1860-1900), is maybe unknown for some, and however, she illustrated in a marvelous way, three of the Jane Austen novels: Emma in 1898, Sense and Sensibility in 1899 and Pride and Prejudice in 1900.
So, if we leave these main examples, I will only do an exception among these artists of the XIX century, by talking about William C Cooke. He is one of the earliest artists, he is earlier than those who I have talked about before, and he is the only one which I posses his work. He made a series of 10 volumes for Macmillan, which had the Works of Jane Austen in 1892 (2 volumes for Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma y Mansfield Park and one for Northanger Abbey and Persuasion). It is a set of small volumes, with green cloth and golden ornaments. There are no many illustrations for each volume. The only one that I have, the volume II of Pride and Prejudice (a reprint of 1895) has hardly three illustrations, including the frontispiece. They are in black, white and grey tones, and in my opinion, they lack expression. We find an Elizabeth in several key points of the novel (reading Darcy’s letter, receiving the news of the Lydia’s elopement or being admonished by Lady Catherine) that shows a boring face more than other feeling. But it is fair to say, they have an “old taste” which gives certain charm to these illustrations.


All the illustrators that I have talked about till now, published in a moment in which every presentation of the book had a weight. They were years of luxury editions, which decorated the living rooms of rich people. As time went by, the editions were cheaper – even those with illustrations-, allowing that the books could get to a wider audience[vi], although they lost the elegant bindings. However, if we compare them to the paperback editions from our days, some of them still look like small treasures.
That is how we fin dan example in Lex de Renault. His work, or its publishing, is from the beginning of XX century. In 1908, Collin’s Clear-Type Press published, inside the series Collin’s Illustrated Classics, a small volume, in cloth or skin, reprinted in 1930, of his illustrations. Maybe they were older, because they do not look like modern. What we can clearly say is that, he was not lucky with his representations of Mr Bingley and Mr Darcy, who as we can see below, are not the good-looking gentlemen they should be. In some way, these illustrations look like those of William C. Cooke.


Let’s jump in time, till 1945, so we can find very different illustrations thanks to Robert Ball. Pride and Prejudice edition published by Doubleday, Doran & Company had a limited number of books (1000 numbered and signed copies), which had to be reprinted almost immediately, because the copy that I have looks from the same year and it is not numbered or signed. The volume, bigger than those small books, it has a light blue cloth, with golden ornaments (according to David Gilson’s description of the limited edition, it seems to be the same), having an angel in the cover over the letters P & P. Inside, we can see 10 illustrations at one-page and three in double page, all in color, as well as several drawings in black and white. The one-page watercolors shows different characters, in a highly formal way, like if they were posing for a picture; but one of Mr Bennet seems pretty nice and representative. In the same way, we can say Darcy could not be more proud and snooty than here.



Following with color illustrations, we find Philip Gough, who made the illustrations for Macdonald Illustrated Classics, starting with Emma in 1948. Pride and Prejudice came in 1951. The small volume has a cover in red, with a small golden etching in the side.
The illustrations by Philip Gough are stylized and with the influence of Rex Whistler[vii] (we will talk about him later), and they are ones of my favorite illustrations. Among other works, Gough illustrated for several covers some Georgette Heyer novels,  and for children’s stories, like Alice in Wonderland. Maybe for this, I personally think that the illustrations for Pride and Prejudice have certain charm from the fantasy of children’s stories.


Among the few illustrated editions of the novels in Spanish, we find one from 1956, published by Cumbre Publishing house, with illustrations from Jose Luis Florit, mostly in black and white, others with red tones, but all of them, quite mistaken about the clothes. If you do not know which book they belong, you would not relate them to the work of Jane Austen.


From 1976, it comes this wonderful edition, by Isabel Bishop and published by E. P. Dutton.

It is big, and this volume has yellow cloth with the silhouette of Jane Austen in the cover, protected with a box for a good conservation. It includes 31 full-page illustrations in black and white, among them, the highlight are not just the characters but the scenes. For example, look at these illustrations. I specially like the second one. It belongs to chapter XLVI, and it shows when Elizabeth receives the news of Lydia’s elopment. Darcy, with his arms in both sides, shows Lizzy’s angst.


We finish with Isabel Bishop in this walk through the illustrated world of Pride and Prejudice. But before finishing about the editions oif the novel, we cannot stop to talk about a young Spanish illustrator, whose talent we would love to see in a complete way. I am talking about Almudena Romero. In this blog  Pride and Prejudice 200 Hundred Years[viii] , we are enjoying her illustrations of the novel during this year and we want more!

Talking about another kind of material, we will start with the cover of the drama brochure of the novel, in 1936 in St. James Theatre, made by Rex Whistler. Maybe we can appreciate now a little bit of the style which had influence in Philip Gough. It is a very sweet cover, with pastel colours and an angel (with a bow). I do not think it fits the spirit of the book (not even in the scene it shows), but it has a great charm.

Finally, we will see the most modern versions of the novel, those done for the Comic World[ix]. In the last year, we have seen a true rise of the adaptations of the Austen’s books to the graphic novel. All have been adaptated, mostly  Pride and Prejudice.
Like I did with the most famous illustrators, I will not talk about the 2009 Marvel version, which have been edited into Spanish this year. It is the most known and reviewed, so I will focus in the lesser known comics.
In 2011 SelfMadeHero published a graphic novel, adapted by Ian Edginton and illustrated by Robert Deas. 

This is a version I certainly like for several facts, like for example, it rescues some parts from the original text, key moments. From the legendary: “It is a truth…” till Mr Darcy’s letter, or Mrs Gardiner’s letter to Elizabeth. And this is a way that people who has the comic, but has not read the book, to go to the adventure of Reading Jane Austen directly.

On the other hand, it does not delete characters, like Mr and Mrs Hurst, who were erased in certain movie versiones, and also in the Marvel one.
The drawing is sharp, with long faces some features, like the nose and the chin, very exagerated. It can be a shock in the beginning, depending on our tastes, and mine is closer to “manga” graphic novel, but you finally like it, because they are detailed in setting and scene composition, like Mr Darcy’s proposal which we can see below, with the characters, faced up, in each page:


A series that will be a complete delight to classic literature and comic lovers is, undoubtly, The Graphic Canon, which has three published volumes, between 2012 and 2013. 

These volumes are a collection of classic works for the comic world, from the Epic Saga by Gilgamesh, Shakespeare, Poe, Byron, Chorderlos de Laclos, Victor Hugo….Each volume has several stories and different writers – with different styles-, that illustrate a selected chapter of the work. In the volume two, we find Huxley King adapting the second episode of Pride and Prejudice. It is not the only surprise in this volume. It also features George Elliot, Brönte sisters, Mary Shelley…
In the prologue, Huxley sayss he is a great lover of Jane Austen’s novels and specially Pride and Prejudice and you can see it in her work. They are just eight pages, but made with a lot of care, with a lot of details: in the cloths of the dresses, walls or hair styles. My artwork is peculiarly pattern-heavy”, says the artist.

I said previously that I like prefer Japanese manga for comics, and that is why I have left this adaptation for the end, even if it is older than those reviewed before. Reiko Mochizuki made the manga version of Pride and Prejudice, whose original in Japanese was published in two volumes in 2009. After, it was translated and sold in Italy by Goen Publishing House:

As you can see, it is a version “full of sugar”, like a soap opera. They are published under the cathegory of “shojo” or “josei”, both terms are for manga for girls, the first one, and for adult women, the second one.
We will find big and bright eyes, romantic curls and beautiful gentlemen. Everything that reminds us to the famous Candy Candy. I know it is not for everybody, but I must confess that – without being one of the most respectful comics – it is one of my favorite comics.

It is not the only Austen novel adapted to the manga. Mochizuki also adapted Sense and Sensibility and  Yoko Hanabusa Emma, both of a volume each one. And it is just that our favorite writer reach everywhere. Even wher you do not expect to find her, and if not, let me tell you anecdote for finishing. As manga and anime are some of my passions, Lovely Complex, also known as LoveCom, is one of my favorite works. This manga series tells us the love story between a couple of students which are not common, a tall girl and a small boy, but full of sense of humour, and also, a lot of pride and prejudice (but take in considertation it is not an adaptation), but one day, I had the biggest surprise when, watching the anime version, I saw this image and I had to stop the image and laugh:

The main characters are in their English class, and yes, what are they studying? Please, look at the board: “It is a truth universally acknowledge…”…., if you like Jane Austen, the Universe will work against you so you can find her in the most unexpected places

[i] Dabid Gilson, A Bibliography of Jane Austen, Oxford University Press, 1982.

[ii] I have collected illustrated editions of Jane Austen, my favorite writer for years. The selection of illustrator has been done according to the material I have, so I can share it with other fans of Jane Austen. It is an arbritary selection and I do not want to make a summary of all the illustrators of Pride and Prejudice. Also, I do not have the qualifications or the art knowledge, so my opinions are just the point of view of a fan.

[iii] Deb Williams “Austen illustrated or, Jane Austen had no Phiz”,

[iv] About the art of the brothers Brock, read the detailed article by Cinthia García Soria “Austen Illustrator Henry and Charles Brock”,
[v] About Chris Hammond, read article by Laurel Ann “Jane Austen Illustrators: Chris Hammond” ,
[vi]  Jane Austen was the first British writer, after Dickens, that had all her Works published in the famous Everyman’s Library. See Deirde Gilbert “From Cover to Cover: Packaging Jane Austen from Egerton to Kindle”, published by JASNA:
Everyman’s Library nació en 1905, con el objetivo de poner al alcance de todas las clases sociales las principales obra de la literatura universal,'s_Library
[vii] See David Gilson, “Later publishing history, with illustrations”, Jane Austen in Context, edited by Janet Todd, p. 156.
[viii] . About Almudena Romero’s work, see her website
[ix] For more information about adaptations for the comic world, read the following article from El Sitio de Jane:

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