So far I’ve shared the illustrations by Phiz that accompanied the first six monthly instalment that appeared alongside the weekly parts. With the story finishing next week (just three days to go!), the end advertisement is not for the seventh monthly part, but instead for the complete volume, with 16 illustrations by Phiz. Here then, are the remaining drawings, courtesy as usual of Victorian Web. Rest assured there are no spoilers, I promise: in fact, what’s interesting is that there are no illustrations from the last three weeks; I can only assume this is the consequence of Dickens plowing ahead with his story while leaving everyone else, his poor illustrator included, trailing behind.
Anyway, the first picture is ‘The Double Recognition’, referring back (seems so long ago now) to Miss Pross’s discovery of her brother, back in the days when she was just a minor comic character instead of heroic vanquisher of she-devils.
Bearing in mind the illustrations recently provided by Ben, its interesting to see how decidedly unstout Miss Pross appears. Otherwise it’s a well-depicted illustration, Barsad’s back to us maintaining the intrigue and allowing for our focus to rest upon the reactions of Pross and Cruncher, while still recognising the importance of the figure they are looking at by his position in centre frame.
The next picture is ‘After the Sentence’ which shows Manette in full melodramatic pose:
I really like this one – if it weren’t so close to the end of the story I would vote for this one as a cover picture. Lucie is the stereotypical sacrificial virgin in white, Carton looks suitable dishevelled and manly while holding her (and simultaneously almost like a haunting devil come vampire – that’s a very exposed neck Lucie has there…), while down in the left-hand corner among the nonchalant French there is one in particular who, leaning against the pillar, recalls that earlier illustration of Carton way, way back in ‘Congratulations’ (month two). So what Phiz is doing here, I would humbly suggest, is showing the progress of Carton from disengaged rake on stage left to passionate hero on centre stage. Looking at this I’m dumbfounded how people can write off Phiz’s contributions to this story.
Though that’s not the last illustration Phiz draws for ATOTC, it is the last one taken chronologically from the plot: there is nothing depicting any of the later events. There is, however, one final drawing included and that is the frontispiece for the whole novel – and the image he chooses to sum up the story – Phiz’s last comment on A Tale of Two Cities? Why it’s Doctor Manette of course, ‘In the Bastille’: