The Mystery of Edwin Drood. London: Chapman and Hall, 1870
8vo (218 x 140mm.), FIRST EDITION IN BOOK FORM, portrait frontispiece and title-page vignette, 12 additional plates by Luke Fildes, 32pp. publisher's advertisement at end, original green cloth, Carter's first state of binding, blocked in blind and gilt, minor spotting and browning, hinges starting
A BRIGHT COPY.
Luke Fildes was the last in the long line of illustrators to bring to life Dickens words.
“Charles Collins, having sketched out the cover, found that he could no longer draw without weakening his health. Some other artist had to be found at once and Dickens went up to London in order to consult with Frederick Chapman. In the event he discovered a young artist, Like Fildes. Or, rather, it was John Everett Millais who found him for Dickens--the painter, who was staying at Gad's Hill Place, went into Dickens's study one morning and showed him the first issue of The Graphic. "I've got him! " he shouted and then pointed out to his host an illustration, "Houseless and Hungry", which Fildes had executed. It was exactly the kind of realistic and detailed examination of social misery which would have appealed to Dickens, and he wrote to the young artist asking to see other specimens of his work. These, too, proved satisfactory and so he gave him the commission, an extraordinary honour and indeed opportunity for so young an artist.” (Peter Ackroyd, Dickens, pp. 1056-7)
The day after the writer’s death The Graphic published a now famous image by Fildes, showing Dicken’s empty chair in his empty study. This illustration was reprinted across the world and eventually would inspire Vincent Van Gogh’s painting of The Yellow Chair.
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