Hugh Thomson Illustrations for Pride and Prejudice

Object name: Illustrations by Hugh Thomson for Pride and Prejudice

Object number: CHWJA:JAH237 – 71

Category: Objects

Description: A collection of 35 illustrations by Hugh Thomson, made up of three original pen and ink drawings and 32 printers test proof plate prints, made for for George Allen’s 1894 edition of Pride and Prejudice. They are signed by the artist and dated ’94 (1894).

Made: 1894

Context: Hugh Thomson was one of the most popular Victorian illustrators, and his lavishly illustrated edition of Pride and Prejudice for George Allen, known as The Peacock Edition, became one of the most collectible editions of any book ever produced.

As well as the lavish cover illustration, featuring a peacock perched on top of a sundial, Thomson also created over a hundred line drawings to illustrate the story, ranging from Darcy and Bingley visiting Meryton, to the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

This edition was not the first attempt to add illustrations to Austen’s novels, but with 160 illustrations (including headpieces, tailpieces and ornamental initials) it was the first to fully integrate them into the novel to bring the story to life.

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