Room 4: Maximilien Vox1933 Maximilien Vox – published by J. M. Dent and Sons
Now we have another colour illustration, this one by Maximilien Vox. Vox was a French artist who used a combination of line drawing and light pastel watercolour to visualize the scenes in the novel. The Art Deco movement was rife in France at the time of these illustrations and it is easy to see its influence in Vox’s use of pale colours, and the expressionless gazes of the characters facing away from the viewer’s perspective.
‘And by my treatment of the pictures I have tried to attune myself to an art which never stresses, records only the essential, draws rather than paints: an art which aims at grace and rhythm rather than at intensity of expression’
– Maximilien Vox on his Pride & Prejudice illustrations
In this interpretation of the famous letter scene, Mr Darcy is positioned below Elizabeth Bennet, as she appears to be ascending a staircase. This could represent how Elizabeth was feeling about Darcy at the time, as an individual who had mocked her family and prevented her sister from marrying Mr Bingley, as well as his cruelty towards Mr Wickham. Like Thomson and Brock, Vox illustrates Darcy tipping his hat to indicate his membership in polite society. Elizabeth, meanwhile, is wearing a light purple dress which, according to Color in Dress, an 1870 publication by George Audsley, expresses ‘gravity, sorrow and sadness’, which we might argue are Elizabeth’s feelings at the time of this encounter.