Reading Victorian Illustration, 1855–1875: Spoils of the Lumber Room, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Reading Victorian Illustration, 1855–1875

Spoils of the Lumber Room, 1st Edition

By Paul Goldman

Edited by Simon Cooke


240 pages

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In a reevaluation of that period in Victorian illustration known as 'The Sixties,' a distinguished group of international scholars consider the impact of illustration on the act of reading; its capacity to reflect, construct, critique and challenge its audience's values; its response to older graphic traditions; and its assimilation of foreign influences. While focused on the years 1855 to 1875, the essays take up issues related to the earlier part of the nineteenth century and look forward to subsequent developments in illustration. The contributors examine significant figures such as Ford Madox Brown, Frederick Sandys, John Everett Millais, George John Pinwell, and Hablot Knight Browne in connection with the illustrated magazine, the mid-Victorian gift book, and changing visual responses to the novels of Dickens. Engaging with a number of theories and critical debates, the collection offers a detailed and provocative analysis of the nature of illustration: its production, consumption, and place within the broader contexts of mid-Victorian culture.


'A remarkable collection of essays on a fascinating and important subject: how illustrations in mid-Victorian books and magazines responded both to contemporary cultural values and to technological change and, by doing so, helped to express and shape the tastes of the reading public.' Simon Eliot, University of London, UK '… [Goldman] underlines the importance of understanding illustrative techniques, bringing engravers out of the shadows, and appreciating the scope of nineteenth-century illustrations in non-literary texts such as travel narratives, natural history, religious texts, and anatomy books.' NBOL-19 '[These essays are] a fascinating and diverse mix…' CILIP Rare Books Newsletter ’Reading Victorian Illustration is a welcome and timely call for more substantive and sustained engagement with this archive and art form, and the essays it contains make an important contribution to that effort.’ Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies ’No one should comment on Victorian illustrated works hereafter without first studying Paul Goldman and Simon Cooke's Reading Victorian Illustration, 1855-1874. It significantly advances the field of illustration studies. Whether exemplifying the exquisite delicacy of wood engraving (nobody should talk about "crude woodcuts" hereafter without acknowledging how sensitive they could be) or meditating on corpses and time in these pictures, the contributors to this volume know their subjects and take readers far beyond the customary and largely amateur appreciations of Victorian illustration penned mainly by collectors and literature students. The many reproductions bring out the different effects artists and engravers achieved, and make visible the shift from early gestural and caricatural images to mid-Victorian romantic and realistic ones. The richness of these essays and demonstrations vastly exceeds the price of admission.’ Robert L. Patten, Rice University, USA, and University of London, UK 'Students, scholars, amat

About the Author/Editor

Paul Goldman is Honorary Professor in the Department of English, Communication, and Philosophy at Cardiff University and Associate Fellow at the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, at the University of London, UK, and Simon Cooke, formerly of Birmingham University, is an independent scholar living in the UK.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature