Hablot Knight Browne and E. Taylor
After Rachel Ray came to be published without previous serialisation and therefore without illustrations, the collaboration between Millais and Trollope was not resumed in the next novel, Can You Forgive Her? The reason lay partly in Millais’ unwillingness to take time away from his lucrative painting, and partly in the publisher’s desire for economy. As early as the Moxon Tennyson Millais received £25 per drawing. By contrast, Miss Taylor, who was to do the latter half of Can You Forgive Her?, would receive five guineas. In any case, when the first shilling part of Can You Forgive Her? appeared in January 1864 the illustrations were by Hablot Knight Browne (1815–82). ‘Phiz’, as Browne was better known, had begun his long collaboration with Dickens in 1836 when he became the illustrator of Pickwick after the suicide of Robert Seymour. Browne played a considerable role in fixing in the reading public’s mind many of Dickens’ celebrated characters. Particularly adept at comic characters, Phiz was essentially a caricaturist and a fine one (much as some may prefer his more ‘serious’ work, especially the later ‘dark plates’). For a time it was the fashion for critics to belittle his work as inferior to Cruikshank’s, but one can argue that Browne was as effective an illustrator as the older artist, at least as far as collaboration with Dickens was concerned.
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