On the Original Illustrations of Trollope's Fiction

Can You Forgive Her?

Written 1863 (16 August - 1864 (28 April)
Serialized 1864 (January) to 1865 (August), Monthly Shilling Parts
20 Full-Page Illustrations and (possibly) 20 Rubrics for the 20 Parts of Volume I Habl˘t Browne (Phiz)
20 Full-Page Illustrations and (possibly) 20 Rubrics for the 20 Parts of Volume II by Miss E Taylor
Published as a book 1864 (Volume I, September), 1865 (Volume II, July) Chapman and Hall

    Volume I (all by Phiz)


  1. 'The Balcony at Basle'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, Frontispiece. Reprinted Hennessey, p. 297:

    Habl˘t Browne (Phiz), The Balcony at Basle"


    Very effective piece of line drawing. We see George and Alice Vavasour by the water's edge on the balcony; it is a pivotal moment in the novel. The faces are alive with feeling which is psychologically ambiguous, calm, quiet, intent. The mood is one of languor and dream.

  2. '"Would you mind shutting the window?"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 10. The scene as depicted literally repeats some of the gestures in the scene, but the piteous look on the old woman's face and the disdainful calm on the young woman's is not at all appropriate to Alice Vavasour's vexation or her aunt Lady Macleod's peremptory indignation and demands. As a drawing of figures, it's accurate. Alice is given dark hair.

  3. '"Sometimes you drive me to hard". Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 26. This is laughably wrong. Kate is made lachrymose and disdainful, while Alice looks lifeless. Phiz does not seem to have understood the pyschology of the serious scenes in the novel at all.

  4. '"Peace be to His Manes"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 60. This one is supposed to be funny. The widow looks really grief-striken; she is made large and still. The maid has a certain living curiosity in her face. Kate seems to be asking herself what she should do next. The idea of a inward disparity between gesture and psychology which has subtle yet parodic implications is beyond this artist.

  5. '"Captain Bellfield Proposes a Toast". Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 78. Reprinted and discussed Hall, AT and His Illustrators, pp. 93-94.

    This external scene, with its vivacity, comic gestures, and sense of energy which can be caught through lines adds life to Trollope's own scene.

    Habl˘t Browne (Phiz), "Captain Bellfield Proposes a Toast"


  6. '"If it were your friend what advise would you give me?"' Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 100 .

    Another one within Phiz's range as the outward gesture does reflect the inward reality of the scene. There is a nobility in John Grey as he speaks (though the male figure's face is made too old, too many lines given)l there is an appropriate dullness in Alice's face.


  7. '"I'm as round as your hat, and as square as your elbow; I am"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 112.

    Phiz's art cannot accommodate the seriousness of Trollope's depiction of Grimes with its sardonic yet realistic humour; Grimes becomes a kind of mild silly-smiling caricature of a round man. This does for Cheesacre, not for grasping practical and ruthless nature of Trollope's slightly cringing campaign manager as he explains himself to George Vavasour. Scruby too much the gentleman and too old. George maintains the beard from the frontispiece.


  8. '"Mrs Greenhow, look at that"". Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 121. This does not come off. The widow looks like she is holding marbles in her mouth; her eyes are closed. Cheeseacre looks detached, relaxed. Not comic.

  9. 'Edgehill'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 148. Reprinted and discussed Hall, AT and His Illustrators, pp. 96-98:

    Habl˘t Browne (Phiz), "Edgehill", Can You Forgive Her?

    This is the second hunting scene (of four in all Trollope's novels); it constitutes one of the two most frequently-reprinted of the original illustrations to Trollope's novels (for the other, see Annotated Commentary I, 'Monkton Grange' by Millais for Orley Farm). As with Millais', it is attractive, filled with energy, verve. It is more successful than Millais', if a sense of movement is what's wanted. As said above, the attention paid to such a piece belies the reality and nature of Trollope's novels centrally, of the gist of their stories and characters.


  10. '"Arabella Greenow, will you be that woman?" Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 184.

    This depiction of Mr Cheesacre asking Mrs Greenow to marry him has a delicacy of approach in the lines given Mr Cheesacre's face. The widow sits on a couch and appears to be barely paying any attention to him at all. Again it's not bad because the outward gesture can stand for the inward reality.


  11. '"Baker, you must put Dandy on the bar"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 194.

    This elegant depiction of Lady Glencora's carriage and beautiful horses strikes the note of luxury and animal life wanted. The problem is Lady Glen's face is without life.


  12. '"Mr Palliser, that was a cannon"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 209.

    Again Phiz seeks the note of luxury, of elegance, of wealth in the clothes, the depiction of the billard table. We have a crowd; a man stands on the side in earnest talk with a female who seems to be coyly looking within herself.


  13. '"The most self-willed young woman I ever met in my life"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 242. Reprinted Trollopiana, 27, p. 29.

    This has the same problem the earlier depiction of Alice versus an older woman has: the older woman becomes a comic caricature who looks sad and bewildered, not at all an oppresive figure. Alice appears to be quietly thinking to herself. Phiz's art cannot accommodate complex psychology of resentment, domineering, without exaggeration, and exaggeration is what Trollope didn't want.


  14. "The Priory Runs". Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 246. This one deserves to be better known; it is an instance where Phiz reaches for and obtains through lines the psychological picturesque. The lovely playful depiction of the greenery, the dissolving gothic arch provide an appropriate frame for the blond young woman who looks down at the ground with a resentful dismayed expression. Alice's larger figure comforting her looks forward to Mary Ellen Edwards' depiction of a similar scene between Julia, Lady Ongar and Florence Burton at the close of The Claverings (see Annotated Commentary 3, 'Lady Ongar and Florence' and my Trollope on the Net, Chapter 5.

  15. 'Burgo Fitzgerald'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 262. Reprinted and discussed Hall, AT and His Illustrators, pp. 91-93. Also reprinted Hennessey, p. 253; the frontispiece to my Trollope on the Net:

    Habl˘t Browne (Phiz), Can You Forgive Her?

    Once again the outward gestures really mirror the inward realities of the scene -- as do the costumes. However, this does not account for the reality that this is arguably one of the best of the original illustrations of Trollope's novels. As with Millais's 'Lady Mason after her Confession' for Orley Farm and Stone's 'Trevelyan at Casalunga' for He Knew He Was Right (see Annotated Commentaries 1 and 3), the artist has himself entered the inner reality of the participants in ways that are closely analogous to Trollope's own in his novels. See Trollope on the Net, Chapter 6.


  16. 'Swindale Fell'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 284:

    Habl˘t Browne (Phiz), "Swindale Fell"

    This has all the graces and attempt at inward interest of 'Priory Ruins', but the deep-musing nature of Trollope's use of inner light and the two women intent upon letters and memory cannot be accommodated in the distanced line flat line drawing with small figures. See my discussion in Trollope on the Net, Chapter 6.


  17. '"I have heard -- said Burgo"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 300.

    This scene of a group of men around the table is awkward and has no central mood. The Burgo figure looks pettily annoyed; Cosimo Monk looks startled in a comic way; one male with long moustaches has a pained expression on his face. Phiz does not know what to do with such a complicated depiction of psychologies interacting through social gestures.


  18. '"Then -- then -- then let her come to me"' Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 330.

    John Grey now too young and too theatrically melancholy; Mr Vavasour too graceful and conventional a figure. Phiz is trying for the gesture of loyalty amid companionship between two men.


  19. '"So you've come back, have you?" -- said the Squire'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 351. This one does not come off at all. Squire Vavasour looks weak and sadly dismayed, not angry, not indignant. There's no energy here. Goerge is expressionless, overshadowed by his hat. Kate looks away, a kind of pinhead on a cape.

  20. '"Dear Greenhow! dear Husband!"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 368. This one is occasionally reprinted in studies of book illustrations and Victorian comic depictions of social life, though not in Trollope studies.

    It is effective. Phiz has a feel for Captain Bellfield as a devil- may-care scamp; he is depcited a man in his thirties, a bit tired, but looking at Mrs Greenow with a kind of gallant fondness and animation. Behind the couch on which Mrs Greenow and the Captain sit, we see Kate conversing (from the side) with a slightly dismayed Cheesacre. The comic expression seems right. The irony is Mrs Greenow is lamenting over her husband's picture. But for his money none of this would take place. She's enjoying it.


    Volume II (all by Miss E. Taylor)


  21. 'Great Jove'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 382. Reprinted and discussed Hall, AT and His Illustrators, pp. 98-99.

    It's a match in mood and significance for Millais's 'The Board' (see above, The Small House at Allington). It is good because it too captures the banality and indifference of everyday life in Parliament. The man who holds the position and wears the clothes others so want sits and sleeps; others talk and argue and kill time as they can. There is reality in the psychology of the faces.


  22. "Friendships will not come by ordering", said Lady Glendora'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 388. Miss Taylor's Lady Glen is much larger, rounder, impressive; unfortunately, the expression on her face isone of silent annoyance instead of poignant resentment as she tells the simple truth.

  23. '"I asked you for a kiss"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 426. The psychology of George's face all wrong. He does not look frightening, only distressed. He leans over as if to make an impression, and Alice sews on as if she feels nothing but a slight upset. The depiction of brutal violence is not found in any of the illustrations to Trollope's novels -- though it happens frequently enough in his stories.

  24. 'Mr Cheesacre disturbed'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 435. In her rounded psychological in-depth style, Miss Taylor reaches for the same mood and sources of comedy we find in '"Dear Greenhow! dear Husband!"'. Perhaps the thinner figures are more effective; Miss Taylor's faces are not as alive; her Captain Bellfield is too sentimentally engaged around the eyes.

  25. '"All right,", said Burgo, as he thrust the money into his breast pocket'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 449. Lady Monk is well done; her expression of interest is just right. The figure is wholly believably dressed. She looks slightly irritated yet expectant. The problem is with Burgo: our insouciant rake has turned into a young plump blond man with a sentimental expression on his curiously feminine face. right.

  26. 'Mr Bott on the watch'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 459. This is not bad; the viewer's attention is fixed on the darker fully detailed figure of Bott seeming looking at a couple slightly sketched in the distance while he stands very close to Lady Glen seen from the bakkc with Burgo making an intent appeal as they sit with their faces and upper bodies facing and close to one another. Here Burgo's face is hard.

  27. 'The Last of the old Squire'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 484. A death scene. The old man looks like a real old man who has just sunk back; Kate looks weary as she watches. It is dark, gloomy, still.

  28. 'Kate'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 517. Reprinted and discussed in Deborah Denenholz Morse's Women in Trollope's Palliser's Novels, pp. 35-37:>

    Miss E. Taylor, "Kate"

    This, 'Lady Glencora' and 'Ailce' are discussed in my Trollope on the Net, Chapter 6, as effective deeply-felt visualisations of women who are being deprived of something deeply, privately-meaningful to themselves, women in reverie. Each is detailed appropriately and the poses are set up in parallel analogies. The one of Kate is unusual for showing a woman just after brutal violence, calming down.

  29. 'Lady Glencora'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 530. Reprinted and discussed in Hall AT and His Illustrators, p 100-1; Morse, Women in Trollope's Palliser's Novels, pp. 100-4:

    Miss E. Taylor, "Lady Glencora". Can You Forgive Her?

    On this: Miss Taylor has been careful to follow Trollope's detailed visualisation of Lady Glen at the moment she has to face her half-spontaneous decision, which was to stay with Plantagenet and safety. It may be compared with Millais's depiction of Laura Kennedy in Phineas Finn, '"So she burned the morsel of paper"' (see Annotated Commentary 3). Bachelard's commentary on reveries in front of fireplaces is also appropriate for understanding why these visualisations take the kind of mood and show the kind of details we see here.


  30. '"Before God, my first wish is to free you from the misfortune I have brought on you"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 536. Reprinted and discussed in Morse, Women in Trollope's Palliser's Novels, pp. 100-4. This emphasis on Lady Glen's guilt for not having become pregnant, for loving Burgo and not the very handsome young lord with his kind gravity and intelligence Miss Taylor has depicted is revealing of how the average woman of Trollope's era would have seen Lady Glen's predicament. They took her childlessness seriously; she was not fulfilling her duty to him. I find this illustration touching.

  31. 'She managed to carry herself with some dignity'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 576. Again Miss Taylor has given Trollope's women real dignity, intelligence on their faces. Alice is made sombre, yet not theatrical. It is just right for the text.

  32. '"A sniff of the rocks and valleys"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 581.

    Miss Taylor can capture Captain Bellfield's nervousness, but not his rakish quality. There is something emasculated about the depiction of his body; it is enfeebled. (The Trollope Society edition has misplaced this in a chapter on Grey and Alice.)


  33. '"I wonder when you're going to pay me what you owe me, Lieutenant Belfield". Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 596. My comment: again, except for the lakc of savoir-faire and nonchalance in Bellfield (who looks merely anxious), and the still dignity of Mrs Greenow's face (an aspect of this idyllic style), the picture is not bad. It does put Cheesacre's indignation to the fore.

  34. 'Lady Glencora at Baden'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 627:

    Miss E. Taylor, "Lady Glencora at Baden"

    This one should be better known; it is a superb depiction of an important moment in Lady Glen's experience. It is alive with tension, well drawn. There's a grim shadow around Lady Glen's face at the table which suggests the consequences of the adventures she seeks. It is really a piece of unfair prejudice which dismisses Miss Taylor as inadequate; it is not even anti-feminism. She is dismissed because she is unknown, has no name, is nobody.


  35. 'Alice'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition.f Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 644:

    Miss E. Taylor, "Alice"

    I discuss this one at length in Trollope on the Net, Chapter 6; I think interesting. Its in-depth psychological musing, the effective, beauty, and suggestiveness of the clothing, the repressed sexuality, the longing, the loss are all superb. It is a third with 'Kate' and 'Lady Glencora' above: the ladies all in parallel positions. No one but a woman could understand what was in the woman's mind; Millais doesn't come near it nor Francis Montague Holl in their depictions of Lucy Robarts and Madame Marie Goesler.


  36. '"Oh George", she said, "you won't do that!"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 656.

    On the other hand, this hopelessly sentimentalised depiction of a fallen women is hilarious. 'Jane' piously holds her hands together as if in prayer; she is all primness. He points sternly to the money on the table. The lesson against sex is made clear. George is well-drawn, and the disposition of the figures projects the nadir mood of the scene.


  37. 'How am I to thank you for forgiving me?"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 689. Reprinted and discussed in Morse, Women in Trollope's Palliser's Novels, pp. 31-33.

    We return to the balcony scene of the frontispiece; Alice is now with Grey instead of George. I find the mood and depiction of this equally successful: we have exchanged languor for earnestness. The two people are now in communication, not dreaming apart.


  38. '"Good night, Mr Palliser"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 700.

    Our last glimpse of Burgo from the back; we see Plantagenet extend his hand in fellowship. The spirit of the scene is right if Plantagenet is suddenly much older, and Burgo much smaller than in the previous pictures. The dark wood is appropriate; this is not a comic book at its core.


  39. 'Alice and Her Bridesmaids'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 724. Reprinted and discussed in Morse, Women in Trollope's Palliser's Novels, pp. 31-33.

    I find these kinds of scenes as depicted in the novels of the period hopelessly false; the turn away from reality to flowerbuds and demur expressions on flat figures all perched along an elegant stairway is striking.


  40. '"Yes, my bonny boy, -- you have made it right for me"'. Source: 1989 Trollope Society edition of Can You Forgive Her?, facing p. 736. Lady Glen's existence is now justified. This is not as patently false as the one above. The women have some depth of body; the looks on the faces have a certain vividness. A great deal of effort has been expended on making the room and furniture real.

Home
Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated: 17 February 2004