On the Original Illustrations of Trollope's Fiction

The Way We Live Now

Written 1873 (1 May - 22 December)
Serialized 1874 (February) - 1875 (September), Monthly Shilling Parts
Illustrated Lionel F. Fawkes
Published as a book 1875 (June), Chapman and Hall

Lionel G. Fawkes provided 40 full-page illustrations for The Way We Live Now. I have reproduced 16 with their accompanying captions. I follow them with excerpts from my discussion of the original illustrations to Trollope's novels (from Chapter 6 of Trollope on the Net).

  • Chapter 23: 'Yes; -- I'm a Baronet'

    Lionel G. Fawkes, "'In the meantime, what is your own property?'" , The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 26: Mrs Hurtle

    Lionel G. Fawkes, "'I have come again across the Atlantic on purpose to see you.'" , The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 37: The Board-Room

    Lionel G. Fawkes, "'The Board-Room.'" , The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 46: Roger Carbury and His Two Friends

    Lionel G. Fawkes, "'The Sands at Lowestoffe'" , The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 50: The Journey to Liverpool

    Lionel G. Fawkes, "'You, I think, are Miss Melmotte'" , The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 56: Father Barham visits London

    Lionel G. Fawkes, detail from "Father Barham" [Melmotte], The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 58: Mr Squeerum is employed

    Lionel G. Fawkes, detail from "Mr Squeercum in his office", The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 62: The Party

    Lionel G. Fawkes, "Mr Melmotte speculates", The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 69: Melmotte in Parliament

    Lionel G. Fawkes, "Melmotte in Parliament", The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 71: John Crumb falls into trouble

    Lionel G. Fawkes, Detail from "'Get up, you wiper!'" [Ruby Ruggles], The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 75: In Bruton Street

    Lionel G. Fawkes, Detail from "'I might as well see whether there is any sign of violence having been used.'", The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 77: Another Scene in Bruton Street

    Lionel G. Fawkes, Detail from "'Ah Ma'am-moiselle,' said Croll, 'you should oblige your fader.'" [Marie Melmotte], The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 77: Another Scene in Bruton Street

    Lionel G. Fawkes, Detail from "'Ah Ma'am-moiselle,' said Croll, 'you should oblige your fader.'" [Marie Melmotte], The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 82: Marie's Perseverance

    Lionel G. Fawkes, Detail from "He stood against a press in his chamber'" [Croll deserting], The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 88: The Wheel of Fortune

    Lionel G. Fawkes, Detail from "Lady Carbury clasped her hands together" [She is proposed to], The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 94: John Crumb's Victory

    Lionel G. Fawkes, Detail from "Mr Mixt or course made a speech" [Ruby as the "happy" bride], The Way We Live Now

  • Chapter 97: Mrs Hurtle's Fate

    Lionel G. Fawkes, "Then, hiding herself at the window, she watched him as he went along the street" [a parallel scene and illustration occurs in The Last Chronicle as Lily watches Johnny Eames walk away through a curtain window], The Way We Live Now

    From Ellen Moody, Trollope on the Net, Chapter 6:

    Trollope's illustrators all depict inward psychological journeys. They all also visualise many commonplace yet important and ordinary moments in life that can pass fleetingly and leave no obvious trace. In many of these (too many to distinguish), Trollope's characters are responding to some conception they have within themselves of an irretrievable damage or self-betrayal they are enduring. The illustrators reach out through muted theatrical gestures and body movements which Trollope himself describes in order to indicate that something permanent and meaningful is achingly at stake. Trollope's illustrators often devote infinite care over the details of such a moment.

    Some of the most frequently-reprinted of these illustrations depict women weeping on a bed or couch; we see them crouching or kneeling in supplication to a man. Left undiscussed because reprinted much less often are the depictions of men in more restrained but to them equally difficult moments of supplication or proud defiance, often before a group of other men. The best known of the former is Millais's depiction of Lucy Robarts's weeping on her bed after she has lied to Lord Lufton by telling him she does not love him (Framley Parsonage, 'Was it not a lie?' facing p. 168). Trollope's contemporaries mocked this illustration as a parody of a crinoline, and saw in it a satire on Framley Parsonage. They ignored the reason for the distress and melancholy: in such pictures Trollope and his illustrators show men and women who have not seized an opportunity for real fulfilment or have been pressured into a decision which will cut their lives off from such experiences. Holl's Madame Marie Goesler lies on a couch with her head pushed against a pillow in a posture closely similar to that of Millais's Lucy lying on a bed. Marie mourns the distance between herself and Phineas, a distance she feel unable to cross (Phineas Redux, 'What is the use of sticking to a man who doesn't want you', facing p. 374). Such scenes of private loss provide the text for the last picture in a number of Trollope's novels: Thomas's Lily Dale stands behind a curtain looking out a window as John Eames walks away (The Last Chronicle, 'The Last Denial', the frontispiece for Installment No. 32); Fawkes's Mrs Winifred Hurtle sits behind a curtain looking at a window as Paul Montague walks away (The Way We Live Now, 'Then, hiding herself at the window, she watched him as he went along the street', p. 397).

    These illustrations of female misfits and outcasts correspond to illustrations of men in analogous states of loss, self-reproach and anguish . . .

    The pictures of men insist on the heroism or difficulty involved in a male's coming to terms with the hard demands, limitations and natural longings and humiliations of life -- the obstacles put in his way by the passions and ambitions of other men or women who are more powerful than him. Trollope males are also depicted as unhappy as any Trollope female at their inability to marry someone they love (for example, Johnny Eames in The Small House, 'She has refused me and it is all over', facing p. 518). The sequence of illustrations for Orley Farm are famous for the pictures of Lady Mason, and the plot of Ralph the Heir for a saturnine depiction of a contemporary election campaign, but the illustrations for both novels show us the novels may also be read as the stories of two young sons, Lucius and Ralph, neither of them legitimate heirs, both studious and sensitive gentlemen powerless to prevent exile from property or home. Stone's most moving illustrations for He Knew He Was Right depict a man who reaches out for affection again and again and is rebuffed, tormented and finally shattered. One of the greatest and best known of all illustrations of Trollope's novels is by Lionel G. Fawkes for The Way We Live Now. It is of Auguste Melmotte at the bottom of a marble staircase, marble columns on either side of him, with his legs apart and stomach arched outwards, one hand in his pocket, the other outstretched and holding a cigar. Fawkes has shown us Trollope's Melmotte as a hard, vulgar yet nervous man, a Colossus in modern dress defying the universe and his enemies -- just before he is humiliated in Parliament and, badly in debt, commits suicide . . .

    Although rarely reprinted, Fawkes's depiction of the moment when Melmotte's daughter, Marie, is confronted by a hired detective in the middle of a dark, crowded anonymous railway station is as powerful as Fawkes's picture of Melmotte (The Way We Live Now, 'You, I think, are Miss Melmotte', p. 207). Marie had fled her father because she hoped Sir Felix Carbury would be tempted by her money and whatever love he had for her to sail with her to America and marry her there. Felix has not had the courage, has spent the night gambling away the money he was given for the fare, gotten drunk and retreated to bed in his mother's house. In a dark square cavern made of iron-wrought ceilings, a flooring made of sharp squares of hardwood, lit by glaring hanging lights, a somewhat deferential but determined gentleman accosts a dark-haired, well-dressed young lady who takes a step backwards. The picture compels our attention at precisely its centre where are located the gentleman's eyes. He is half-embarrassed, apologetic, sorry for Marie while he pushes a note into her hand which tells her she must return. She twists away slightly and moves her hand away as she tries to escape that note. She cannot. He is a hired detective who has been paid. His posture and look of concern is repeated in Fawkes's depiction of a second private detective who stands at a slight distance behind the first. He stands in an analogous seemingly deferential pose. That there could be no real satisfaction or happiness for Marie Melmotte in a life with the weak, mercenary and shallow Felix makes the contrast of her helpless multiple frustrations and the power of her society and its instruments over her all the more ironic. Anonymous people at work or waiting for the train (a porter, other passengers) mill about, getting on with their lives. A policeman in uniform faces the second hired gentleman and looks into his eyes. At the right-front of the illustration another female passenger stands in dark shadows; her eyes are intensely gleaming, two tiny white areas that radiate hardness as she gazes at the encounter of Marie and her father's hired man. In collaboration with Trollope's remarkable novel, the eyes of this picture tell a complex story of hard defeat and little pity.

    What unites all these pictures of supplication, ordeal and loss is their intensity, the worshipful care the illustrator has taken over what are inward and fleeting experiences.

    Contact Ellen Moody.
    Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
    Page Last Updated: 14 March 2004