Illustrating Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2052-0204
  • E-ISSN:



Throughout the nineteenth century, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813) was repeatedly picked up for publication; however, it was slow to be illustrated. Austen tells the story of the Bennet family, as the five girls in the family come of age and are seeking husbands. Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet become the titular characters, and have inspired millions of readers for them to root for their union. The book, of which the countless film adaptations attest, has found a lasting audience. Through an examination of the publishers and the various artists that worked on the editions, I want to examine how the book epitomized trends in the publishing industry. Key publishers like Richard Bentley and J. M. Dent, hired some of the most important illustrators of the time, including John Gilbert, John Proctor, C. E. Brock, Hugh Thomson and Chris Hammond. Through an examination of the artists and the illustrations, we can begin to examine the popularity of the book and why this endearing novel’s popularity is so lasting. Focusing on characters, fanciful clothing and revelatory conversations, these illustrators contributed to the books’ position as one of the most popular romance novels of the century.


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