- Museum number
Studies for two wood-engravings, consecutive illustrations to George Eliot's 'Romola', published in 'The Cornhill Magazine' (December 1862, vol. VI, no.36); the drawing on the left illustrates 'The Painted Record' (facing p. 721), a cloaked and hooded woman raises her right hand and gestures behind her with her left hand, and the drawing on the right illustrates 'Coming Home' (facing p. 726), a woman stands in a curtained doorway, leaning on her raised right arm and holding the curtain aside with her left hand. 1862
Black and white chalk on blue paper
Verso: Three or four slight sketches of groups of figures
Black and white chalk on blue paper
- Production date
Height: 284 millimetres
Width: 437 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- 'Romola' was published in 'The Cornhill Magazine' in monthly instalments from July 1862 to August 1863, for which Leighton designed twenty-five full-page illustrations and fourteen decorated initial letters. Leighton drew his final designs in pen and ink directly on the blocks for the engraver. Sets of photographs of the uncut blocks are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Hartley collection in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and a third set was a separate lot in the sale at Christie's 11 June 1993. The last set and the one in the Boston Museum included sets of burnished proofs of the engravings.
The British Museum has a set of the final wood-engravings after Leighton made for publication in the 'Cornhill' magazine in 1862-3, as reprinted in 'The Cornhill Gallery' in 1864. This set (1875,0508.1347 to 1370) is from the reprint of plates from 'Cornhill' on good paper published under the title of 'The Cornhill Gallery' in 1864.(This drawing is related to 1875,0508.1358). The plates have printed plate numbers in the bottom right corners from 37 to 60. A complete set of 'Cornhill' and copies of both the 1864 and 1865 editions of 'The Cornhill Gallery' are in the de Beaumont collection of Victorian Illustrated Book in the BM.
See L. and R. Ormond, 'Lord Leighton', 1975, pp. 58-9. For other drawings in the series, see David P. Becker, 'Drawings for Book Illustration, The Hofer Collection', Houghton Library, Harvard, 1980, no. 36 (one of a series in the Hofer Collection of twenty-nine drawings the size of the actual engravings). Becker mentions that the Boston Museum of Fine Arts owns ten large life studies for figures in the 'Romola' illustrations, also in chalk on blue paper. A study for 'Tessa at Home', showing Tessa and her nurse Monna Lisa after Tito has tricked Tessa into a sham marriage, was sold at Christie's, London, in June 2016. Another drawing for Romola by Leighton was with Abbott and Holder (May 2019).
For the iterative relationship between the development of Eliot's serialized text and Leighton's images, see Ileana Marin, 'Victorian Aesthetics of Erasure in Fiction and Illustration', British Studies, Academica 256, Institutul European, Bucharest, 2015, pp. 148-66 (photocopy in P&D dossier on this drawing).
In the 1860s there was a vast increase in the number of books and periodicals published with black and white line plates, with many seasoned artists providing designs for wood block engravers. Artists Frederick Walker (1840-1875) and George John Pinwell (1842-1875) worked for the Dalziel Brothers. Both Leighton and Edward Poynter (1836-1919) provided designs for Dalziel's 'Illustrated Bible' in the 1860s. Leighton's first commisson as an illustrator came from the Cornhill Magazine, for whom he produced images of 'The Great God Pan' and 'Ariadne' to accompany Elizabeth Barrett Brownings poems 'A Musical Instrument' and 'Ariadne'. Initially Eliot did not approve of Leighton's designs for 'Romola', putting a strain on their relationship. However, the two eventually reconciled and it was acknowledged that Leighton's designs had contribute greatly to the commercial success of the enterprise.
- Not on display
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Romola
Associated Title: Cornhill Magazine
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number