One of my favorite nerdy Janeite things to do is to find illustrations of Jane Austen's novels, particularly ones from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. There is something so intriguing about seeing how someone else many years ago viewed a particular scene or character, yet we both read the same words on the page.
I particularly love the illustrations by C.E. Brock and H.M. Brock, which were done during the 1890s and early 1900s. They were brothers who created most of the classic and beautiful illustrations. Seriously, look at the picture above. The colors and drawings are exquisite. If you want to learn more about the pair, check out this site. Hugh Thomson is another artist who did classic Jane Austen illustrations at the time as well.
This one just cracks me up. C.E. Brock totally captured Mr. Collins and his horrific proposal in this drawing. He's so tall, awkward, and pompous. Elizabeth is slanted away from him and desperately doing anything rather than look at him.
Oh, Catherine Morland. The heroine of Northanger Abbey looks totally caught up in whatever gothic romance she is currently reading. I wonder if it is The Mysteries of Udolpho, or The Monk?
This C.E. Brock drawing depicts Edward and Elinor in Sense and Sensibility. You can see the comfortable affection that they have for each other. I also love the cat just sitting there observing them. Some things never change.
*Sigh.* Captain Wentworth leaves his letter out for Anne to read in Persuasion. This drawing shows that each knows the significance of the letter.
Had any of you seen any of the older illustrations? What did you think of them? Where they similar to what you had in your head? How important are illustrations to a book in your opinion?