The Trollope Society, in conjunction with The Imaginative Book Illustration Society and The House of Illustration presented a study day on the illustrations of Trollope’s novels on Saturday 7th November.
The day began with Amanda Jane Doran of the Royal Academy putting the illustrations of Trollope’s work in context, describing the prevailing practice of Victorian Illustrated Periodical Fiction. Paul Goldman, author of Victorian Illustration: The Pre-Raphaelites, the Idyllic School and the High Victorians, then described Millais’ Illustrations for Trollope covering Framley Parsonage, Orley Farm, and The Small House at Allington. These fine illustrations are widely regarded as the high point of the illlustration of Trollope’s work during his lifetime. Simon Cooke talked about Other Illustrators Published in Trollope’s Lifetime, some of whose work he candidly described as execrable.
We were then brought right up to date by Sue Bradbury of the Folio Society who described the use of contemporary artists to illustrate their complete novels series published in parallel with the Trollope Society edition in the last decades of the 20th century. Subsequently Folio has issued new editions of both The Warden and Barchester Towers with colour illustrations rather than line drawings giving a new feel again.
Geoffrey Beare, Chairman of the Imaginative Book Illustration Society, provided the history of the Oxford Illustrated and Limited Editions Club Editions. Unfortunately the project was ultimately unsuccessful and folded before the complete set of Barchester novels could be published to complement the Palliser series with which it commenced.
The day was rounded off by David Skilton of Cardiff University whose thought provoking talk considered Other Things Which Pictures Do in Trollope’s Novels. Personally, I will never be able to read the scene between Lady Dumbello and Plantagenet Palliser in The Small House at Allington the same way again.