George Eliot Illustrations Gallery

For years, Dr. Rilett has been collecting old illustrated volumes of Eliot’s works. Several were very rare (and expensive!) nineteenth-century editions, but by procuring and scanning images from the original publications, we've been able to share with researchers more and higher-quality illustrations pertaining to George Eliot than have previously been available online.

In this image gallery, visitors will find illustrations of all of George Eliot’s novels and short stories and several of her poems. An important aspect of the curation process has involved identifying the artists and engravers whose names rarely appear in the illustrated editions. As you’ll see in our collection, in most cases we have been able to add those artists’ names. We plan to add short biographical annotations for each artist.  

In addition to illustrations of George Eliot’s works, we also have curated a collection of images of Eliot’s homes. Many publishers included these images, presumably to situate the author among the upper middle class—a visual representation of her tremendous success. Readers have always been curious about the personal lives of the authors they admire, and this, along with an author's portrait, catered to readers' curiosity and more generally to the cult of celebrity that made George Eliot the highest-paid female author in nineteenth-century England.

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