George Eliot Illustrations Gallery

After years of collecting multiple illustrated editions of George Eliot’s works, including some rare, expensive volumes, I've finally found a good use for them. The George Eliot Archive team is in the process of scanning, cleaning, tagging, and providing metadata for this constantly expanding exhibit of illustrations.

These public domain illustrations of George Eliot's works have been collected for the first time to facilitate multi-disciplinary scholarship. Here, you will find illustrations of all of Eliot’s novels and short stories and several of her poems. We are publishing this gallery as CC-BY-NC-4.0 so that you may download and share them freely. We ask only that you attribute your source, the George Eliot Archive (https://GeorgeEliotArchive.org).

Our sources are books published before 1924 and now out of copyright. Scans from the illustrated George Eliot's Works published by New York's Thomas Y. Crowell in 1894 are represented, along with several other important sources, including A Souvenir of George Eliot: Scenes and Characters from the Works of George Eliot: A Series of Illustrations by Eminent Artists with Introductory Essay and Descriptive Letterpress by L. G. Seguin (1888), George Eliot Portfolio: Being a Series of Sixty Japanese Paper Proofs from Original Etchings and Photo-Etchings Illustrating George Eliot’s Works (1888), and the Dana Estes edition of Complete Poems by George Eliot (1886). 

We also have collected all of Frederic Leighton's illustrations of Romola, the only novel by George Eliot that was illustrated in its first edition in 1862-63. Our illustrations were scanned from the larger two-volume gift edition published by Smith in 1880.

In progress is a collection of images related to Eliot's homes, along with other places in England associated with her life and/or works. Many publishers have reprinted images of Eliot's homes, 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; images of the homes of George Eliot, along with portraits of the artist (see our gallery here), catered to readers' curiosity and more generally to the cult of celebrity that made her the highest-paid female author in nineteenth-century England. 


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