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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Fred Barnard

Robert J. Kirkpatrick

Fred Barnard was an illustrator, caricaturist and painter who was once best-known for his illustrations for several of Charles Dickens’s novels published by Chapman & Hall in the 1870s. He also illustrated several other novels and children’s books, and worked for a wide range of periodicals.

He was born, and christened Frederick Barnard, on 16 May 1846 in Angel Street, St. Martin’s-le-Grand, in the City of London. His father, Edward Barnard (1796-1867), was a Master Silversmith (who, at the time of the 1851 census, was employing 110 men, and who, when he died, left an estate valued at just over £1 million in today’s terms), who had married Caroline Chater (1797-1876) in 1822. Fred was the last of their twelve children.

He studied art at Heatherley’s Art School in Newman Street, London, from where he exhibited his first painting at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1866. (In The Royal Academy of Arts: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors and Their Work from its Foundation in 1769 to 1904, Frederick Barnard is credited with exhibiting as early as 1858, when he was only 12 years old – this seems highly unlikely.) He then studied in Paris under Leon Bonnat – his stay there resulted in his first book, The People of Paris, a collection of charcoal drawings published by H. & C. Barnard in 1867.

By then, Barnard had already established himself as an illustrator, having been contributing to Punch and The Illustrated London News since 1863. (He continued contributing to The Illustrated London News until his death in 1896.) Throughout the remainder of the 1860s he contributed to The Broadway, Cassell’s Illustrated Readings, London Society, Cassell’s Family Magazine, Once a Week, Good Words, Good Words for the Young, and Fun.

In 1868 he moved to 2 Devonshire Place, Haverstock Hill, Hampstead, and two years later, on 11 August 1870 on the Isle of Wight, he married Alice Faraday, born in Westminster in 1847 and the daughter of James Faraday, a gas fitter (and a niece of the scientist Michael Faraday). They returned to Hampstead, where they went on to have three children:  Geoffrey (born in 1871), Marion (born in 1874), and Dorothy (born in 1878).

Fred Barnard’s breakthrough as an illustrator came in 1871, when he was commissioned by the publishers Chapman & Hall to illustrate eleven volumes in their Household Edition of the Works of Charles Dickens, including the novels Martin Chuzzlewit, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Barnaby Rudge, A Tale of Two Cities, Nicholas Nickleby and Dombey and Son.. These appeared between 1872 and 1879, and contained around 450 black and white illustrations. He famously focused on scenes other than those that Dickens’s original illustrator, Hablot K. Browne (“Phiz”) had portrayed, and for a while was regarded as one of the best interpreters of Dickens’s work. (Unlike “Phiz”, he was able to read the whole of each novel before he started work on the illustrations, whereas “Phiz” was illustrating each instalment immediately it had been written.) He went on to produce three series of Character Sketches from Dickens, published by Cassell & Co. between 1879 and 1886, and many of his Dickens illustrations appeared in other books before and after his death.

During the 1870s he also found time to illustrate a handful of books, and to contribute to several more periodicals, including Cassell’s Magazine, The Quiver, The Day of Rest, The Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, Belgravia, The Penny Illustrated Paper and Judy. His work also appeared in number of annuals from 1868 onwards, including Routledge’s Christmas Annual, Tom Good’s Comic Annual, Judy’s Almanack, Yuletide, and The Queen Annual.

He remained in Hampstead until sometime after 1881 – firstly at 2 Devonshire Place (1871 census, which gave his name as Frederick R. Barnard – his middle name remains a mystery) and then at Warrington House, Steeles Road (1881 census, when he was recorded with his wife, three children and three servants).

During the 1880s his work appeared in many more periodicals, including Life, The Theatre, The Pictorial World, Great Thoughts, The Magazine of Art, The British Workman and Cassell’s Saturday Journal. He also illustrated a variety of books, for publishers such as Chatto & Windus, Cassell & Co., Vizetelly & Co., Hodder & Stoughton and J.W. Arrowsmith. Amongst his best-known work from this period were his illustrations for How the Poor Live by George R. Sims (which had originally appeared in The Pictorial World before appearing in hardback in 1883); Henry Irving: A Biographical Sketch (1883), and Shakespearean Scenes and Characters (1887).

As a painter, he had exhibited at the Royal Academy eight times between 1866 and 1879, and he went on to exhibit a further five times up until 1887. He was elected a member of the Society of British Artists in 1887, and he also exhibited with the Institute of Painters in Oil Colours, the Institute of Painters in Watercolours, the Fine Art Institute, and in galleries throughout the country.

In 1886 he travelled to America, staying for a couple of years and working for Harper’s New Monthly Magazine and Harper’s Weekly. On his return he moved to Main Street, South Broadway, Worcestershire, joining a small colony of artists, which over time included John Singer Sargent, Francis Millet, and the writers Henry James and Edmund Gosse.

On 18 December 1891 his son Geoffrey, who was himself an artist, died in Broadway of congenital heart disease. Fred, who by then had moved back to London and was living at 34 Hamilton Gardens, St. Johns Wood, continued working, with his illustrations appearing in many more periodicals, including Black and White, Lika Joko, Chums, The Boy’s Own Paper, The Girl’s Own Paper, The Pictorial Times, The English Illustrated Magazine (for which he illustrated stories by George Gissing), Cassell’s Family Magazine, Pearson’s Weekly, The Friendly Visitor and The Pall Mall Budget. He also continued illustrating books for Chatto & Windus and Cassell & Co., and also worked for the S.P.C.K., Strahan & Co., Dean & Son and George Routledge & Co.

However, the death of his son had deeply affected him, and he began suffering from depression for which he was prescribed laudanum. His relationship with his wife deteriorated, and they eventually separated, with Alice moving to Wenman Road, Hampstead, and Fred moving in as a lodger with Annie Laura Myall at “Abermaw,” Merton Hall Road, Wimbledon. (She lived there with her husband, Ambrose Augustus Myall, a civil engineer, although they, too, had separated and were living separate lives.) On 27 September 1896 Fred died in a fire in his bedroom, a consequence of smoking in bed. The subsequent inquest heard evidence that Fred suffered from insomnia, and was prone to reading in bed for several hours. His landlady said that he did not appear to be in good health, and she thought he was at least 60 years old, rather than 50. It was agreed that the cause of the fire was smouldering ash from Fred’s pipe, which set light to his bedding and mattress, which was made of wool and straw – the cause of death was suffocation from the resultant intense smoke, and burns.

By a bizarre coincidence, one of Fred’s brothers, a commercial traveller, was slightly burned in a fire, the cause of which remained unknown, in his hotel bedroom in Torquay just two weeks later. (None of the local newspapers which reported this gave his name.)  Even sadder, however, was the death of his 31 year-old nephew Walter Cecil Barnard, a member of the Savage Club and a talented musician and entertainer, who fell from a second storey window of the Savage Club on 31 November 1897. At first it was thought he had committed suicide, but the inquest settled on a verdict of accidental death.

Barnard’s wife Alice died on 29 March 1924 at her home at 6 Elm Park Road, Chelsea, leaving an estate valued at £2,786, with probate being granted to her two unmarried daughters. They had become very close to John Singer Sargent, who often painted them and took them on painting trips to Europe. He had died on 14 April 1925, and had left Alice Barnard £5,000 in his will – this bequest presumably went to her two daughters.

Fred Barnard’s legacy as an illustrator was undoubtedly his hundreds of Dickens illustrations, which were, at the time they were published, very highly regarded. Unfortunately, they have since been rather neglected. Barnard was not, for example, included in the Oxford University Press’s The Dickens Index (1988), or in The Cambridge Companion to Charles Dickens (2001), or in Blackwell’s A Companion to Charles Dickens (2008).

Nevertheless, his contemporaries recognized his talents. In The Brothers Dalziel: A Record of Fifty Years’ Work in Conjunction with Many of the Most Distinguished Artists of the Period 1840-1890 (Methuen & Co., 1901) the authors noted:

“Barnard ranks as one of England’s truly comic artists; but he was not only comic, he was one of the most versatile artists of our time. He unquestionably stands among the foremost illustrators of Dickens. The many drawings he made for the household Edition, as well as some larger pictures, illustrating the works of the great author, all possess a certain peculiarity: while the drawings are strictly in his own style, there is just enough resemblance to the figures created by H.K. Browne to save you a shock… Our long connection with Barnard was of close intimacy and friendship; he was a delightful companion, amusing, and full of bright repartee…”

To add insult to injury, his most famous, and ambitious, painting, “Saturday Night in the East End,” painted in 1876 and widely exhibited, was lost sometime after it was bought by George R. Sims in 1883.


Books Illustrated by Fred Barnard

“Household Edition of the Works of Charles Dickens” published by Chapman & Hall:
The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit, 1872 (59 illustrations)
The Personal History of David Copperfield, 1872 (61 illustrations)
Bleak House, 1873 (61 illustrations)
Barnaby Rudge, 1874 (46 illustrations)
A Tale of Two Cities, 1874 (25 illustrations)
The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, 1875 (59 illustrations)
Sketches by Boz, 1876 (34 illustrations)
Dombey and Son, 1877) (62 illustrations)
Christmas Books, 1878 (28 illustrations)
The Mystery of Edwin Drood, 1879 (with L. Fildes and A.G. Dalziel)
Life of Charles Dickens by John Forster, 1879
A Few Character Sketches, publisher not known, 1892(?)

Other titles
The People of Paris, H. & C. Barnard, 1867
Petsetilla’s Posey: A Fairy Tale for Young and Old by Tom Hood, George Routledge & Sons, 1870
Episodes of Fiction, or Choice Stories from the Great Novelists, William P. Nimmo, 1870 (with other artists)  1870
Pictures from English Literature by John Francis Waller, Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., 1870 (with other artists)
The Holiday Papers of the Circle Club, Grant & Co., 1873 (with other artists)
Ginx’s Baby: His Birth and Other Misfortunes by Edward Jenkins, W. Mullan & Sons, 1876
The Devil’s Chain by Edward Jenkins, Strahan & Co., 1876 (re-issue)
Life in Lodgings by Tom Hood, The “Fun” Officer, 1879
Jobson’s Enemies: A Tale by Edward Jenkins, Strahan & Co., 1879
A Series of Character Sketches from Dickens, Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., 1879
The Four Georges by W.M. Thackeray, Smith, Elder & Co., 1879 (with other artists)
God and the Man: A Romance by Robert Williams Buchanan, Chatto & Windus, 1880
Children of the Village by Mary Russell Mitford, George Routledge & Sons, 1880 (with other artists)
Joseph’s Coat by David Christie Murray, Chatto & Windus, 1881
Sussex Stories by Mrs R. O’Reilly, Strahan & Co., 1881
All Sorts and Conditions of Men: An Impossible Story by Walter Besant, Chatto & Windus. 1882
A Baker’s Dozen by L.H. Apaque, S.P.C.K., 1882
Sunlight and Shade, Being Poems and Pictures of Life and Nature, Cassell & Co., 1883
People I Have Met by E.C. Grenville Murray, Vizetelly & Co., 1883
How the Poor Live by George R. Sims, Chatto & Windus, 1883
Behind a Brass Knocker by Charles H. Ross, Chatto & Windus, 1883
Henry Irving: A Biographical Sketch by Austin Brereton, David Bogue, 1883 (with other artists)
Character Sketches from Dickens, Cassell & Co., 1884
Meg’s Mistake, and Other Sussex Stories by Eleanor Grace O’Reilly, Hodder & Stoughton, 1884
Sheridan’s Comedies: The Rivals and The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, J.R. Osgood, 1885 (with other artists)
Called Back: A Novel by Hugh Conway, J.W. Arrowsmith, 1885
A Round of Sunday Stories by L.G. Séguin, Hodder & Stoughton, 1886 (with other artists)
Character Sketches from Dickens, Cassell & Co., 1886
Strawberry Hill by Mary A. Denison, Hodder & Stoughton, 1886
A Series of Character Sketches from Thackeray, Cassell & Co., 1886
The Talbury Girls by Clare Vance, Hodder & Stoughton, 1886 (re-issue) (with other artists)
David Broome, Artist by Mrs Robert O’Reilly, W. Bartholomew, 1886 (re-issue)
The Plays of William Shakespeare, Cassell & Co., 1886-1890 (with other artists)
Shakespearean Scenes and Characters by Austin Brereton,  Cassell & Co, 1887 (with other artists)
The Sunday Book of Story and Parable, Hodder & Stoughton, 1888 (with other artists)
The Dead Man’s Secret, or The Valley of Gold by J.E. Muddock, Chatto & Windus, 1889
The Romance of Jenny Harlowe, and Sketches of Maritime Life by William Clark Russell, Chatto & Windus, 1889
The Holy Rose by Walter Besant, Chatto & Windus, 1890
A Pearl in the Shell: A Tale of Life and Love in the North Countrie by Austin Clare, S.P.C.K., 1890
The Young Folks Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, Strahan & Co., 1890 (with other artists)
Armorel of Lyonesse by Walter Besant, Chatto & Windus, 1891
Sunny Stories, and Some Shady Ones by James Payn, Chatto & Windus, 1891
Colonel Starbottle’s Client, and Some Other People by Brett Harte, Chatto & Windus, 1891
Players of the Period: A Series of Anecdotal, Biographical and Critical Monographs of the Leading English Actors of Today by Arthut Goddard, Dean & Son, 1891 (with other artists)
Twilight Dreams: Being Poems and Pictures of Life and Nature, Cassell & Co., 1891 (with other artists)
Painted Faces “On” and “Off” by Charles H. Ross, W.J. Sinkins, 1891 (with other artists)
A Perilous Secret by Charles Reade, Chatto & Windus, 1892
The Uttermost Farthing by Helen Shipton, S.P.C.K., 1893
Jewel Mysteries I Have Known: From a Dealer’s Note Book by Max Pemberton, Ward, Lock & Bowden, 1894 (with R. Caton Woodville)
Charles Dickens: A Gossip About His Life, Works and Characters by Thomas Archer, Cassell & Co., 1894 (with other artists)
Pixton Parish: A Story for Young Men and Women by Florence Moore, S.P.C.K., 1895
Pictures from Dickens, With Readings by Charles Dickens, Ernest Nister, 1895 (with other artists)
Smith’s Weakness: The Simple Tale of an Uphill Fight by George Manville Fenn, S.P.C.K., 1896
A Little Mother to the Others by L.T. Meade, F.V. White & Co., 1896
The King’s Stirrup: A Tale of the Forest by Elizabeth Harcourt Mitchell, S.P.C.K., 1896
Whispering Tongues by Phoebe Allan, S.P.C.K., 1896
Ruth Davenant by W.J. Bettison, S.P.C.K., 1896
Frank Mildmay, or The Naval Officer by Frederick Marryat, George Routledge & Sons, 1896 (with W.H. Overend) (re-issue)
Stage, Study and Studio, as Pictured by Fred Barnard ed. by John Alexander Hammerton, London Educational Book Co., 1900
John Strong the Boaster and Other Pithy Papers by George Mogridge, Religious Tract Society, 1904
Scenes and Characters from the Works of Charles Dickens, Chapman & Hall, 1908 (with other artists)
Little Books on Great Writers: Charles Dickens by William Teignmouth Shore, Cassell & Co., 1910
William Makepeace Thackeray by Sidney Dark, Cassell & Co., 1912
Sports and Pastimes ed. by J.A. Hammerton, Educational Book Co., 1912(?) (with other artists)
Some Rogues and Vagabonds of Dickens by Walter Dexter, Cecil Palmer, 1927


  1. I may be mistaken, but the illustration labelled 'Sam Weller, Pickwick Papers' seems to me more reminiscent of Dick Swiveller and The Marchioness in The Old Curiosity Shop somehow.

  2. Hi Malcolm,

    Robert was away for a few days but has since sent me a note, saying, "Malcolm is quite right - looks like a simple case of mis-labeling on my part. The illustration is definitely from The Old Curiosity Shop. Please accept my apologies, and compliment Malcolm on his acuity."

  3. You may be interested in this series of diaries I am transcribing/writing about his family.

    I am Fred's direct descendant and have a picture by Geoff, his son.

  4. Great to hear from you, Frances. Hopefully there will be more revelations about Fred in either the diaries or your research.