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Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution: A History, London, Chapman and Hall, 1910, E. J. Sullivan and Me

Valerie Mainz

Résumés

En étudiant l’édition posthume illustrée de 1910 de l’ouvrage de Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution, une histoire très personnelle et fortement orientée qui fut publiée pour la première fois en 1837, cet article juge la contribution à cette histoire de l’artiste graphique E. J. Sullivan. L’imagerie visuelle qui se trouve dans les deux volumes de ce livre d’histoire montre que l’artiste est un individu avec une indépendance certaine et qui, par ses créations, contribue en propre à différents problèmes présentés par Carlyle, en particulier ceux concernant la corruption de la cour et la violence des émeutes durant la Terreur. Les symboles employés par Sullivan font écho, d’une certaine manière, à l’approche de l’écriture de l’histoire de Carlyle, avec plusieurs niveaux d’accueil et d’interprétation liés aux contextes politique, social et artistique de l’Angleterre de 1910. Par ailleurs, ici, les illustrations ne sont pas inféodées au texte, car le lecteur/spectateur n’est pas juste invité à juger de la justesse de ce qui est dépeint ; au-delà de cela, j’espère montrer comment l’expérience de l’histoire peut être renforcée performativement autant qu’avec le temps.

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I thank the staff of the British Library, the Brotherton Library University of Leeds, the London Library and the Victoria and Albert Museum for their assistance in giving me access to archival and book source material for this article.

1I first came across the two volume ‘gift’ edition of Thomas Carlyle’s The French Revolution: A History, illustrated by Edmund Joseph Sullivan (known as E J Sullivan, 1869-1933) and published in 1910, when I was investigating the Pencheon Collection in the Brotherton Library’s Special Collections at the University of Leeds.1 A bookplate, handwritten in pen and ink on the inside front cover of the first volume of one of the two Carlyle/Sullivan copies in the collection, records ‘J Pencheon, 48 Cardinal Avenue, Beeston 11’ beneath an additional inscription that reads: ‘Bought Dec 1942 from the proceeds of my working in the post office’. Dr James Michael Pencheon (1924-1982) had studied medicine at the University of Leeds before practising first as a neurosurgeon and then as a consultant psychiatrist. Retaining from childhood an abiding passion for the study of the French Revolution, his collection of material about the French Revolution grew to around 3,000 books plus other items and ephemera including manuscripts, pamphlets, prints, maps, newspaper clippings and booksellers’ catalogues.2

  • 3 Chapman and Hall advertised the edition in the London press during October and November 1910; see, (...)
  • 4 The white lily is the emblem of the Bourbon monarchy, but it had also been widely used to denote th (...)

2Published by Chapman and Hall in time to exploit the 1910 market for the giving of books at Christmas time, their two-volume ‘gift’ edition of Carlyle’s The French Revolution: A History contains 33 black and white full-page plates and 124 black and white portrait illustrations inserted into the text.3 Each of the visual images is signed by Edmund J. Sullivan and dated either 1908, 1909 or 1910. The red front cover and spine of the books have been stamped and lettered in gilt; the publisher and the name of the illustrator appear on the spines along with that of the title, the author and the volume number, and a crown above a lily whose root bulb emits an entwining upwardly emerging snake. The stylized, art nouveau inflected motif is also stamped on both front covers.4

Fig. 1: Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution, 1910, Cover (26cm x 18cm) and spine.

  • 5 The publication, Book Practices & Textual Itineraries: Illustrating History/Illustrer l’histoire, S (...)
  • 6 I intend, after this initial study, to produce further work on these illustrations, and more genera (...)

3My own studies have evolved on from this chance encounter with these material objects to develop my concerns beyond those of an historian of art preoccupied with the picturing of the French Revolution in word and visual imagery.5 In locating this publishing initiative, I consider the oeuvre of the graphic artist, E J Sullivan, alongside the history of the book/book history, the British reception of the French Revolution, and some more strictly historiographical issues and periods in British history—specifically the times of Carlyle (1795-1881), who first published The French Revolution: A History in 1837, but also the times of Sullivan’s sensitivities in the late Victorian, fin de siècle and Edwardian era. By attempting to do justice to what the graphic artist contributed to Carlyle’s history and, in the process, to bring out some of the richness and farsightedness of Dr Pencheon’s collecting initiative even when a teenager in the midst of World War II, it becomes clear that this publishing initiative has provided ongoing opportunities for inventive re-interpretations in how readers can understand history over time. In fathoming out all this layering, Carlyle’s extraordinary achievement will first be addressed; once the far from conventional nature of his poetic prose history has been acknowledged, just two of Sullivan’s 30 black and white full page pictures will be examined in some detail here for me to argue that far from merely illustrating an historical account in any sort of literal or neutrally objective way, the graphic artist was self -consciously re-inventing and imaginatively recreating in order to exploit for himself the possibilities of a far from standard historical account.6 Both Carlyle and Sullivan comment on the historical phenomenon of the French Revolution from afar by bringing the viewer/reader up close to some of its particularly grim, horrific and apocalyptic aspects. Sullivan does not, however, merely follow on from the performances of Carlyle’s visionary epic prose poetry; rather he re-interprets Carlyle’s vision in the light of the provocations of his own era, and of his own medium.

Carlyle and History in/over Time and with Hindsight

  • 7 Thomas Carlyle, Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, London. Chapman and Hall Limited, 1890 [1839] (7 (...)
  • 8 Thomas Carlyle, Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, op. cit., p. 254.
  • 9 Ibid., p. 257. These concerns help to explain the nuance in the full title given of Carlyle’s histo (...)

4In ‘On History’, first published in 1830 in the newly established Fraser’s Magazine for Town and Country, Carlyle dwelt on the inadequacies of approaches to history then current.7 From having fulfilled the roles of Minstrel and Storyteller, the writer considered that the office of history had deteriorated to become that of the Schoolmistress professing ‘to instruct in gratifying’.8 Valuing the sense of history as belonging to what it meant to be human, he noted that the recording of series of things predicated on linear narrative inevitably involved processes of selection, so it was impossible to set oneself outside of the making of history in any neutral or objective way. Other problematic factors in the making of history for Carlyle included an acknowledgement that the telling of history privileged the successive unfolding of circumstances in time, even though things happen simultaneously and the observation that subsequent account is conditioned by the hindsight of previously received wisdom. These points about the potential fallacies involved in the making of history suggest the concerns not of the modern but of the postmodern: ‘It is, in no case, the real historical Transaction, but only some more or less plausible scheme and theory of Transaction, or the harmonised result of many such schemes, each varying from the other and all varying from the truth, that we can ever hope to behold.’9

  • 10 Ibid., p. 259.
  • 11 Ibid., p. 262.

5Yet Carlyle was certainly not a postmodernist avant la lettre. His gendered figuring of the existing problematic mode of enquiring into the past is, for instance, distinctly unfortunate especially as the essay ended on a much more upbeat note that endowed the historian with the highest of callings and that offset a more neo-Platonic approach to truth-making against empirical study. For the yet to be celebrated writer and essayist, certain universal truths were, indeed, contained within the study of history even if mere earthly historians, not having All-knowledge nor All-wisdom, were only partially able to reveal its truths. The Artists in History were to be distinguished from the mere Artisans in History, or ‘cause and effect speculators,’ who labour mechanically in a department without an eye for the whole. The Artists in History were, on the other hand, ‘men who inform and ennoble the humblest department with an idea of the Whole.’10 The prejudicial nature of history entailed, therefore, a high degree of morality in which the inward, the invisible and the spiritual was to take precedence over the outward, the visible, the political and the commercial conditions of human life. In practising the most dignified and difficult histories, the Philosopher and the Priest, according to Carlyle in this early essay, became one and the same, for they dealt with ‘man’s opinions and theories respecting the nature of his Being and relations to the Universe Visible and Invisible’.11

  • 12 For the problematic initial press reception of Carlyle’s history in 1837, see Robert T. Kerlin, ‘Co (...)
  • 13 John Stuart Mill, ‘Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution: A History, The Westminster Review, no. 2 (...)

6Reviews of Carlyle’s The French Revolution, when first published in 1837, were mixed.12 The unconventionally poetic language used for history writing received quite widespread condemnation. Commenting on the work with an unusually favourable review in the Westminster Review, John Stuart Mill summed up the undertaking by judging that Carlyle had looked more penetratingly into the deeper meaning of things in his own mind than Schiller had done when framing the fictitious delineation of the era of Wallenstein: ‘This is not so much a history, as an epic poem and notwithstanding, or even in consequence of this, the truest of histories. It is the history of the French Revolution, and the poetry of it, both in one.’13 William Thackeray’s review in The Times did note the wild vagaries of language whilst also warning of the potential dangers of radicalism in England in the aftermath of the passing of the Reform Act of 1832 and in the light of calls for further constitutional reform:

  • 14 The French Revolution by T. Carlyle. The Times, Thursday, 3 August 1836, issue 16485, p. 6 ; digita (...)

We need scarcely recommend this book – and its timely appearance, now that some of the questions solved in it seem almost likely to be battled over again. The hottest Radical in England may learn by it that there is something more necessary for him even than his mad liberty – the authority, namely, by which he retains his head on his shoulders and his money in his pocket, which privileges that by-word “liberty” is often unable to secure for him. It teaches (by as strong examples as ever taught anything) to rulers and to ruled alike moderation, and yet there are many who would react the same dire tragedy, and repeat the experiment tried in France so fatally.14

  • 15 Alphonse Aulard, ‘Carlyle Historien de la Révolution française’, La Révolution française : Revue hi (...)
  • 16 Ibid., p. 197 and 200. The citation is taken from Carlyle, The French Revolution, 1910, vol. II, p. (...)
  • 17 Ibid., p. 202.

7In the light of the vagaries of language and of the acknowledged warnings against radicalism in the name of liberty in Carlyle’s history of the French Revolution, it is surprising that, on the occasion of a new French translation of this history in 1912, Alphonse Aulard’s praise was specifically for Carlyle, the historian.15 Defending Carlyle against the accusation of being something of a fantasist about the Revolution that had been made by Michelet after allegations that he, Michelet, had been inspired in his own work by Carlyle, Aulard saw parallels in the ways in which both Carlyle and Michelet had used language lyrically to evoke, paint, surprise and move. Aulard considered that the judgement of being a fantasist was too severe for Carlyle had surpassed Thiers in his use of appropriate documents which were then available to him. Even the most brilliant and marvellous of the distinctive features in his writing of history were taken from reality or at least from his reading. Succinctly and somewhat poetically asserting ‘Il n’invente pas : il choisit et collige’ (‘He does not invent: he chooses and collates’), Aulard admitted that sans-culottisme had been frenzied and bloody before citing Carlyle’s assertion that ‘quand l’histoire, portant ses regards en arrière, …avoue avec douleur qu’on ne peut citer une période où les vingt-cinq millions de Français aient en général moins souffert que pendant cette période appelée le règne de la Terreur’.16 Aulard held that Carlyle had both admired and envied the depth of sentiment which had animated the Revolution because the past, for Carlyle and his readers, worked as a true hallucination in which he was no mere onlooker but existed within it, acting with its men, swept along by their faith becoming, in the process, a Frenchman of an II; in knowing the horrors and enthusiasms of those times, he suffered and lived ‘en sans-culotte’.17 That Carlyle intended to animate, move and provoke the reader, whilst remaining authentic to carefully selected sources and bringing out a self-awareness of the processes of representation in the making of history is, indeed, clear from the final paragraph of his history:

  • 18 Carlyle, The French Revolution, op. cit., vol. II, p. 456.

And so here, O Reader, has the time come for us two to part. Toilsome was our journeying together; not without offence; but it is done. To me thou wert as a beloved shade, the disembodied or not yet embodied spirit of a Brother. To thee I was but as a Voice. Yet was our relation a kind of sacred one; doubt not that! For whatsoever once sacred things become hollow jargons, yet while the Voice of Man speaks with Man, hast thou not there the living fountain out of which all sacrednesses sprang, and will yet spring? Man, by the nature of him, is definable as ‘an incarnated Word.’ Ill stands it with me if I have spoken falsely: thine also it was to hear truly. Farewell.18

8Sullivan’s own understanding of the French Revolution, as mediated through the text by Carlyle, is distinctively different from that of, say, the French historian Aulard, yet in provoking such varied responses, long after his death, Carlyle’s making of history achieves its ends in continuing to prompt self-conscious reflections on the meaning of a crucially significant epoch in the making of the modern French nation State.

Sullivan, Carlyle and Sartor Resartus: An Introduction

Fig. 2: Edmund J. Sullivan, ‘The Critical Pen,’ in Sartor Resartus, 1898, wood engraving, 3.6 cm x 8.8 cm

  • 19 Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus: The Life & Opinions of Herr Teufelsdröckh, London, George Bell and (...)
  • 20 Malcolm C. Salaman, ‘Edmund J. Sullivan: A Master Book-Illustrator’, The Studio, LXXXVIII, no. 381, (...)
  • 21 G. B. Tennyson, ‘Sartor’…, op. cit., p. 155.

9Sullivan was an acclaimed black and white illustrator of books by the time he came to work on the French Revolution. The breakthrough publication that established his own claims to creativity in this respect came with the success in 1898 of a re-edition of another early work by Carlyle, Sartor Resartus.19 In an appreciation of Sullivan’s work that appeared in December 1924 in The Studio, a specialist journal of the fine and decorative arts, Malcolm C. Salaman noted that, having recently talked to the artist in his studio, he had learnt that it had been Gleeson White, first editor of The Studio, who had persuaded George Bell and Sons to publish the illustrated edition of Sartor Resartus after Sullivan had spent two or three years trying to get a publisher for it.20 Carlyle’s imaginative ‘anti-novel’ had also had a difficult gestation period, first appearing during 1833 and 1834 in the serial form of Frazer’s Magazine, then published in Boston in 1836 before its first publication in book form in Britain in 1838.21 It, too, had been a breakthrough work in establishing the reputation and career of the writer, Carlyle.

10Sartor Resartus, or ‘Tailor Repatched,’ attempted, via irony and parody, to critique mechanistic, positivistic, cause-and-effect rationalisms. It is ostensibly a book about another book on the history of clothing by one Professor Diogenes Teufelsdröckh, (‘Devil’s Shit’). Modelling itself on the German Romantic tradition of Bildungsroman it contains an account of Carlyle’s own crisis of faith that had enabled the author to reach maturer insights about the appropriateness of human behaviour, about notions of decorum and of indecorum, in the face of the invisible human soul’s eternal, universal and ultimately fully unknowable mysteries. Clothes/garments, the visible and outward appearances of the human body, were made to serve as the outer, containing structures for a range of philosophical ideas. The ordering of knowledge, in the guises of a history of clothing, entailed an inner moral journey towards visionary insight whilst, at the same time, deploying clothes symbolically and metaphorically in order to allude to deeper content.

  • 22 Between 1885 and his move to London in 1889, Sullivan had been taught at the Hastings School of Art (...)
  • 23 Ibid., p. vii.

11The edition of 1898 has a handsome gold embossed cover with one of Sullivan’s illustrations, the title, the author’s name and the credit: ‘With Drawings by Edmund J. Sullivan’. Before the ‘Table of Contents’ and ‘List of Illustrations’, there is an additional ‘A Letter of Introduction’ resetting a ‘Letter’ dated October 27th, 1898, Hampstead, that Edmund J Sullivan had addressed to Dr John Colborne, Hastings.22 The reset letter is, of course, both an actual letter and not an actual letter, appearing as it does within the printed publication. It takes the conceit of a book about another book one stage further for, in disclosing why the artist took on the task of illustrating the book, it self-consciously subscribes to the book’s further reframing from within an ever-continuing mise en abîme. Opening with a recollection of ‘certain nights that we spent together with our feet in your fender and our heads somewhere among the stars,’ Carlyle’s dialogue between the things of this world and higher invisible, not fully knowable mysteries is, thus, intimated at the outset by the letter writer/book illustrator.23 Clearly also in the business of promoting his own professional activities, the artist continued:

  • 24 Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, op. cit., p. viii.

It has always been a wonder to me that ‘Sartor Resartus’ should never have been illustrated: and I addressed myself to the undertaking because I saw an opportunity to make drawings almost entirely for their own sake, as a holiday from the conditions that so often bind the modern artist to the prettinesses and trivialities of the moment; and, quite apart from my love of the book itself, I was attracted to the illustration of it because the subject left so much elbow-room. Was I a realist? I could be as realistic as I chose. Was I an idealist? I could idealize to the top of my bent. A caricaturist? Who could complain? In fact, the subject was the history of mankind, and his relation to infinity: his greatness and his nothingness.24

12Through the series of rhetorical questions, Sullivan is revealing himself here as someone of independent spirit who has his own contributions to make as reader, writer, inventor and graphic artist. The ‘Letter’ ends with a further affirmation of ongoing creative input within already established conventional treatments, as also with a degree of paradoxical irony and parody:

  • 25 Ibid., p. x.

As to the treatment, the German accent of the book is mimicked more or less in the drawings: I have pretended here and there that clothes were the serious business of the book: a thin pretence of Carlyle’s own: sometimes I have adhered to the text, sometimes only to the general spirit of the book, and the fancies stirred by it; in some cases, perhaps, the drawings may be considered obscure or far-fetched: the drawings themselves must apologize as best as they can.25

  • 26 Ibid., p. xiv. The illustration appears on p. 261.
  • 27 Ibid., p. 265.

13Just one of the smaller, simpler illustrations towards the end of this edition must suffice to indicate the imaginative encounter that the writer Carlyle has prompted in the artist, Sullivan. The headpiece to Book III, Chapter IV (entitled ‘Helotage’, see fig. 2), has been given the title ‘The Critical Pen’ in the book’s ‘List of Illustrations’.26 Prominently signed and dated in the white space of its empty background, the small rectangular picture does not, superficially, appear to mimic, or represent, or illustrate, the contents of Carlyle’s chapter which is a critique of a fanciful tract entitled Institute for the Repression of Population and which had supposedly and provocatively proposed that, in imitation of the Spartans, able-bodied paupers could be cannibalistically culled.27 Sullivan’s imagery has a feathered quill pen piercing through the heart of a bound book to spill out the ink contained therein onto a printed sheet. This is no literal interpretation; rather the contribution of the graphic artist takes forward the critique of the text of another text via visual means. It endows the making of a critical review with a degree of additional violence arising from the reader/viewer experiencing a self-consciously explicit conjoining of words with visual imagery for the furtherance of new critical thought. The extra layers of potential meaning are due to the imaginative interventions of the illustrator, not the author.

  • 28 Ibid., p. 260.
  • 29 Edmund J. Sullivan, The Art of Illustration, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1921, p. 61; see al (...)

14For Carlyle and, I think, for Sullivan, following on from Carlyle, the use, re-use and creative composition of appropriate symbols enable meaning to be communicated to the reader/viewer who, in the understanding of the symbolism, is then to be prompted towards deeper, more conceptual, more philosophical thoughts and insights for her/himself. In the chapter entitled ‘Symbols,’ which precedes the one on ‘Helotage’, Carlyle called the Poet a Pontiff and an ‘inspired Maker who, Prometheus-like can shape new Symbols and bring new Fire from Heaven to fix it there’.28 According to Carlyle, this creative ability also enabled the Poet to be a Legislator and gently do away with superannuated worn-out and falsely deceptive symbols. Given these preceding comments, further layers of deliberately self-conscious meaning for the reader/viewer can surely be ascribed to Sullivan’s graphic intervention in the imagery of ‘The Critical Pen,’ although Sullivan’s symbolic ‘fixing’ is hardly gentle in its effectiveness. Later, after having for many years been a part-time lecturer in illustration and lithography at Goldsmith’s College, the artist wrote two books of instruction about his own approach to graphic design. Both publications advocate the use of symbols to ‘express visibly in simple, concrete and familiar terms, the abstract, the unfamiliar, the invisible and the intangible.’29

  • 30 See further Arthur Waugh, A Hundred Years of Publishing: Being the Story of Chapman and Hall, Ltd., (...)
  • 31 H. G. Wells, A Modern Utopia, London, Chapman and Hall Ltd., 1905, p. viii.

15Chapman and Hall, the publishers of the 1910 illustrated edition of Carlyle’s text, had largely owed their success to the production of illustrated editions of the works of Charles Dickens, including A Tale of Two Cities.30 From their dealings with Dickens and with his various illustrators, including Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne), the publishing house had acquired acumen in the handling of what could be a tricky relationship between an author and the illustrator of that author’s text. The first new book by a living author to which Sullivan contributed had been A Modern Utopia by H. G. Wells that was brought out in 1905 in another publishing initiative by Chapman and Hall. The dedicatory praise by H. G. Wells for Sullivan’s ‘admirably decorative’ illustrations in that book is, perhaps, a little damning.31 So the fact that Carlyle had been safely dead for over 25 years and had no further active input to make, that Sullivan had initially come to prominence on account of his contributions to a re-edition of Sartor Resartus, and that black and white illustration, the fine art book and art nouveau inspired forms something in the manner of Aubrey Beardsley, were in vogue, can all help to account both for the making of this commercial venture just in time for the Christmas ‘gift’ market of 1910 and the commission to the tried and tested but somewhat controversial graphic artist, E J Sullivan.

16The pictures that Sullivan invented for Carlyle’s history of the French Revolution certainly engage with the writer’s use of the French Revolution to explore the appropriateness, or otherwise, of revolution as a form of human behaviour in which the problems of unreason and of frenzy in society come to be unleashed. Sullivan’s imagery focuses on the failure of the ruling classes identified by Carlyle, just as it also focuses on the historian’s belief in the more spiritually redemptive, metaphysical, regenerative forces ascribed to God’s will on earth. The artist’s distinctive interpretations of Carlyle’s text additionally resonate, however, with a particularly scathing and contemptuous scorn both for aristocratic privilege and for the mob.

  • 32 Billie Melman, The Culture of History: English Uses of the Past 1800-1953, Oxford, Oxford Universit (...)
  • 33 An early attempt at a diary covering a short period in 1888 is held in the Edmund Joseph Sullivan a (...)

17In examining how constructions of modern-day English identities made spectacular, democratized usages of the French Revolution, Billie Melman has noted how self-educated working class men, keen to better themselves, were drawn towards Carlyle’s text because of its moral tone, its scathing contempt for authority, its exposure of the shams of law, religion and the Ancien Régime, its critique of industrialists and of capitalism, its sense of social injustice and inequality.32 Such an assessment might well help to account for the appeal of the contents of Carlyle’s history both to the collector, James Pencheon, and to Sullivan, the third of twelve children of Irish immigrant parents, who had been trained not from within an existing fine art academic establishment tradition, but as a drawing master and staff artist for the daily press.33

Two Examples: The Frontispiece and ‘Democracy Enthroned’

Fig. 3: Edmund J. Sullivan, ‘Corruption, (The Court of Louis, “le bien aimé.”),’ in The French Revolution: A History, 1910, frontispiece to vol. I, photographic line block, 16.6 cm x 10.6 cm

18The ambition of the frontispiece to volume I (fig. 3) is, I think, clear. It functions in an unusual way for it does not purport to encapsulate some summation of the phenomenon of the French Revolution, nor does it celebrate the figure of the author within a more conventional portrait depiction. Rather it appears to introduce the reader/viewer to the illustrator’s graphic interventions. Some of the figurative elements of this frontispiece re-appear, here and there, and with evolvingly creative re-use, in the other subsequent 29 full-page non-portrait and non-realistic, metaphorically dense, conceptually rich, even at times lavish but also grotesque and horrific, pictures. At this juncture in this digital contribution to the scholarship of the French Revolution, it is also pertinent to remind my readers that the action of flipping pages backwards and forwards in books provides opportunities for reading in ways that are minimised in the selected formats of online re-presentation.

19The imagery of the frontispiece deals essentially with the corruptions of the court and of court culture during the reign of Louis XV with the scene having been given the title ‘Corruption’ and the sub-title (‘The Court of Louis, “le bien aimé”’). It is therefore very much a ponderation on the opening chapter of Carlyle’s history which begins, ironically, by bringing out the lack of loving care afforded to Louis XV on his deathbed after he had, three decades earlier, acquired the sobriquet of le bien aimé in surviving a serious illness when on campaign. Carlyle transforms the epithet into a misnomer by giving an account of the insincerity of the monarch’s entourage in his final hours; the device allows the heavily partisan account in The French Revolution: A History to be acknowledged at its outset:

  • 34 Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution, op. cit., vol. I, p. 6.

For indeed it is well said, “in every object there is inexhaustible meaning; the eye sees in it what the eye brings means of seeing.” To Newton and to Newton’s Dog Diamond, what a different pair of Universes; while the painting on the optical retina of both was, most likely the same! Let the Reader here, in this sick-room of Louis, endeavour to look with the mind too.34

20Sullivan’s contribution here changes the nature of the relationship between the verbal and the visual in the making of history. The picture is not subservient to the text nor is the reader/viewer being merely invited to consider the appropriateness, or otherwise, of what has been depicted in words and/or visual imagery; rather the relationship here is about the ways in which the experience of history accrues performatively and with hindsight.

21The setting of the King on a throne under a baldaquin in the background of the composition structures the space of the composition in a seemingly rational way whilst indicating something of the rococo luxury and lavishness of the Court’s eighteenth-century physical presence. Within the more or less coherent setting, the black and white outlines of the figurative forms sharply delineate people in human history, recognisable human types, fantasy creatures, animals behaving anthropomorphically and a range of material objects and things. Clearly outlined but neither naturalistic nor realistic, each of the seven groupings in this opening scenario has an overall symbolic relationship to the theme of corruption at court.

22The King appears with some who serve to flatter him. The pose of Madame du Barry is particularly fawning and insincere as she appears to whisper in his ear. Shown amorously, kneeling down by his side, she openly, and proprietorially, rests one hand on the royal orb for the reader/viewer to see. Reaching round behind the ermine of the King’s coronation gown she clasps, with her other hand, onto the royal sceptre. This grasping hand is unseen by the slumped King whose cross-legged pose is one of indolence just as he merely lightly fingers his sceptre at its base. Whilst the ritualistic symbols of monarchy, as symbols of authority, have been made to undermine the authority of the King by turning this authority into only a supposed authority, there is also an element of late nineteenth-century femme fatale symbolist imagery having been traduced for the purposes of the making of a history of the French Revolution in 1910.

  • 35 See, for instance, the Apocalypse series woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, (woodcut, 1498, 39.7 cm x 28.7  (...)
  • 36 Carlyle’s account of Louis XV included a reference to the sovereign’s inability to react appropriat (...)

23On the monarch’s other side and set against the lighter background of the throne, an eagle sits statically on a perch. Prominent in heraldry, the eagle had been sacred to Zeus in Antiquity and had then become a marker of Divine Providence in human affairs being present at the Apocalypse.35 This is how the bird appears in many of the subsequent plates in the two volumes, such as ‘Caged’ (vol. I, p. 14), ‘The Walls of Jericho, (The Fall of the Bastille.)’ (vol. I, p. 126) and ‘The Keystone of the Arch. (The fall of Robespierre.)’ (vol. II, p. 286). Yet the key role this bird is to play in the unfolding of Sullivan’s interpretations of Carlyle is only elegantly intimated in this preliminary scene-setting where the eagle primarily denotes the noble, privileged pursuit of the hunt.36 Given the ‘taster’ invitation to peruse the inventive illustrations in the rest of the two volumes that is constituted in this frontispiece, and with the two volumes ‘in hand’, the careful placement of the eagle, juxtaposed against the royal sceptre pointing, somewhat menacingly, at the bird’s throat, additionally suggests to the viewer/reader with hindsight something of the loss of the monarch’s divine right to rule that is to come.

  • 37 The large noses and swarthy complexions of these satyrs were used by the artist for representations (...)
  • 38 Sullivan makes extensive use of different types of ape in The Kaiser’s Garland; in The French Revol (...)

24In this frontispiece, as also in the subsequent inventive illustrations by Sullivan, the attack is not, however, on institutional authority and privilege but on what happens when ideals, worthy in themselves, are perverted and go wrong. Thus, in the foreground of the composition, a supposedly celibate abbé type clutches his heart and amorously reaches out to a pretty, young shepherdess type who, in fleeing from the abbé, is being clutched onto by two lascivious satyrs with, just behind, a monkey, dressed up as a courtier.37 The commingling of elements derived from classical myth, with the pastoral dalliances of the art of, say, the court painter François Boucher, together with the singerie or satirical monkey apings of human behaviour to be found in some élite eighteenth-century French art-works alongside the critical, unconventional representation of the abbé, evoke a high classical tradition in art in the processes of its undermining.38 The two fat pigs grovelling on the ground behind the abbé, bestride one of which a tiny satyr imbibes from a bottle, suggest, here, sacrilegious forms of greed and over-indulgence. Perversely too, just by the legs and feet of the monarch, winged angels blind each other as they fight over the spoils of a spilling cornucopia whilst above, a white cherub with large bat wings grapples with a smaller-winged, bird-feathered black cherub. Far from embracing, these combats appear to give the lie to enlightenment philosophical principles of liberty, fraternity and equality.

  • 39 Other plates in which the figure of Pierrot provides key import include ’Constitution Building and (...)
  • 40 See Adolphe Willette 1857-1926 : J’étais bien plus heureux quand j’étais malheureux’, Paris, Lienar (...)

25Defying a rationalist perspective and the significant moment of neo-classical art theory, Pierrot appears twice in this scene on either side of the throne and in different sizes. This personage will, again, appear in subsequent scenes, including the last one, ‘La Mort est Morte – Vive la Vie!’ (vol. II, p. 438).39 The actor/performer type had certainly featured in the early eighteenth-century court art of the fête galante, but his clothing and re-incarnations here are, with deliberate hindsight, more akin to others of his late nineteenth-century appearances in the press, on the Paris stage and in the cabarets of Montmartre. The type became the artfully French avatar of the actor, artist and performer Adolphe Willette.40 In 1910, Pierrot could thus be perceived to have assumed the more complex guises of an apparent mask of naivety whilst, at the same time, poking fun, perpetrating duplicitous mischief, and seeking pleasure in getting the better of his enemies. In this scene, one Pierrot appears by the side of his masked Pierrette as if sharing some sham confidence, whilst the disproportionately larger version of the type on the other side of the composition sings and plays the mandolin over-fawningly for his sovereign. This Pierrot kneels beside an exotically costumed turbaned boy servant who proffers up a decanter and glasses on a tray. The group has, I think, little to do with a colonialist perspective; it is rather about the playing of the senses in exposing themes of play-acting, fantasy in which the beautiful is provocatively mixed up with the grotesque.

  • 41 See Valerie Mainz, ‘Hercules, his Club and the French Revolution’, in Valerie Mainz and Emma Staffo (...)

26Behind and beyond all of this, another servant of the court holds back the rearing, hydra snake heads of what the reader/viewer will learn, in subsequent plates—such as ‘Above the Abyss’ (vol. I, p. 182), ‘The Twenty-Five Millions of France’ (vol. II, p. 68) and ‘Democracy Enthroned’ (vol. II, p. 92)—is the monstrous stand-in for democracy. The monster is still being kept at bay but there is no reference here to the strength of the semi-divine super-hero Hercules who had famously killed this mythical creature.41 What this grouping invites us to address is, I think, the human failure to contain the monstrously looming, entwining menace that democracy, in the eyes of Sullivan, was to pose for the French monarchy.

27The frontispiece suggests that the lead up to and the causes of the French Revolution are about top-down corruption in the temporal realm of court culture. The focus here is on the misuse of privilege and greed, on lust, decadence, hedonism and frivolity. There is nothing here about the hardships, injustices and inequalities of corporate systems of governance, nor is there anything here about the daily realities of poverty, of hardship and of want which the wider population of France experienced during the eighteenth century, all of which Carlyle’s history certainly expounded on. Whilst some of Sullivan’s full-page plates, particularly those of volume II, such as the one entitled ‘The Demonstration of Women’ (vol. II, p. 12) graphically expose displays of yearning, naked hunger and want, this is done in a deliberate and obviously emotive mode using devices of anachronism, unreason and lack of perspective.

Fig. 4: Edmund J. Sullivan, ‘Democracy Enthroned,’ in The French Revolution: A History, 1910, vol. II opposite page 92, photographic line block, 15cm x 11cm

Fig. 5: Edmund J. Sullivan, sketch for ‘Democracy Enthroned,’ pencil on paper, sketchbook size 20.3 cm x 16.3 cm, Victoria and Albert Museum, E7-1973 (©Victoria and Albert Museum, used with their permission for non-commercial purposes : https://collections.vam.ac.uk/​item/​O562001/​sketchbook-containing-preliminary-studies-by-drawing-sullivan/​)

28The full-page plate of ‘Democracy Enthroned’ (fig. 4) has been placed near the start of volume II in Carlyle’s book division ‘Parliament First’ that covers the deliberations of the Legislative Assembly.42 The picture is opposite a page of text dealing with the rise to prominence of what were to become leading Girondin politicians, such as Étienne Clavière and Jean-Marie Roland de la Platière, so, again, the congruence with the accompanying text is indirect and allusive and partly evolves from the series of other inventive plates produced by Sullivan, not Carlyle. What Sullivan has done here is to invert revolutionary uses of the hydra of despotism that had featured in the print culture of late eighteenth-century France. The forces of the Revolution had been shown beating down and overwhelming those who opposed first the nascent Revolution and then the subsequent more radical movements as in, for instance, the two etchings Le Despotisme terrassé43 and L’Hydre aristocratique44. In 1910, it was, however, not the monster of despotism but the monster of democracy that held sway in Sullivan’s picturing.

29The creature is seated on a throne holding on to an orb and fleurs de lys sceptre in its clawed hand. His most prominent, spitting, serpent head is the only one to have a crown. Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, costumed as eighteenth-century French citizens and shorn of all signs of royal regalia, are held motionless beneath the monster’s gigantic clawed talons. They are inert, not yet dead but unlikely to be just asleep. The foreground of the composition has a youth crouching in despair but still being sheltered within enfolding giant eagle wings. To the sides, small, naked, winged cupids fly away in fear, despair and horror on the billowing clouds that surround the centrally placed monstrous apparition. In spite of the fantasy elements here, the distortions of scale and of perspective, the flamboyance and cruelty of the visual elaboration, this is all still a carefully structured composition in which each of the separate figurative features contributes meaningfully to the singular conception of the whole.

  • 45 This is in stark contrast to the use of the liberty bonnet in the work of Walter Crane, a noted con (...)

30The preliminary pencil drawing for the print (fig. 5) reveals something more about the artist’s studied approach. The superimposed pencil strokes extract out the finalised formal solution in a layering of interpretative possibilities that are being visually conceived. The drawing has something that is reminiscent here of the late Michelangelo whilst also being perhaps prescient of the series of ‘screaming’ Popes by Francis Bacon. The grasping of the royal regalia by the enthroned monster of democracy is not present in the drawing and was thus arrived at during quite a late stage in the processes of the working of this out. On the other hand, and according to the annotated words of the drawing, the ‘caps of liberty on heads’ topping some of the hydra heads of the drawing were omitted from the print. This makes sense, for such inclusions would negate the full force of the usurped royal attributes of orb and sceptre. The general absence in all of Sullivan’s imagery of revolutionary emblems and symbols, such as the cockade, the fasces, the triangles of equality, the pikes, the distinctive sans-culotte garments of striped trousers, the clogs, the waistcoats etc., is, indeed, striking.45 In the second volume, the penultimate full-page plate of the book is entitled ‘Napoleon. (The triple crown, and the bubble bait.)’ (vol. II, p. 406). It has Napoleon, standing on two sarcophagi, crowning himself with a wreath-bedecked liberty bonnet crown. This can now be interpreted as a bitterly ironic functioning of what had come to be a recognised symbol of Revolution. And so what has been brought out above all in the monstrosity of ‘Democracy Enthroned’ is condemnation of the mob, something that was very much present in 1910.

Critical Receptions

  • 46 The argument in this paragraph is taken from Jane Beckett and Deborah Cherry (eds.), The Edwardian (...)
  • 47 On 17 July 1914 the portrait of Thomas Carlyle by John Everett Millais in the National Portrait Gal (...)
  • 48 See further David Powell, The Edwardian Crisis. Britain 1901-1914, Basingstoke and London, Macmilla (...)

31The monarch, Edward VII, ruled in Britain from 22 January 1901 until his death on 6 May 1910. His reign has been characterised as one of harmony, opulence, leisure and pleasure, a golden age of great land ownership that held sway before the devastations and deprivations of the First World War irrevocably swept away an English establishment that had assumed the benefits of a white, male, hierarchical and imperial social order.46 Yet, this was also a period in Britain of great industrialization, of urban growth, particularly in London, of much social unrest and of radical challenges to the established social order from the Trade Union movement, the newly emergent Labour party, Irish MPs and militant suffragettes.47 There were two general elections in 1910 due to a constitutional crisis caused by the rejection of the Liberal Government’s People’s Budget in the Tory-dominated House of Lords. The Parliament Bill of August 1911 then took away from the House of Lords the power to veto legislation permanently.48

  • 49 The Studio, no. 51, 1911, p. 170. From the time of its first issue in April 1893, with its cover il (...)
  • 50 The Athenæum, no. 4330, 22 October 1910, p. 497.
  • 51 The Athenæum, no. 4331, 29 October 1910, p. 528-529; 4332, 5 November 1910, p. 563-564; no. 4334, 1 (...)

32Unsurprisingly perhaps, The Studio, one of the most prominent magazines devoted to fine and applied art, praised Sullivan’s work in these volumes for the dignity and beauty of his stylistic achievements whilst also alluding to the unpleasantness of some of the symbolic content.49 The substantial review in The Athenæum referred back to Sullivan’s earlier successful work on Sartor Resartus and detected an evident sympathy between the author and the illustrator but qualified this sympathy in The French Revolution, ‘as the sympathy of two artists of kindred weaknesses. Both are extraordinarily copious – lavish in their use of symbolism, and inclined to secure continuity of effect rather by vehement execution than by really compact and logical planning.’50 The review commented at greater length on the portrait depictions, which provoked an acrimonious exchange, in three further issues of the newspaper, between an anonymous correspondent, Sullivan, Armand Dayot, and the Editor of the newspaper.51 In the end, Sullivan’s aggressive defence of his unacknowledged use of the work of Dayot is somewhat unconvincing.

  • 52 The Athenæum, no. 4338, 17 December 1910, p. 758-760. Alfonse Aulard, The French Revolution: a Poli (...)
  • 53 Ibid., p. 759.

33That the topic of the French Revolution was newsworthy in 1910 is further demonstrated in the same newspaper for, a month later, it published a review of the first English translation of Alfonse Aulard’s political history of the French Revolution.52 The critique of this history opened with praise for the industriousness of Aulard in bringing to light and classifying national records. Both Taine, considered to have been an anti-Jacobin, and his challenger disciple Aulard, considered to be pro Jacobin, were then accused of sacrificing literary for scientific value in their desire to reproduce detail. Aulard was thought to be in sympathy with the Radical-Socialist ‘bloc’ that had governed France since the beginning of the century and of wanting to show that ideas currently being practised by that party in the Republic were to be found in the Revolution. For this newspaper, the Revolution had, instead, been a middle-class movement, essentially individualist and thus undemocratic in its principles: ‘Whilst it is possible that the Convention might have set up a democratic constitution if Republican politicians had not celebrated the establishment of the Republic by beheading one another, it seems to be certain that whatever shape events might have taken, nothing would have displaced the individualism of the Revolution’.53

  • 54 The Spectator, 15 October 1910, p. 607-608.
  • 55 Ibid., p. 608.

34There was no review of the 1910 re-edition of the work by Carlyle in The Spectator, although, in its review of the English translation of Aulard’s political history, this journal contrasted the unreliability of Carlyle, ‘a prophet, fervent, lurid but with more heat than light, irritating and worse when one desires facts and clearness’, to the diligence of Aulard, as ‘a thoroughly good workman’, in bringing English thinkers to a better understanding of the French Revolution.54 The review ended with a warning : ‘Let us profit, then, in our own present by the experiences of France: recognising the danger of uprooting Constitutional foundations, and of playing too lightly with first principles, which are the most explosive of all things. And may we never forget that tyranny may come from below in forms which are far more disastrous and irrevocable than any misgovernment and oppression from above.’55

  • 56 Edmund J. Sullivan, ‘The Grotesque’, Form, A Quarterly of the Arts, 1/1, April, 1916, London and Ne (...)
  • 57 Ibid., p. 6.
  • 58 Ibid., p. 8.
  • 59 Ibid., p. 11.

35This contribution has spanned some critical receptions of the French Revolution in Britain, but I finish now by returning to the work of the graphic artist, E. J. Sullivan. What seems to have been a very short-lived, experimental journal published in 1916 contained an article by Sullivan on ‘The Grotesque’ that was illustrated by the journal’s editors, Austin O. Spare and Francis Marsden.56 His article opens with a recollection of the experience of the Catholic ritual of High Mass as celebrated on quiet Sundays and feast days in the Church attached to the author’s old school of Mount St Mary’s, when the brutal sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ ‘was etherealized; symbolical only in gentle forms of bread and wine.’57 For Sullivan, days were filled with peace and beauty but nights were of fear and of horror of Hell. The article then gives examples of the grotesque made by the hand of the Creator. In this discussion, he then mentions that he had, at first, thought of using Elephantiasis as the central symbol of his scheme for Carlyle’s French Revolution: ‘I made sketches of Marat and Marie Antoinette, as it were as twins, suckled at the right and left breasts of a symbolical pre-Revolution France, suffering from starvation on one side, and gluttony on the other – but when I came to the point it was too horrible to carry out – even for me.’58 Sullivan maintains that contrasting the beautiful with the grotesque might serve to educate. After recalling the experience of a grotesque dream, the contribution ends with an assertion that even though the grotesque is so largely a matter of order and presentation, ‘We are rooted in slime; yet out of the slime our brains are nourished and reach the stars.’59 Such words can, I think, help to account for Sullivan’s achievements in his picturing of the works of Carlyle. Whether Carlyle would have approved is, of course, another matter.

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Notes

1 Thomas Carlyle. The French Revolution: A History, London, Chapman and Hall Ltd., 1910, 2 volumes; the first edition being Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution, London, James Fraser, 1837.

2 A partial catalogue of the collection is available online at https://explore.library.leeds.ac.uk/special-collections-explore?archiveRefCode=%22Pencheon%20Cpllection%22, accessed 06/01/2020. A ‘Survey of outstanding material for retrospective conversion and retrospective cataloguing in CURL Libraries’ of 2004 awards a category of ‘high research importance’ to the Pencheon Collection in the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds. The collection is particularly rich in the lives, memoirs, biographies and autobiographies of émigré survivors and, indeed, of émigré women survivors.

3 Chapman and Hall advertised the edition in the London press during October and November 1910; see, for instance, The Globe, Wednesday, 19 October 1910, p. 5. Another such advertisement appeared in The Globe on Friday, 25 November, 1910. At this time too, an additional luxury edition limited to 150 copies on Hand-made Paper with the full-page plates on Japanese Vellum went on sale at £3 3s net. For the illustrated ‘gift’ book at the time of art nouveau, see Michael Felmingham, The Illustrated Gift Book 1880-1930, Aldershot, Wildwood House, 1989, as well as John Russell Taylor, The Art Nouveau Book in Britain, London, Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1966, and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, The Artist as Critic : Bitextuality in Fin-de-Siècle Illustrated Books, Aldershot, Scolar Press, 1995.

4 The white lily is the emblem of the Bourbon monarchy, but it had also been widely used to denote the purity of the Virgin Mary in, for instance, the imagery of the Pre-Raphaelites.

5 The publication, Book Practices & Textual Itineraries: Illustrating History/Illustrer l’histoire, Sophie Aymes, Brigitte Friant-Kessler, Maxime Leroy (eds.), Nancy, PUN-Éditions universitaires de Lorraine, 2018, contains a collection of essays on the important topic of the picturing of history. The contribution by Margot Renard, ‘Une image de la division : les illustrations des Histoires de la Révolution française par Auguste Raffet, Tony Johannot et Ary Scheffer en 1834’, p. 53-74, is particularly instructive for what I attempt here and indicates the rich potential of an approach to history making that can address the evolving circumstances of both form and content. Renard suggests, furthermore, that the commemoration of certain events, such as The Tennis Court Oath, rather than an emphasis on ideological principles or on the daily work of the Assemblies, featured in the visual imagery of early nineteenth-century French illustrated histories of the French Revolution. Such imagery was directed at a predominantly bourgeois (la classe moyenne) readership wary of opposing mass, popular revolutionary movements.

6 I intend, after this initial study, to produce further work on these illustrations, and more generally on Sullivan’s voluminous graphic oeuvre. An account of Sullivan’s life and work is given in James Thorpe, E. J. Sullivan, London, Art and Technics, 1948. See also Percy V. Bradshaw, The Art of the Illustrator, London, The Press Art School, 1918, 14th in a series of 20 parts.

7 Thomas Carlyle, Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, London. Chapman and Hall Limited, 1890 [1839] (7 volumes), vol. II, p. 253-263, from Fraser’s Magazine for Town and Country, no.10. For further on Carlyle and the writing of history, see John D. Rosenberg, Carlyle and the Burden of History, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1985.

8 Thomas Carlyle, Critical and Miscellaneous Essays, op. cit., p. 254.

9 Ibid., p. 257. These concerns help to explain the nuance in the full title given of Carlyle’s history of the French Revolution, The French Revolution: A History.

10 Ibid., p. 259.

11 Ibid., p. 262.

12 For the problematic initial press reception of Carlyle’s history in 1837, see Robert T. Kerlin, ‘Contemporary Criticism of Carlyle’s “French Revolution”, The Sewanee Review, 20/3, July 1912, p. 282-296: https://www.jstor.org/stable/27532548, accessed 27/07/2018.

13 John Stuart Mill, ‘Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution: A History, The Westminster Review, no. 27, July 1837, p. 17.

14 The French Revolution by T. Carlyle. The Times, Thursday, 3 August 1836, issue 16485, p. 6 ; digital archive 1785-2012: http://find.galegroup.com.ezproxy2.londonlibrary.co.uk, accessed 28/07/18.

15 Alphonse Aulard, ‘Carlyle Historien de la Révolution française’, La Révolution française : Revue historique, Société de l’histoire de la Révolution française, Paris, 1912, p. 193-205; source: http://gallica.bnf.fr, accessed 08/01/20.

16 Ibid., p. 197 and 200. The citation is taken from Carlyle, The French Revolution, 1910, vol. II, p. 446: ‘History, looking back over this France through long time…- confesses mournfully that there is no period to be met with, in which the general Twenty-Five Millions of France suffered less than in this period which they name Reign of Terror.’

17 Ibid., p. 202.

18 Carlyle, The French Revolution, op. cit., vol. II, p. 456.

19 Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus: The Life & Opinions of Herr Teufelsdröckh, London, George Bell and Sons, 1898. A useful account of Sartor is given in G. B. Tennyson, ‘Sartor’ called ‘Resartus’ : The Genesis, Structure and Style of Thomas Carlyle’s First Major Work, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1965.

20 Malcolm C. Salaman, ‘Edmund J. Sullivan: A Master Book-Illustrator’, The Studio, LXXXVIII, no. 381, December 1924, p. 303-308.

21 G. B. Tennyson, ‘Sartor’…, op. cit., p. 155.

22 Between 1885 and his move to London in 1889, Sullivan had been taught at the Hastings School of Art, Brassey Institute, where his father, Michael Sullivan, was headmaster: Percy V. Bradshaw, The Art of the Illustrator, op. cit., p. 2.

23 Ibid., p. vii.

24 Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, op. cit., p. viii.

25 Ibid., p. x.

26 Ibid., p. xiv. The illustration appears on p. 261.

27 Ibid., p. 265.

28 Ibid., p. 260.

29 Edmund J. Sullivan, The Art of Illustration, New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1921, p. 61; see also Id., Line: An Art Study, London, Chapman and Hall Ltd., 1922, p. 47-48. A recent study—Andrei Pop, A Forest of Symbols: Art, Science, and Truth in the Long Nineteenth Century, New York, Zone Books, 2019—considers symbolism in art, ideas and culture, particularly in the aftermath of Impressionism and with reference to the subjective response, imaginative self-insertion and the experience of the material means of meaning-making. Its discussion of the appeal of Poe’s ‘The Raven’ to Baudelaire, Bracquemond, Mallarmé, Manet, Gauguin, Gustave Doré and others may well be read with reference to some of Sullivan’s work. The depiction of ravens in the plate entitled ‘Le Roi Fainéant’ (The French Revolution, vol. I, p. 213) is striking and will be discussed elsewhere. I thank Anthony Hamber for drawing my attention to Alfred Hitchcock’s recollection of having been taught by Edmund J. Sullivan – see John Russell Taylor, Hitch: The Life and Times, London, A and C Black, 2013, Introduction, accessed 29/01/2020 via Bloomsbury Reader.

30 See further Arthur Waugh, A Hundred Years of Publishing: Being the Story of Chapman and Hall, Ltd., London, Chapman and Hall, 1930. For the importance of Carlyle’s history to the novel by Dickens, see Colin Jones, Josephine McDonagh and John Mee (eds.), Charles Dickens, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and the French Revolution, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009; particularly Gareth Stedman Jones, ‘The Redemptive Powers of Violence? Carlyle, Marx and Dickens’, p. 41-63.

31 H. G. Wells, A Modern Utopia, London, Chapman and Hall Ltd., 1905, p. viii.

32 Billie Melman, The Culture of History: English Uses of the Past 1800-1953, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 86-88.

33 An early attempt at a diary covering a short period in 1888 is held in the Edmund Joseph Sullivan archive in the V & A Archive of Art and Design (AAD/2013/7/1). The entries reveal the author’s dissatisfaction with his status, particularly when visiting, as a lowly drawing master, the house of Ionides. A. S. Hartrick, in A Painter’s Pilgrimage Through Fifty Years, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1939, p. 68, recalled Sullivan’s initial arrival in London at the age of 19 in 1889 when he was to work on The Graphic and then The Daily Graphic; according to Hartrick, Sullivan’s experience had been a combination of Baxter in Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday and G. F. Watts as the ideal of what high art should be.

34 Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution, op. cit., vol. I, p. 6.

35 See, for instance, the Apocalypse series woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, (woodcut, 1498, 39.7 cm x 28.7 cm, Royal Collection Trust).

36 Carlyle’s account of Louis XV included a reference to the sovereign’s inability to react appropriately when, out hunting, he had encountered one of his Peasant subjects bearing the coffin of a brother who had died of hunger, Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution, op. cit., p. 20.

37 The large noses and swarthy complexions of these satyrs were used by the artist for representations of Jews in in the chapter ‘Old Clothes’ of Sartor Resartus on p. 279 and on p. 281. During the First World War, in Sullivan’s authored book, The Kaiser’s Garland (London, William Heineman, 1915), and in his Ministry of War work, Jews were, again, associated with greed and the devil. The racist stereotyping of some of Sullivan’s work is a topic that requires further study.

38 Sullivan makes extensive use of different types of ape in The Kaiser’s Garland; in The French Revolution, subsequent appearances are in Volume II and in skeleton form in‘The Reign of Terror’ (Vol.II p. 124), ‘The Gods are Athirst’ (Vol. II p. 154) and ‘The Evil Eye and the Apes of Death’ (Vol. II, p. 204).

39 Other plates in which the figure of Pierrot provides key import include ’Constitution Building and the Unlucky Feather’ (Vol. I, p. 350), ‘Folly v. Fate’ (Vol. I, p. 376), ‘The Evil Eye and the Apes of Death’ (Vol. II, p. 204).

40 See Adolphe Willette 1857-1926 : J’étais bien plus heureux quand j’étais malheureux’, Paris, Lienart éditions, 2014 ; Robert Storey, Pierrots on the Stage of Desire : Nineteenth Century French Literary Artists and the Comic Pantomime, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1985. Pierrot also featured in the work of Aubrey Beardsley in illustrations to Ernest Dowson, The Pierrot of the Minute, London, Leonard Smithers, 1897.

41 See Valerie Mainz, ‘Hercules, his Club and the French Revolution’, in Valerie Mainz and Emma Stafford (eds.), The Exemplary Hercules from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment and Beyond, Brill, 2020, p. 292-319.

42 Further work needs now to be done on the processes of selection and placement of all the imaginative plates and, indeed, of those of the 124 portrait depictions.

43 1789, 233 cm x 294 cm, Bibliothèque nationale de France, M98810: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6942925h

44 1789, 245 cm x 309 cm, Bibliothèque nationale de France, M98812 : https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b6942926x.item

45 This is in stark contrast to the use of the liberty bonnet in the work of Walter Crane, a noted contemporary book illustrator, close to William Morris and instrumental in both the Arts and Craft Movement and international socialism. A studio photograph of Crane with his son Lionel in 1887 shows him at work wearing a cap of liberty. See Jenny Uglow, Walter Crane, Thames and Hudson, 2019, p. 90.

46 The argument in this paragraph is taken from Jane Beckett and Deborah Cherry (eds.), The Edwardian Era, London, Phaidon Press and Barbican Art Gallery, 1987, Introduction, p. 1-15.

47 On 17 July 1914 the portrait of Thomas Carlyle by John Everett Millais in the National Portrait Gallery was slashed by the suffragette Anne Hunt as a protest against the re-arrest of Emily Pankhurst. Carlyle had a been a founder of the National Portrait Gallery. See: https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portraitExtended/mw01085/Thomas-Carlyle, accessed 30/01/2020.

48 See further David Powell, The Edwardian Crisis. Britain 1901-1914, Basingstoke and London, Macmillan Press Ltd., p. 164.

49 The Studio, no. 51, 1911, p. 170. From the time of its first issue in April 1893, with its cover illustration by Aubrey Beardsley, this journal had been in the forefront of promoting black and white illustration.

50 The Athenæum, no. 4330, 22 October 1910, p. 497.

51 The Athenæum, no. 4331, 29 October 1910, p. 528-529; 4332, 5 November 1910, p. 563-564; no. 4334, 19 November 1910, p. 599-600. I am also working on a study of the portrait depictions. These are, indeed, taken in large measure from Armand Dayot, La Révolution française : Constituante, Législative, Convention, Directoire. D’après les peintures, sculptures, gravures, médailles, objets… du temps, Paris, Flammarion, 1896. The situating of the portraits within the Carlyle text are likely to yield further insights.

52 The Athenæum, no. 4338, 17 December 1910, p. 758-760. Alfonse Aulard, The French Revolution: a Political History 1789-1804, translated by Bernard Miall, London, Fisher and Unwin, 1910, 4 vols.,

53 Ibid., p. 759.

54 The Spectator, 15 October 1910, p. 607-608.

55 Ibid., p. 608.

56 Edmund J. Sullivan, ‘The Grotesque’, Form, A Quarterly of the Arts, 1/1, April, 1916, London and New York, John Lane Company, p. 5-11.

57 Ibid., p. 6.

58 Ibid., p. 8.

59 Ibid., p. 11.

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Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 1: Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution, 1910, Cover (26cm x 18cm) and spine.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/lrf/docannexe/image/6604/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 4,4M
Légende Fig. 2: Edmund J. Sullivan, ‘The Critical Pen,’ in Sartor Resartus, 1898, wood engraving, 3.6 cm x 8.8 cm
URL http://journals.openedition.org/lrf/docannexe/image/6604/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 467k
Légende Fig. 3: Edmund J. Sullivan, ‘Corruption, (The Court of Louis, “le bien aimé.”),’ in The French Revolution: A History, 1910, frontispiece to vol. I, photographic line block, 16.6 cm x 10.6 cm
URL http://journals.openedition.org/lrf/docannexe/image/6604/img-3.jpg
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Légende Fig. 4: Edmund J. Sullivan, ‘Democracy Enthroned,’ in The French Revolution: A History, 1910, vol. II opposite page 92, photographic line block, 15cm x 11cm
URL http://journals.openedition.org/lrf/docannexe/image/6604/img-4.jpg
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Légende Fig. 5: Edmund J. Sullivan, sketch for ‘Democracy Enthroned,’ pencil on paper, sketchbook size 20.3 cm x 16.3 cm, Victoria and Albert Museum, E7-1973 (©Victoria and Albert Museum, used with their permission for non-commercial purposes : https://collections.vam.ac.uk/​item/​O562001/​sketchbook-containing-preliminary-studies-by-drawing-sullivan/​)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/lrf/docannexe/image/6604/img-5.jpg
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Valerie Mainz, « Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution: A History, London, Chapman and Hall, 1910, E. J. Sullivan and Me »La Révolution française [En ligne], 23 | 2022, mis en ligne le 29 juin 2022, consulté le 10 août 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lrf/6604 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/lrf.6604

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