Dec 16, 2021 - Sale 2592

Sale 2592 - Lot 27

Price Realized: $ 1,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
FELIX DARLEY (1822-1888)
"The Grindstone." Frontispiece illustration published in Chapter II, Book the Third, of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities. Works of Charles Dickens, Household Edition. 55 vols. Illustrated by F. O. C. Darley and John Gilbert (New York: Sheldon and Co., 1863). Graphite, ink, and sepia on stiff paper. 13x11 inches on 17x14-inch sheet. Signed "F.O.C. Darley, fecit" in lower left image.

The image refers to the scene from Dickens's classic novel in which the mob at Saint Antoine, reacting to the breakdown of civil authority in the midst of the September Massacres, sharpens its weapons in the courtyard of Tellson's Bank, Paris. The passage is: "Shouldering one another to get next at the sharpening-stone, were men stripped to the waist, with the stain all over their limbs and bodies." An observation of the image by Victorian scholar Philip V. Allingham notes that Darley lends the figures a more noble tone, rather than depicting the raw savagery of the author's words (

Provenance: Christie's NY (East), May 23, 1994; Private collection, New York.