Edmund Garrett's illustrations to Jane Eyre


Edmund H Garrett produced these monochrome illustrations for an 1897 edition of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. In total, there are 16 full-page etchings, as well as a number of smaller prints embedded within the text.

Who is Edmund Garrett?

Garrett was a renowned American illustrator, author and painter who produced illustrations from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. A prolific worker often in demand, he created images for numerous works of literature by authors ranging from Austen to Tennyson. Primarily, the illustrations are produced as woodcuts and etchings.

Garrett's approach to the text

Some of Garrett’s illustrations are classical representations true to the text. In others, however, the artist playfully engages with the text. The etching entitled, ‘You don’t hesitate to take a place at my side, do you?’ shows Jane and Rochester sitting closely together, their arms appearing to touch, surrounded by an idyllic frame of flowers and trees.

Indeed, Garrett frequently visualises the relationships between two characters. Brocklehurst is drawn with disproportionate limbs and a figure that contrasts against the background, making him appear to loom imposingly before the child Jane.

Garrett’s final etching depicts Bertha’s suicide and the burning of Thornfield. Again this striking image appears to come from Garrett’s imagination, as it is not directly described within the text. Bertha appears supernatural, her legs disappearing into darkness, her hair and clothing resembling the flames in the background. As in Garrett’s other images, he captures a great sense of movement. Unlike other contemporary illustrations, Garrett does not draw on physical racial stereotypes to portray Bertha.

Full title:
Jane Eyre; Illustrated by Edmund H Garrett
estimated 1897, London
Book / Illustration / Image
Charlotte Brontë, Edmund Garrett [illustrator]
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

Related articles

Echoes of Empire

Article by:
Tim Youngs
Power and politics

Professor Tim Youngs considers how Victorian authors chronicled and questioned Britain’s imperial expansion.

Orphans in fiction

Article by:
John Mullan
Childhood and children's literature, The novel 1832–1880

Why do orphans appear so frequently in 19th-century fiction? Professor John Mullan reflects on the opportunities they provide for authors, considering some of the most famous examples of the period.

Jane Eyre and the 19th-century woman

Article by:
Sally Shuttleworth
The novel 1832–1880, Gender and sexuality

Professor Sally Shuttleworth explores how Charlotte Brontë challenges 19th-century conceptions of appropriate female behaviour through the creation of a heroine who works, demands respect and combines self-control with passion and rebellion.

Related collection items

Related people

Related works

Jane Eyre

Created by: Charlotte Brontë

Charlotte Brontë’s (1816–1855) iconic novel of 1847 is subtitled ‘An Autobiography’. It ...