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Charles Dickens (Ron Embleton)
Great Expectations - Pip meets Magwitch (Original)

Great Expectations - Pip meets Magwitch (Original) by Charles Dickens (Ron Embleton) at The Illustration Art Gallery

Ref: RE0532 (Click for LARGE picture)

Artist: Ron Embleton (biography)
Medium: Pencil on Paper
Size: 11" x 16" (270mm x 400mm)

This is the original Pencil drawing by Ron Embleton.

The novel begins with young Pip visiting the graves of his parents and brothers, where he is surprised by Magwitch: "[a] fearful man, all in coarse gray, with a great iron on his leg. A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with an old rag tied round his head. A man who had been soaked in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped and shivered, and glared and growled; and whose teeth chattered in his head as he seized me by the chin."

Magwitch tricks the seven-year-old boy into believing that he has an accomplice who is a terrible young man who would tear out and eat Pip's heart and liver if Pip did not help them. Magwitch demands Pip to get him wittles (food) and a file. Pip, terrified, steals a pork pie, brandy and a file from his house and brings them to Magwitch the next morning.

On his way he encounters another convict, bruised in the face, who he initially thought was Magwitch and then believes to be the young man Magwitch had told him about. Magwitch, upon hearing about the other escapee, realises that Compeyson has also escaped and, after having eaten, drunk, and filed his leg iron off, he sets off to search for him. He finds him and decides, not caring for his own fate, to take him back to the Hulks. The pair are still struggling when soldiers find and seize them.

Charles Dickens set his story in about 1800, setting his character Abel Magwitch to meet a man called Compeyson at the Epsom Races. Compeyson, Dickens wrote, had been brought up in a boarding school and was an attractive, charming gentleman. Magwitch, at the same time, began a relationship with a mentally unstable woman named Molly, who later stood trial for murder. Jaggers, her defense attorney, convinced the jury that she was too weak to have strangled the woman. Molly was acquitted and became (unknown to Magwitch) Jaggers' maidservant. The story relates that Molly had given birth to Magwitch's daughter, who was about two or three years old at the time of Molly's trial. Molly told Magwitch that she had killed the child, and as far as Magwitch knew, his daughter had indeed died.

Later in the novel Magwitch and Compeyson are accused of putting stolen notes in circulation. Compeyson convinces Magwitch that they should have separate defences and no communication. At the trial, Compeyson appeared as a gentleman, while Magwitch had to sell his clothes to be able to pay for Jaggers. The prosecution placed most of the guilt on Magwitch, who realized that Compeyson had always intended to scapegoat him should they be caught.

In the end, Magwitch is condemned to fourteen years' imprisonment, while Compeyson receives seven. Magwitch and Compeyson are imprisoned on the same prison ship. Magwitch attempts to kill Compeyson. He is taken to the black hole (a solitary confinement cell) after landing his first punch, but he manages to escape some time around Christmas of 1812. Professionally matted ready for framing.


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Charles Dickens (Ron Embleton)

Charles Dickens (Ron Embleton)