The Diadem by Hablot Browne

browne, the diadem2.jpg
Hablot Browne (1815-1882), Original drawing for the title page of The Diadem: a Book for the Boudoir, 1838. Watercolor on paper. Robert H. Taylor Collection (RHT), Rare Books and Special Collections. Gift of Robert H. Taylor, Class of 1930.

browne, the diadem.jpg

Hablot (pronounced Hay Blow) Knight Browne (1815-1882) is best known to Charles Dickens fans as an illustrator called Phiz but the artist should also be remembered for a great deal of work beyond Dickens’s ten novels. Browne created images for books by Charles Lever, Frank Smedley, and Harrison Ainsworth, along with many others.

Browne’s career began as an apprentice in the early 1830s and he was already collaborating with Dickens when he took this commission to make designs for the British gift book series Diadem. He created more than this one drawing but since it is the one we have at Princeton, it is the one I am highlighting here. A very nice article about “gift books,” with a bibliography, was posted by Kevin Mac Donnell at

For more of Browne’s original art work at Princeton University, see also

browne, teh diadem3.jpg

The Diadem, edited by Miss Louisa H. Sheridan (London: Smith, Elder and Co. …, printed by Stewart and Murray, Old Bailey, [1838]). Transferred to Graphic Arts collection GA 2012- in process.