"The Christmas Bowl," A Christmas Carol (1843)
"Scrooge and Bob Cratchit"


This is an 8 cm by 6.5 cm wood-block engraving black and white vignette illustration by John Leech and it appears at the end of Stave Five in A Christmas Carol. It shows Scrooge and Bob Cratchit sitting in Scrooge’s office which appears to be decorated for Christmas and together they share smoking bishop. It is a type of mulled wine or punch and was popular in Victorian times around Christmas time. Both men, especially Scrooge, look happy about their encounter given the distance between the two men and how the share the table together so closely. Bob has been told that he will be getting a raise with his salary and Scrooge is happy with his change of heart after the visions the three ghosts have shown him. The furniture in the room and the character’s attire reflect the period which the story is set in as well as the candlelight that is used to light the room. John Leech was also known for doing caricatures which explains why Scrooge’s face appears more detailed and exaggerated compared to the drawings of him throughout the novella. It is an interesting contrast that Leech made this the final illustration of the novella considering his first drawing in the novella (excluding the front piece) is in color and includes Scrooge and Marley’s ghost. Both characters in that image lack the detail in facial expressions but it is noticeable that Scrooge is scared the ghost of a dead friend and pulls his body into the chair in fear. In this final illustration, the two characters look relaxed and happy which also reflects the happy ending of the story where Scrooge learns the true meaning of Christmas and spends the day with Bob’s family.

 Primary source: http://www.victorianweb.org/art/illustration/carol/8.html

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