Hugh Thomson’s Illustrated PRIDE & PREJUDICE

One wonderful memory of visiting Chawton Cottage – Jane Austen’s home from 1809 until her death, was the hallway lined with Hugh Thomson’s drawings for Pride and Prejudice.  So a BIG surprise when a copy of that very book was found ONLINE via the Internet Archive! And what a beautiful book it is, with a golden peacock filling the front cover, and what seems like hundreds of illustrations on the inside. Take a look…..

UPDATE: Thrilled to see that Ms. Place’s happiness at locating this book equals my own. Isn’t it gorgeous?!? And even signed by the illustrator. I cannot stress more the importance of such endeavors for those of us far from large research libraries, and I applaud everyone involved in such a noble cause. Many 19th-century books are hard to get, even as interlibrary loans. They are sometimes fragile; oftentimes they are locked away in “Special Collections” and do not circulate. This same site, Internet Archive, offers Thomson’s Sense and Sensibility. Watch our BIBLIOGRAPHY page for more such jewels, as we find them; and, please, let us know of similar Internet Archive or sites as you discover them.

16 thoughts on “Hugh Thomson’s Illustrated PRIDE & PREJUDICE

  1. I have an original copy of this book, bought last year as a 21st birthday present for my girlfriend. The peacock cover is exquisite and the illustrations inside are stunning! I must confess, I didn’t really know just what a find the book was when I first bought it!

    Needless to say, my partner was thrilled!


  2. Byatt’s novel POSSESSION grabs the reader with her opening description of a book that Roland knows belonged to his beloved Randolph Henry Ash, the poet at the center of his academic researches. A truly loving tribute to a mere “book” — so treasure your copy of Thomson’s P&P, Keith. A lucky find, indeed!


  3. I’m completely amazed… I casually and flippantly bought this edition of Pride and Prejudice on a trip to London back in ’08, and now I’m just discovering for the first time how rare and collectible and sought after it actually is. I like to show my “pretty and old P&P” and friends and family, but never realized how fortunate I truly am to have it. I’m sorry, I’m not meaning to brag, but I’m seriously just flabbergasted that I’ve had it this whole time without realizing the full extent of it’s awesomeness!


  4. I have a good hardback copy of the 1894 edition of this book, with inscription by the illustrator “to J. Comyns Carr in acknowledgement of all I owe to his friendship and advise, these illustrations are gratefully inscribed.
    Hugh Thomson”. The gold on the edges of the pages and on the cover is in v. good condition. The spine is slightly worn top and bottom. If you know anyone who would like to buy this book they can contact me on the above email. I’m thinking of putting it on eBay soon, but am getting together a list of my books for sale first. I can email photos of cover and of inside inscription etc.

    Best wishes

    Denise Fenn


    • Denise have you sold the 1894 peacock edition of Jane Austen’s book yet? I would love the opportunity to buy it from you. I am after a copy for my daughter’s 21st birthday who is an avid Jane Austen reader.

      Please let me know if it is till available and what price you are willing to sell it for.

      Kind regards


      • Hi Melinda.
        I have a copy of the 1894 edition of Pride and prejudice. Inside there is a personal message to J Comys Carr in acknowledgement of all I owe to his freindship and advise, these illustration are gratefully inscribed, Hugh Thompson.
        Regards John.


  5. I recently discovered that I have a copy of the 1894 peacock edition of Pride and Prejudice with what I have learned is a facsimile inscription by the illustrator, Hugh Thomson to the critic and author, J. Comyns Carr. I am puzzled as to why they would publish an edition with a facsimile of the illustrator’s inscription. Does anyone know the history on this? [John, sorry to disillusion you, but my inscription says exactly what yours does and the very reputable dealer I took it to, took one look and informed it was a facsimile.]

    Beyond my curiousity, I am interested in selling this book, but don;t quite know how to go about it, although U have a general idea of its value. It is in very good condition and I can provide details, photos, and depending on geography, a look at the book to any interested buyer.

    Thanks, Dory


    • Dory,

      It was a common thing to have a facsimile of an author’s signature in a special edition of a work or collected works – I cannot tell you the number of people coming into my store with a “signed” Ulysses S. Grant, or Mark Twain, or Alcott, etc – it gave some authenticity to an edition to have such an autograph – in the P&P case, this edition is known for its Thomson illustrations so the reason his autograph is included – I would need to research this further as to why the inscription to Carr – I am away from my library at present…

      As for selling your book – this is not a selling site, unless anyone sees this and is interested in getting in touch with you. I am an antiquarian bookseller, but I mostly keep these two things separate – I would need to see the book and research it and make an offer – but I would suggest you take it to the reputable dealer you spoke with and see what he/she would offer you for it; or pay them to appraise it so you know the fair market value and then offer it for sale on ebay….

      Thanks for visiting,


  6. Deb,

    Thanks, this is very helpful. I have done a little research on Carr and he was a very prominent critic, playwright, and author of the day.



  7. I am very interested in purchasing the peacock edition for my 14 year old daughter for Christmas. She is in love with P&P and it would thrill her to have this. Please contact me with pricing if you desire to sell. Thank you so much! My e-mail is


  8. Dory,
    I personally have been searching for the famous peacock copy of pride and prejudice and would be interested in purchasing it if it is still within your possession. Let me know, thanks!


    • Can someone please explain to me why this version is special? Love the book but I just don;t get it. I inhereited a ton of old books but every time I bring them anywhere people are interested in this one? I don;t get it. Not like they aren;t with the others like Moby Dick etc, but why are people fixated on this one?



      • Hello Mike – it is just that this was one of the earlier illustrated editions of Jane Austen, and Hugh Thomson and his illustrated works are very collectible. The cover on this “peacock” edition makes it all the more desirable – and while sometimes taste cannot be accounted for in the collectible world, in this case I think it is more than warranted.

        Thanks for stopping by!


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