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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 664 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BARON DE CAMUS AND MOUNTANY COUNT VON MAXIMILIAN ULYSSES BROWNE (1705-1757), Austrian field marshal, was born at Basel on the 23rd of 'October 1705. His father (Ulysses Freiherr v. Browne, d. 1731) was an Irish exile of 169o, who entered the imperial service and in 1716 was made a count of Pickwick was in danger from the want of a capable interpreter for the illustrations. Dickens knew Browne slightly as the illustrator of his little pamphlet Sunday under Three Heads, and probably this slight knowledge of his work stood the draughts-man in good stead. In the original edition of Pickwick, issued in shilling monthly parts from early in 1836 until the end of 1837, the first seven plates were drawn by Robert Seymour, a clever illustrator who committed suicide in April 1836. The next two plates were by R. W. Buss, an otherwise successful portrait-painter and lecturer, but they were so poor that a change was imperative. Browne and W. M. Thackeray called independently at the publishers' office with specimens of their powers for Dickens's inspection. The novelist preferred Browne. Browne's first two etched plates for Pickwick were signed " Nemo," but the third was signed "Phiz," a pseudonym which was retained in future. When asked to explain why he chose this name he answered that the change from " Nemo " to "Phiz " was made " to harmonize better with Dickens's Boz." Possibly Browne adopted it to conceal his identity, hoping one day to become famous as a painter. It is to be noted, however, that " Phiz " is usually attached to his better work and H. K. B. to his less successful drawings. " Phiz " undoubtedly created Sam Weiler, so far as his well-known figure is concerned, as Seymour had created Pickwick. Dickens and " Phiz " were personally good friends in early days, and in 1838 travelled together to Yorkshire to see the schools of which Nicholas Nickleby became the hero; afterwards they made several journeys of this nature in company to facilitate the illustrator's work. The other Dickens characters which " Phiz " realized most successfully are perhaps Squeers, Micawber, Guppy, Major Bagstock, Mrs Gamp, Tom Pinch and, above all, David Copper-field. Of the books by Dickens which " Phiz " illustrated the best are David Copperfield, Pickwick, Dombey and Son, Martin Chuzzlewit and Bleak House. Browne made several drawings for Punch in early days and also towards the end of his life; his ,chief work in this direction being the clever design for the wrapper which was used for eighteen months from January 1842. He also contributed to Punch's Pocket Books. In addition to his work for Dickens, " Phiz " illustrated over twenty of Lever's novels (the most successful being Harry Lorrequer, Charles O'Malley, Jack Hinton and the Knight of Gwynne). He also illustrated Harrison Ainsworth's and Frank Smedley's novels. Mervyn Clitheroe by Ainsworth is one of the most admirable of the artist's works. Browne was in continual employment by publishers until 1867, when he had a stroke of paralysis. Although he recovered slightly and made many illustrations on wood, they were by comparison inferior productions which the draughtsman's admirers would willingly ignore. In 1878 he was awarded an annuity by the Royal Academy. He gradually became worse in health, until he died on the 8th of July 1882. Most of Browne's work was etched on steel plates because these yielded a far larger edition than copper. Browne was annoyed at some of his etchings being transferred to stone by the publishers and printed as lithographic reproductions. Partly with the view to prevent this treatment of his work 11e employed a machine to rule a series of lines over the plate in order to obtain what appeared to be a tint; when manipulated with acid this tint gave an effect somewhat resembling mezzotint, which at that time it was found practically impossible to transfer to stone. The illustrations executed by Browne are particularly noteworthy because they realized exactly what the reader most desired to see represented. So skilful was he in drawing and composition that no part of the story was avoided by reason of the elaborateness of the subject. Whatever was the best incident for illustration was always the one selected. See D. Croat Thomson, Hablo"t Knight Browne, " Phiz": Life and Letters (London, 1884) ; John Forster, Life of Charles Dickens (London, 1871—1874) ; F. G. Kitton, " Phiz ": A Memoir (London, 1882) ; Charles Dickens and his Illustrators (London, 1899) ; M. H. Spielmann, The History of Punch (London, 1895). (D. C. T.)
JAMES BROWNE (1793–1841)
PETER BROWNE (?1665-1735)

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