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Chapter XL


Size: 36 cm x 59 cm

Pip and a watchman of the Temple chambers look for an intruder on the stairways, who is cowering beneath in the shadows.

The first chapter of the third volume picks up right after the end of volume two. On a stormy night, the convict Magwitch revealed himself to Pip. After getting him accommodated in Herbert's empty room, Pip falls exhausted into a sleep in his armchair, of which he wakes up later in the wee hours, in a dark room with all lights extinguished. 

The new chapter then continues with him searching for a light at the lodge at the bottom of the stairs in the building. On the way down the stairs, he stumbles upon a figure cowering in the shadows. Alarmed, he rushes to the watchman in the lodge to investigate the person under a light. Back again,  the hiding man is, however, not to be found again, despite them looking up and down the stairs. 

In the end, Pip asks the watchman if he saw another person come in besides the convict, and, to his great distress, the watchman confirms having seen a man sticking to the convict like a shadow. 

Thus apprehended, it marks the start of a race to get the convict out of this man's reach, who turns out to be a malefactor bent on settling counts with Magwitch.

About the composition:

Regarding the topic itself of Pip looking for the intruder, the novel does not waste more than a sentence, yet the scene seemed to me interesting enough for an illustration given the unusual setting of people on a staircase. The rest of the chapter eventually tells of the encounter of Pip and Magwitch and Herbert, which is in itself much more captivating to the reader, yet not very exciting to draw - just three persons standing in a room. However, the action involved in going up and down the staircase, as well as the dynamic of the light source, and also the fact the scene needs a special angle to get all characters on the picture, was far more alluring to draw. 

I spent quite some time thinking about which angle to take. Other possibilities I thought about where to put the viewer outside, watching the intruder outside the mansion looking furtively back in the rain, while Pip and the watchman look up and down the stairs. Or even a picture in which we see the whole scene unfolding from a bird's eye's view down the empty space in a stairwell.

The stairs themselves proved also to be a challenging object to work on. I was inspired by some Milanese spacious stairs that are not set in a rectangular fashion, but rather triangular, or spiralled.

The triangular opening allows for a more dynamic view up the empty space of a staircase.

Chapter LVI


Size: 57 cm x 36 cm

An exhausted Pip sits down by the convict Magwitch's infirmary bed at Newgate prison for a last time, while two guards sympathetically assist the scene from afar.

Magwitch was sentenced to death for leaving his exile to illegally enter
Britain, and, on top of that, for assumedly killing his informer in an underwater fight. The fight and the strenuous botched escape from Britain left Magwitch injured to such a degree that he was moved
from a cell to the infirmary of the prison. Meanwhile, Pip spends day after day writing petitions to various people for showing mercy to Magwitch and to avert the impending death sentence, while also being nearby to the convict at every visiting hours.
As the frequent petitions falling on deaf ears grind down our protagonist, so does also the daily sight of Magwitch's failing health. The light and liveliness slowly drains from Magwitch up to a point in which spoken words become a scarcity, and he only communicates by slight pressures with his hand in Pip's.

The last time Pip sees his benefactor is captured in this illustration. The governor of the prison, now a friend of Pip's, allows him to stay a little longer than the visiting hours. He is seen beckoning another prison officer away, to the left. In the quietness of solitude, Pip holds Magwitch's hand, and inches closer to him to impart to him the news of his daughter that he believed death. When Pip tells him of Estella, he is only able to react with a last kiss on Pip's hand, which Pip helped raise to his lips.

This picture took an unusual long amount of time to draw. Partly, due to a lot of stuff having taken place in my life, and partly because I tried to find the right composition for this touching moment. The prison interior is bleak and unwelcoming, with jagged metal fences, heavy doors, barred windows, and dusty stone columns. In contrast to it, the convict almost looks as if he were to float away and merge with the with wall behind him. He is already with one step in a better world. The high contrast of Pip compared to Magwitch make him stand out, as well as stand apart from the convict. Pip continues the journey on this world, while Magwitch concludes his final act. Pip's line of sight is also not directed towards Magwitch's face, but rather to some point behind him, as if he were looking away, or looking through a ghost.

Chapter LIII


Size: 70 cm x 50 cm

Without a second to spare, Pip's friends come to rescue
Pip, who is inches away of being killed by the brute Orlick.

In the last newsletter, chapter 52, Pip received the ominous letter
from a stranger who beckoned him to go to the marshes adjacent to
his home town alone, lest something bad should befall the convict Magwitch.
Head over heels, he rushes to the marshlands to confront the blackmailer, leaving
in his confusion the letter in his London lodgings.
After having dined at his old home town's inn, where at the expense
of his appetite the waiter tells him a distorted version of Pip's story,
he rushes at the setting of the sun to the marshes. The letter mentioned
to seek out the old, abandoned sluice house near the lime kiln.

Pip finds the place dark and empty, so he decides to wait there. In
a moment of distraction, he gets overwhelmed by a bulky figure. He gets
tied up to a staircase, much to the displeasure of his broken arm.
The assailant lights a candle, and popping up in the flickering flame is one of
the last persons Pip expected to see: the oaf Orlick, his uncle's other

While Pip is recollecting his thoughts, Orlick confesses to have been the
unknown attacker who knocked Pip's draconic sister unconscious, making
her lose her speech, who stalked the town girl Biddy, and who teamed up
with the nemesis of Magwitch Compeyson to trap Pip. Compeyson also laid
the snare by writing the letter to Pip, since Orlick is illiterate. Orlick
also accuses him of losing his position as private guard in Satis House.

Passing over this avalanche of nonsense, Pip realizes that he has to fight
not only for his life, but more importantly for the life of Magwitch, who
he's trying to save from the gallows. With all his might, he tries to knock
the table onto Orlick, who's already reaching for a blunt hammer...

His shouts for help don't go unheard, and Pip's friends bust into the sluice
house, and in the following scuffle, save Pip, but Orlick slips their grasp.
Why they're there? Because Pip left the letter in London, and Herbert just
read it minutes after Pip left. Very convenient for our hero.

The painting is done in gouache on canvas.

Chapter LII


Size: 30 cm x 30 cm

A crestfallen Pip is blackmailed to meet someone at the marshes lest something bad happens to Provis.

The preparations for the flight of the convict Provis from British territory meets a sudden hurdle with 
Pip's incapacitated arm due to having saved Miss Havisham from the flames. As a resort, he and Herbert decide
to include Startop in the rescue operations, since they need a second oarsman in the boat with which
they'll escort Provis to a steamboat bound to foreign lands. Having thus settled the problem, Pip 
returns to his lodgings at Temple, with the intent of waiting out the remaining days to the flight.
However, he spots a dirty letter at the entrance directed to him, which ushers him to come either the same night, or the next night to the little sluice-house at the limekiln on the marshes if he cares for Provis's safety. 

Pip, severely aggravated, looks dejected at a mirror on a table while almost lifelessly letting his hand with the letter repose at the foot of the mirror. Without thinking for too long, he rushes out of the building to get
the last coach to Kent, forgetting in the heat the letter on the table, which will prompt Herbert to aid to his rescue later.

Chapter LIX


Size: 22.5 cm x 32.5 cm

An old Pip re-enacts his first encounter with the convict with the son of Biddy and his uncle Joe.

After the capture of the convict Magwitch, and the following long period of sickness of Pip, he decides to work with Herbert in his shipping company, for which he leaves England for a long time. Eleven years later, a 35 years old Pip returns to his childhood place to visit his uncle Joe and his second wife Biddy, who he married some years after the death of Pip's sister, his first wife. Unlike the unhappy first marriage, this one proved more fruitful with the enlargement of the family by a boy named in honour Pip, and a little girl.

Pip grows promptly fond of the boy, and brings him to the graveyard to tell him the adventurous story of his meeting the convict, and all that followed. 

As you may have noticed, this drawing is the spitting image of the very first illustration of Great Expectations I did; a fitting entry as the illustration of the last chapter of the book, bringing the story full circle. However, there are some differences: The "new" Pip is much fatter, and careless, than the mistreated, underfed, poor Pip from the first chapter. He takes Pip's re-enactment lightly, and gives him a wry smile with a sideways incredulous look. Why should he worry? In the caring embrace of Biddy and Joe, not having been "brought up by hand", the "new" Pip just shoos away worries, and doesn't foster a hunger for riches, and recognition, as it were the case for the "old" Pip. Our Pip, on the other side, is the much wiser, a bit bent by his troublesome life, but not pessimistic in the least.

Chapter XLVI


Size: 42 cm x 27 cm

Clara Barley serves her father a glass of rum.

The convict Magwitch returned to London. Pip's surprise
visitor, however, cannot take a stroll down England's avenues
lest he gets caught, and turned to the gallows. Herbert therefore
decides to hide him under a pseudonym for the time being at
his fiancé's Clara Barley's place at Mill Pond Bank,
until they can safely escort him out of Britain.

In this chapter, Pip is visiting Mill Pond Bank, where Herbert
already awaits him. There, he gets introduced to dark-eyed Clara,
who spends most of her time attending her bedridden father upstairs.

The father, sardonically nicknamed by Herbert "old Gruffandgrim",
is no easy fellow to live with. Because of the gout, he spends
all day lying with his back on a bed, easing his pain trough
carefully weighed amounts of rum,
and killing his time by singing obscene songs, and scanning
the River Thames, with a telescope mounted at his bedside.

Since he's unable to move, his ever-patient daughter administers
drinks to him, or tends his other needs.

In the picture, she's seen holding him jovially a glass of rum,
his hand interlinked with hers. The scene is framed on top by
the telescope and on the bottom by a table in disarray with
many household items.

Chapter L

Size: 28cm x 28cm

As Herbert tends to Pip's burns from the fire at Satis House, Pip realizes the heritage of Estella: She's the daughter of the convict Magwitch, and Mr Jaggers's housekeeper.

Pip's looking back on some wearisome days: First the bad news of Estella's wedding with his arch-rival Drummle must have been a blow to his feelings for her, and the definite mark of defeat in front of his foe. On top of that, mentions of Compeyson's appearance in London, the guy who wants to see Magwitch on the gallows, pull at his already strained nerves, which are on edge, too, due to fearing the convict Magwitch's hideout at the wharfs might be found out, or, even worse, might have been already found out...

In the midst of the preparation of the plan for smuggling the convict out of Britain, Miss Havisham calls him to Satis House. When he arrived there, she was only a wreck, trying to find redemption through Pip forgiving her unkind acts in the past. As a sign of her being earnest, she grants Pip's bidding to secretly aid Herbert with her last will.
Instead of calming herself, Miss Havisham's seems to lose her mind more and more, almost like a mad scene in a bel canto opera, and ends up catching fire at the fire place. Pip rushes to help her, suffering a lot of burns on his arms, but eventually leads her out of danger.

Exhausted, knowing that she's in recovery, he comes back to London, where he recollects his thoughts with the helping hand of Herbert. By and by, both connect the dots, and Pip learns about Estella's origins - ghostly figures in the background from left to right: Magwitch, Estella, and Molly, the housekeeper of Mr Jaggers. In this picture, he lost all of his energy to properly react to this shocking news. He merely sports a sad smile of empathy on the total situation, seemingly ignoring the sharp pain of his burnt arm, which is about to being cooled by a piece of cloth in Herbert's hand. This picture captures the moment when Pip realizes the truth, before Herbert could, hence the latter looking confused and preoccupied at Pip's sudden calmness, or melancholic illumination, if you will...