Reading the Records


The Database of Mid-Victorian wood-engraved Illustration (DMVI) includes 868 images drawn from a variety of literary genres, and gathered together from the census year of 1862 (occasionally, absorbing the imprint years 1861 and 1863). In collecting this corpus of images, the project members have aimed to give a representative, but in no way comprehensive, sampling of materials from a highpoint in Victorian literary illustrations. The images have been gathered together from a variety of public depositories in the UK, as well as from private collections owned by project members and the Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, Cardiff University. Supplementary images of Additional Materials (of woodblocks, proofs, etc.) have been supplied by the Museum of Fine Arts at Boston, USA. for fuller information on the provenance of the database images, see the Sources page.

The records are divided into a series of 'tabbed' pages, which allow easy access to various aspects of the bibliographical, visual, and iconographic aspects of each image. These are divided into Work, Image, Iconography, and Technical Data. In addition, the Work page provides access, when applicable, to information relating to Additional Material relating to the illustrations. Aside from the Image page, each tabbed section follows the same template. The tabs for each category appear at the top of the record, followed by a header line displaying the DMVI code and Illustration title. Below this appears a 300-pixel image of the illustration: clicking on this will take the user to a larger, zoomable version of the image (the same result can be achieved by clicking on the Image tab). To the right of this appear the relevant metadata associated with the image, according to category (i.e. bibliographic, iconographic, technical). At the bottom of the page appear links to previous/first and next/last records, as well as a link back to the main results, as well as details of the current filters applied to the database and the position of the image in the results order. In the case of the Image section, a zoomable image of the illustration appears in the main part of the page (see under Image, below) .


The Work page provides core bibliographic details relating to the printed text within which the illustration appeared. Each record provides the following information:

  1. Illustration title: the principal title of the illustration
  2. Illustrator: as full an indication of the illustrator's name as possible
  3. Engraver: as full an indication of the engraver's name as possible
  4. Source text: bibliographic details of the text with which the illustration is associated. This falls into three categories:
    1. single works: details are provided for Author, Title of source text (Place of publication: Publishers, Date of publication);
    2. anthologised works: details are provided for Author of work, 'Title of work', in Author/Editor (if applicable), Title of source text (Place of publication: Publishers, Date of publication), page extents;
    3. periodical works: details are provided for Author of work, 'Title of work', in Title of periodical, volume/part numbers (Date of publication): page extents
  5. Size: measurements of the illustration are given in millimetres and inches
  6. Illustration appears on: provides information about the actual position of the image within the text
  7. Illustration number: if the illustration is part of a sequence, then its position and the total number of linked illustrations are provided
  8. DMVI code: the unique database code assigned to the image is recorded here
  9. Notes: any appropriate comments about the nature of the image, details of the artist, captions, etc. appear here.
  10. When applicable, records containing details of Additional Materials provides a link to a separate window that displays images of any relevant materials associated with the main illustration, such as artists' proofs, woodblocks, etc. See below, under Additional Materials.

A number of the descriptive terms will appear in lilac, indicating that they are hyperlinked terms: clicking on any of these will initiate a new search, using the selected term as the search criterion: e.g. clicking on George Henry Andrews, the Illustrator of GWF001: The Sea at Winter, will initiate a fresh search for all illustrations by Andrews; clicking on William Hansard, author of the accompanying poem, will query the database for all illustrations to works by Hansard; clicking on Good Words, will return all illustrations that appeared in that periodical.


The Image page allows users to view the illustration at a high level of detail, using various methods of navigation provided by the database. This facility is provided by means of Zoomify, a proprietary system that uses Adobe Flash technology to view images at high resolution without compromising Internet connection speeds. A full-screen view of the image appears by default, along with a preview pane at the top left of the image, which allows users to navigate around the image by clicking and dragging the mouse cursor. At the base of the image are the following icons: Zoomify icons; respectively, these allow users to zoom in and out of the image, move around the image (the four arrow icons), or lastly to reset the image to full-screen size. In addition, there is a triangular slider across the top of the icons: clicking and dragging this slider will smoothly zoom in and out of the image, as the slider is moved from right to left.


The Iconography page lists the various pictorial terms used to describe the image, according to a hierchical system of classification. The broad categories (indicated in bold text) for definition are: periods, geography, settings, activities, objects, and themes. Next to these are the iconographic descriptors, separated by an angle mark (>) to indicate their relative position in the hierarchy of facets. Each of these terms is hyperlinked, meaning that (as in the case for the hyperlinked bibliographic terms in the Work page) users can initiate a fresh search by clicking on any of the terms, which will operate as the new criterion: e.g. clicking on nineteenth century will return any images illustrating the nineteenth century; clicking on Africa will search for all images depicting Africa; clicking ships will query the database for representations of ships.

For fuller details about the iconographic search, see the Browse Iconography section of the Searching & Browsing page and the guide to Iconographic Description in DMVI.

Technical Data

The Technical Data page provides metadata about the provenance and procedures involved in capturing a digital image of the illustration. Each record provides the following information:

  1. Image location: the depository / collection from which the original image has been sourced
  2. Digital image rights: the owner of the base digital image, which has been captured for the DMVI project
  3. Filename: the filename of the base digital image (i.e. not the one used in the DMVI website database)
  4. Resolution: the resolution at which the base digital image has been scanned, measured in dpi (dots per inch)
  5. File size: the file size in megabytes of the base digital image
  6. Scanner: the scanning hardware / digital camera used for capturing the image
  7. Date scanned: the original date of image digitisation
  8. Software used: the software used to manipulate the digital image for mounting on the DMVI website
  9. Colour mode: the colour mode / space used during the original capture process
  10. Calibration model: notes if any calibration models have been applied during the original capture process
  11. Compression: notes if any compression has been applied to the base digital image (TIFF)
  12. Bit depth: notes the bit depth at which the base digital image was captured
  13. Digitised by: gives details of the person responsible for capturing the base digital image

Additional Materials

In addition to the main 868 records for the illustrations, DMVI currently contains an additional 50 records of items relating to the production of the illustrations themselves, including woodblocks, proofs, and preliminary sketches. Where this material is available, a button appears at the bottom of the Work detail page, beneath the Notes field. Clicking on this button opens up a separate page, which provides details of all attached Additional Materials, as well as 300-pixel images of the additional materials, in the same format as the main records. Clicking on the image opens a tabbed page, allowing users to zoom in and out of the additional materials as with the main illustrations. Each record provides the following information:

  1. Type: the type of additional material tha the record describes
  2. Technique / materials: any information about the nature of the additional materials
  3. Image dimensions: dimensions of the digital image of the additional materials
  4. Sheet dimensions: where applicable, dimensions of the entire sheet upon which any illustrations have been drawn
  5. Mount dimensions: where applicable, dimensions of the mount holding the sheet
  6. Date: the date in which the additoinal materials were prepared
  7. Original photographer: information about the original photographer of the source image
  8. Host institution (HI): information about the depository from which the additional materials have been sourced
  9. HI title: the title given to the additional material from the host institution
  10. HI code: the specific in-house code assigned by the host institution

Multiple records for additional material relating to a single illustration appear sequentially on the same page.

Click here to go the the next section: 'Iconographic Description in DMVI'.