Charles Alliston Collins
Charles Alliston Collins was the younger brother of Wilkie Collins and the son-in-law of Charles Dickens, having married his eldest daughter Kate. Dickens originally employed Collins as the illustrator on Edwin Drood, but in the end Collins only produced the cover, with Luke Fildes providing the rest of the illustratons. It was common for many of Dickens’s stories that the cover illustration provided clues as to how the story might develop, and accordingly Droodists have pored over Collin’s cover image to try to identify who is who and what may be occurring in the plot. Whether we choose to see this as a reliable source or not, a search throughout the cover provides questions more readily than answers. Is the illuminated figure in the bottom centre Edwin Drood, or Edwin Drood’s ghost? Who are the characters climbing the stairs on the right and what is their purpose?