PHIZ, LEECH and CRUIKSHANK - Charles Dickens and his Illustrators with Pete Smith

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  • Something A Little Different, Theatre/Arts and Walks & Tours
  • Tickets from £4.80
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  • Wed, 14th Jul 2021 @ 19:00 - 21:00
  • 19:00 - 21:00

Join us for the eighth Westminster Arts Reference Library's Artists of London salons where Pete Smith explores the wonderful world and work of the illustrators who visualised Dickens' stories, characters and settings. In addition to the talk and a Q+A, each event will include a spotlight on a special item from the Library's collection.

Writing for an audience that ranged from high society to the semi-literate, CHARLES DICKENS understood well the importance of illustrations, some of which were to define the public perception of his characters and the urban scene they inhabited.

He worked closely with several artists who produced illustrations for his novels and writing, often directing them regarding which episodes to illustrate, and sometimes criticising their interpretations.

In this illustrated talk, historian PETE SMITH reveals the story of the author's close and often fraught collaboration with a range of talented artists including the famous illustrators George Cruikshank and Hablot Knight Browne aka ‘Phiz’ and lesser known figures such as John Leech and Frederick W. Pailthorpe. Smith will highlight and de-code a myriad detailed clues in their illustrations that a modern reader might easily miss.

Tickets £4.80 including a 50% donation to the Westminster Arts Reference Library -

Pete Smith

PETE SMITH is a Devon-born academic who has lived in London since the age of ten. Since retiring as Head of English and Dean of Arts at Brunel University (a job he describes as very like managing the salad bar at Smithfield Meat Market), he has reinvented himself as a City of London and City of Westminster guide and freelance lecturer.


This talk will take place virtually via Zoom. Ticket sales will end at 5:00 pm BST on the day of the lecture. A link to the conference will be sent to the email used at checkout at 6:00 pm BST on the day of the event. Please email in the event your link fails to arrive.




Ticket Event time Cost
Charles Dickens and his Illustrators
Live online Zoom talk
19:00 - 21:00 £4.80



Online Event

Getting there


A Curious Invitation and Antique Beat
This year Antique Beat and A Curious Invitation will be hosting The London Month of the Dead, a series of 36 different events investigating the capital’s relationship with its deceased residents. Events will include a private view of the Museum of London’s bone archive, taxidermy workshops, macabre walking tours and private views and a programme of weekend death salons with talks on subjects ranging from public dissection and body snatching to reincarnation and funereal folklore. Each salon will feature a pair of speakers, authorities in fields such as osteology, forensic pathology and the paranormal, who will offer their own perspectives and insights on mortality in the city. Each year the London Month of the Dead donates 20% of all ticket revenue to one of London's magnificent seven cemeteries. In 2017 all of the death salons and concerts will be hosted at the Dissenters and Anglican chapels at Kensal Green. In previous years the month's programme has centered around Brompton Cemetery but the chapel is now undergoing important restoration work, a project the London Month of the Dead is proud to have supported. The London Month of the Dead has been curated by a Curious Invitation and Antique Beat to inform, entertain and provoke on the subject of death and London cemeteries.

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PHIZ, LEECH and CRUIKSHANK - Charles Dickens and his Illustrators with Pete Smith