Although he is well known for his literary contributions, the connection between Charles Dickens (1812-1870) and art has been largely neglected. A remarkably visual writer, Dickens grew out of a tradition where illustrations formed a significant part of both serial and book. He had long and close friendships with several artists, including Clarkson Stanfield, Daniel Maclise, Frank Stone, and William Powell Frith. He also admired the art of the Old Masters, which he viewed and commented on both in London and during his tours of Europe.
Published on the bicentenary anniversary of Dickens's birth, this book explores his artistic opinions and views by analyzing his own words as well as his use of art in his work. His tastes are manifest not only in his novels, but also in his magazine Household Words. The contributors explore how Dickens and his writing influenced Victorian artists who depicted scenes from his novels or drew inspiration from his subjects and characterizations.
Mark Bills is curator, Watts Gallery, and former senior curator of paintings, prints, and drawings, the Museum of London. He is co-editor of William Powell Frith: Painting in the Victorian Age and G. F. Watts (both Yale).