The Charles Dickens Illustrated Gallery: Rediscovering The Visual World of an Iconic Author

Published May 26, 2023

The Charles Dickens Illustrated Gallery is an incredible collection of illustrations that has been compiled and digitized by Dr. Michael John Goodman, a prominent researcher, educator and writer.

This remarkable collection contains all the original illustrations from Charles Dickens’ novels (and Sketches by Boz), making it a comprehensive resource for anyone interested in the works of this iconic author.

Sketches by Boz. The Out-and-out Young Gentleman – Coloured Frontispiece to this edition. Illustrated by Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne).
The Pickwick Papers. The Last Visit of Heyling to the Old Man. Illustrated by Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne).
The Haunted Man. Title Page Vignette. Illustrated by John Tenniel.

All images were meticulously curated and cataloged by Dr. Goodman with a focus on authenticity and quality. He has carefully restored each illustration to ensure that they are as close to the originals as possible, giving readers an accurate representation of what they would have seen when these stories were first published. He explains the process on his website:

“Every image in the archive has been digitised by hand to a good resolution and is then tidied up in Photoshop, to remove foxing and ensure that the illustrations look as attractive as possible on modern screens.”

“As an indicative example, the images, below, are of Marcus Stone’s illustration ‘The Bird of Prey’ from Our Mutual Friend, before and after it has been treated in Photoshop.”

“I always use the analogy that this process is similar to how old albums from the 1960s are being remastered for modern technology: everything sounds a bit sharper, there’s more clarity, and, generally, it’s all a bit less murky,” he concludes.

The gallery contains over 1,000 illustrations from some of Dickens’s most beloved works, including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol and many more. The illustrations are free to download and use for everyone to share, create, remix or repurpose.

Oliver Twist. Oliver Amazed at the Dodger’s Mode of ‘Going to Work’ – Frontispiece. Illustrated by George Cruikshank.
The Battle of Life. Title Page. Illustrated by Daniel Maclise.
Nicholas Nickleby. Theatrical Emotion of Mr. Vincent Crummles – Frontispiece. Illustrated by Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne)

“This website is very much a gallery, and I encourage users to consider each novel’s page like a room in a gallery where they can quietly contemplate each image, read the name of its title, and enlarge the illustration to full-screen size.”

Dr. Michael John Goodman

This amazing collection provides a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about the illustrated pieces used in Charles Dickens’s works.

Great Expectations. Pip Waits on Miss Havisham. Illustrated by Marcus Stone.
The Old Curiosity Shop. Punch in the Churchyard. Illustrated by Phiz (Hablot Knight Brown).
The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Mr. Grewgious Experiences a New Sensation. Illustrated by Luke Fildes.

This isn’t the first time that Dr. Goodman has cataloged historical artworks with incredible diligence and dedication. In addition to this gallery he is also responsible for the Victorian Illustrated Shakespeare Archive – ShakespeareIllustration.org – a compilation of more than 3000 illustrations sourced from the most notable illustrated editions of Shakespeare’s plays during the Victorian era.

You can visit Michael John Goodman’s website to find more information about all his projects.

Cover: A Tale of Two Cities. Under the Plume-Tree – Frontispiece Illustrated by Phiz (Hablot Knight Browne).

All images: Michael John Goodman, Charles Dickens Illustrated Gallery: CharlesDickensIllustration.org


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