Dickens and London
9 December 2011 – 10 June 2012
Charles Dickens described London as his 'magic lantern', and walked its streets at night, imagining the settings, plots and characters of his novels.
To celebrate his 200th birthday, the Museum of London is putting on a show focusing on the author's experience of the city. The display evokes London's physical appearance in his time, and examines the big social issues tackled in the novels.A collection of evocative paintings and Dickens's own chair, desk and manuscripts will give a flavour of the author's world.
Canvases on display include London scenes that could be drawn straight from one of Dickens's novels. George Elgar Hicks's An Infant Orphan Election at the London Tavern shows a corner of the grand first floor room at the London Tavern at Bishopsgate that has been taken over by a crowd of well meaning voters. They have bought the right to vote for the needy children of their choice, so that they may hopefully enter the Infant Orphan Asylum at Wanstead. There are many placards around the room encouraging people to vote for Annie Lisle or Lydia Malverns.Phoebus Levin's The Dancing Platform at Cremorne Gardens gives us a bawdy take on popular entertainment in Victorian times. The Gardens, situated near Battersea Bridge between King's Road and the Thames, boasted a circus, theatre and orchestra, along with the dancing platform represented here. Pleasure gardens had a reputation as places of debauchery and Levin depicts supplications of love both bought and freely offered against a backdrop of heavy drinking.