Dickens and London
At the entrance to the exhibition are three large screens showing carefully selected photographs, sketches and maps brought together with an atmospheric sound track and blended through a smog. This is based on the sketch by Boz ‘The Streets – Night. ‘I was mesmerised by this and stood there totally absorbed for a good ten minutes.
Collected together are a selection of artefacts, models, photos from the late 1800s, manuscripts and paintings, all with quotes from Dickens’ writings. I particularly loved the massive wooden inn sign c 1820 from the Bull and Mouth pub.
Through his writing Charles Dickens raised awareness of the huge gap between rich and poor during the 19th Century and it is sad that this exhibition coincides with a time when this gap is widening once again.
Two chapters of David Copperfield are available to read in the form in which they were originally published. You can imagine his fans excitedly awaiting the next instalment – like a popular blog today!
The exhibition ends with a short film ‘The Houseless Shadow’ by William Raban, inspired by and with the soundtrack of ‘Night Walks’ a short essay written following a period when Dickens could not sleep and walked London’s streets until morning over several nights.
If you get the chance to visit, take it.