The Illustrations

A note about Kitton [PVA]

According to Andrew Sanders in Paul Schlicke's Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens (1999), the noted Dickens scholar George Frederic Kitton was born near Norwich, England, in 1856. His vast knowledge and appreciation of Victorian book illustration stems from his having apprenticed at seventeen as a wood-engraver on the staff of the London Graphic, one of the greatest of the period's illustrated weeklies; he was a regular contribtor of illustrations to the magazine between 1874 and 1885, during which period his works also appeared in the Illustrated London News and The English Illustrated Magazine. His landscapes and etchings of sites associated with Dickens and his novels appear in W. R. Hughes's A Week's Tramp in Dickens-Land (1891). Paul Davis, in a much shorter biographical sketch in Charles Dickens A to Z (1998), notes that Kitton was one of the founders of what has become the quarterly organ of The Dickens Fellowship, The Dickensian, published monthly until 1919; he was a vice-president of the organization, but died before he could take up the post of editor.

His books on Dickens include Dickensiana: A Bibliography of Literature Relating to Charles Dickens and His Writings (1886), The Minor Writings of Charles Dickens (1900), Charles Dickens by Pen and Pencil, The Novels of Charles Dickens: A Bibliography and a Sketch (1897), and most notably Charles Dickens and His Illustrators (1899), many of whom he had met. After his death, his The Dickens Country (1905) was published. Thanks largely to a campaign he organized, Dickens's birthplace at Portsmouth became a museum owned by the Portsmouth Corporation. After his death, his considerable library "was purchased as the basis of the proposed national Dickens Library to be formed within the Guildhall Library" (Sanders 313), but was instead transferred to The Dickens House at 48 Doughty Street, Holborn, London, in 1926.

Last modified 24 June 2005