Exhibition: Beautiful Books: Dickens and the Business of Christmas

This exhibition CLOSED on Wed, 18th Mar 2020

This exhibition has finished.

Coronavirus: Events may be cancelled and venues closed at short notice, you are advised to check on their websites before making a trip.

Cost: £9.50

Written in six weeks in the winter of 1843 (to ensure its publication before Christmas), A Christmas Carol was short, small and handsomely bound with a gilded, salmon-brown cover and cost less than half the price of the Christmas annuals with which it shared bookshop shelves. 6,000 copies were sold in the six days between its release and Christmas Eve that same year - and it has never been out of print since.

In the exhibition, letters from Dickens to publishers and illustrators will reveal his eagle-eyed scrutiny of the design, illustration and production of his books. The exhibition will feature the earliest sketches and illustrations of Scrooge, Fezziwig and the Christmas ghosts by John Leech that would adorn the 1843 first edition of A Christmas Carol, an early ‘trial’ edition of the book in green and red and the first edition, inscribed by Dickens to his friend William Macready on New Year’s Day 1844. The exhibition will also show how technological advances changed the reading experience – Dickens’s own taper stand and oil lamp will feature.

Beautiful books are at the heart of Beautiful Books; it will feature a wealth of extravagantly decorated editions, stamped, cloth-bound books illustrated with woodcuts and steel plate engravings, gift books, almanacs such as Forget-Me-Not and The Keepsake, and even a collection of tiny books

Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

No need to book tickets - just turn up on the day.


Charles Dickens Museum,

48 Doughty Street, London,

Map of Charles Dickens Museum


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