Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens by Valerie Brown Lester - review by Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson

Boz’s Buddy

Phiz: The Man Who Drew Dickens


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THIS IS A work of great industry and family pietas. Valerie Browne Lester is the great-great-granddaughter of Phiz (1815-1882), the celebrated Victorian illustrator whose real name was Hablot Knight Browne. Phiz emerged as the illustrator of The Pickwick Papers, when the original illustrator died after only two issues. The name Phiz was probably chosen to match the pen-name Boz, which Dickens used for his first book of sketches. Certainly the two became famous together. Phiz came from a family of Huguenot immigrants who specialised in miniature activities of all kinds. Lester has established that their original family name was Bruneau. There are a surprising number of books about the Browne family, which was philoprogenitive and dynasty-proud, and about Phiz in particular. These include

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