One of Charles Dickens’s most celebrated stories is the inspiration for new exhibition at the Charles Dickens Museum. The exhibition entitled Expectations of the Past by Louise Weir is a collection of new work inspired by a combination of the locations, characters and themes of Great Expectations and the artist’s own history.
The exhibition presents Weir’s personal investigation through a combination of paintings, sketches and poetry. The artist followed in Dickens’s footsteps and travelled to the locations that were featured in Great Expectations. Starting at Gravesend and the Kent marshes, Weir began at St James’ Church at Cooling, Dickens’s inspiration for Pip’s first terrifying graveyard encounter with the escaped convict, Magwitch, which begins the book.
The artist’s sketches capture the often foreboding nature of the landscape that provided ideal backdrop to the shocking meeting between Magwitch and Pip.
The exploration of the landscapes of Great Expectations became far more personal journey with the untimely death of the artist’s father. From that point some of the novel’s themes of childhood memories and an atmosphere of loss are intertwined with the artist’s personal response to her loss.
Some of the sketchbooks, drawings and equipment in the exhibition demonstrate Weir’s creative process which often used the very elements of the landscape she was trying to capture; grasses, seed-pods, flowers, feathers, earth and water from streams connecting landscape to painting.
This small interesting exhibition explores how ‘Dickensian’ characters and landscapes provide inspiration for artists to pursue their own projects. Louise Weir’s characters in the paintings are often like ghosts haunting the landscape. In many ways, this reflects the works of Dickens which are so ingrained into our culture that we often see ‘Dickensian’ characters as part of everyday life .
Visitors to the exhibition can also explore the Charles Dickens Museum at 48 Doughty Street, Bloomsbury, the London Townhouse into which Charles Dickens moved with his family in 1837. The Charles Dickens Museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dickens-related material, including the desk at which he wrote Great Expectations. Alongside Weir’s work, the exhibition will feature an original first edition of Great Expectations from the Museum’s collection.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
Expectations of the Past at Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LX
Exhibition dates: 13 March – 29 April 2018
Museum admission prices (inc. exhibition): Adults £9; Concessions £7; Children (6-16) £4; Under 6 free
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00-17.00 (last admission 16.00).
For more information or to book tickets, visit the Charles Dickens Museum website here
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