Friday 20 January 2023

Gustave Doré - part 17

Our visual image of Victorian London is largely fixated on its sordidness—cramped streets, dark alleys, desolate slums, overcrowding, and illicit dens. Two people are responsible for creating in our heads such pictures of destitution and filth—one is Charles Dickens, whose works largely revolved around grinding poverty, and the other is French illustrator Gustave Doré. Doré (1832 – 1883) was a prolific engraver, artist, illustrator, and sculptor, who became very popular both in France and England by being an extremely successful illustrator for books and magazine.

He began his career early—at the age of fifteen—working for the French paper Le journal pour rire. Before he was twenty-five, his illustrations had adorned the books of several prominent writers of his time such as Cervantes, Rabelais, Balzac, Milton, Byron, and Dante. His illustrations of Cervantes's Don Quixote left such an indelible impression on the collective imagination of the public that it forever changed how subsequent artists, stage and film directors would represent the various characters in the book in their medium. Doré's illustrations for the English Bible in 1866 was such great success that it earned him a major exhibition of his work in London, eventually leading to the foundation of his very own Dore Gallery.

In 1869, Dore teamed up with journalist Blanchard Jerrold to produce a comprehensive portrait of London. For the next four years, Jerrold and Dore explored the dark underbelly of the largest, most fashionable, and most prosperous city in the world, visiting night refuges, staying in cheap lodging houses and making rounds of the opium den. The duo were often accompanied by plain-clothes policemen. They travelled up and down the river and attended fashionable events at Lambeth Palace, the boat race and the Derby.

This is part 17 of a 25-part series on later works of Gustave Doré: 

1872 London. A Pilgrimage by Gustave Doré and Blanchard Jerrold:

Front Cover

Title Page



The Thames

Hay-Boats on the Thames

A River Side Street

A City Thoroughfare

Inside the Docks

St. Katherine's Dock

The Docks - Night Scene

Lambeth Gasworks

The River Bank - Under the Trees

The Race

Putney Bridge - The Return

A Sale at Tatersall's

The Derby - At Lunch

The Derby - Tattenham Corner

The Derby - Finish of the Race

The Derby - Returning Home

A Chiswick Fête

The Stalls. Covent Garden Opera

The Ladies' Mile

Holland House - A Garden Party

Westminster Abbey - Confirmation of Westminster Boys

Westminster Abbey - The Choir

Under the Trees - Regent's Park

Afternoon in the Park

The Great Tree - Kensington Gardens

Under Green Leaves

Zoological Gardens - The Parrot Walk

Warehousing in the City

Bishopsgate Street

Ludgate Hill

Over London - By rail

Coffee Stall - early Morning

Wentworth Street, Whitechapel


38 Brewer's Men

Newgate - Exercise Yard

Bluegate Fields

Scripture Reader in a Night Refuge

The Bull's Eye

Opium Smoking - The Lascar's Room in "Edwin Drood"

Turn Him Out, Ratcliff

Billingsgate - Early Morning

Billingsgate - Landing the Fish

Covent Garden Market - Early Morning

Off Billingsgate

Dudley Street - Seven Dials

Hampstead Heath


A Ball at the Mansion House

The Organ in the Court

Refuge - Applying for Admission

Found in the Street

The New Zealander

Railway Station