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  • Place of origin:

    Manchester (probably, printed)

  • Date:

    1852 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (printers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Letterpress on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Gabrielle Enthoven Collection

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was a great enthusiast of the theatre, and was involved with amateur theatricals throughout his successful career as an author. His novels were written in a theatrical style, and lent themselves ideally to the many staged versions that sprang up as soon as his works were published.

The evening's entertainment at the Free Trade Hall Manchester on 11 February 1852, advertised by this poster, was produced and directed by Charles Dickens, 'for the twelfth time'. The original impetus for this evening was Dickens' establishment in 1850 of The Guild of Literature and Art, which he founded with Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, the playwright of the comedy Not So Bad As We Seem. The double bill was originally produced on 27 May 1851, at an evening's entertainment to launch the Guild at Devonshire House, the Piccadilly home of the Duke of Devonshire who paid the expenses of the original production. Dickens was both actor and stage manager, and co-opted many of his artistic and literary friends into the cast and production team. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert came to the Devonshire House event, and its great success was repeated several times during 1851 and 1852, at London's Hanover Square Rooms, and in other large towns such as Manchester.

Physical description

Typographical poster printed in black and red ink advertising a performance at the Free Trade Hall Manchester, 11 February 1852, by The Amateur Company and The Guild of Literature & Art of the 12th performance of Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton's comedy Not So Bad as We Seem, or, Many Sides To a Character, and Mr. Nightingale's Diaryby Charles Dickens and Mark Lemon. The casts of both plays are printed in black ink, comprising Dudley Costello, Mr Coe, Charles Dickens, Douglas Jerrold, John Forster, Mark Lemon, F.W. Topham, Peter Cunningham, R.H. Horne, Charles Knight, Wilkie Collins, John Tenniel, Robert Bell, Augustus Egg, Miss Mitchell, Fanny Young, Mrs. Coe. The names of the scene painters Mr. Pitt, Mr Absolon, Thomas Grieve, Charles Telbin, Clarkson Stanfield, Mr. Louis and Mr Roberts, are printed in black, along with the name of the composer of the overture, Charles Coote, the production team, and the seating and ticketing arrangements. 'THE WHOLE PRODUCED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF MR CHARLES DICKENS' appears in red towards the bottom of the poster.

Place of Origin

Manchester (probably, printed)


1852 (printed)


Unknown (printers)

Materials and Techniques

Letterpress on paper


Height: 50.2 cm, Width: 26.0 cm

Descriptive line

Poster advertising the double bill Not So Bad As We Seem, or, Many Sides To a Characterby Edward Bulwer Lytton, and Mr. Nightingale's Diaryby Charles Dickens and Mark Lemon, produced by Charles Dickens in aid of his foundation The Guild of Literature and Art, Free Trade Hall, Manchester, 11 February 1852.


Printed paper


Letterpress printing


Entertainment & Leisure; Advertising


Theatre and Performance Collection

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