Dickens: Dark London
9 December 2011
Museum of London launches new graphic novel app
To coincide with the opening of the Dickens and London exhibition, the Museum of London and creative agency Brothers and Sisters are launching a new iPhone and iPad app, which will take users on a journey through the darker side of Charles Dickens’ London.
Accompanying audio for the app will be narrated by Tinker Tailor Solder Spy actor Mark Strong. Mark said: “It is fascinating to discover quite how brutal some of Dickens’ descriptions of London actually were. Usually we associate his writing with vivid caricature and lively character comedy, but to delve into the world of his darker observations is to be taken on a compelling journey through the seamier side of Victorian London. If you thought you knew Charles Dickens…think again.”
Beautifully imagined by renowned illustrator David Foldvari, this graphic novel app will follow Dickens on his night walks of London – the city he called his ‘magic lantern’ and his muse. As an insomniac, Dickens roamed the city streets gathering inspiration from the people and places he observed.
David Foldvari, said: "From an illustrator's point of view, Dickens’ work is a great source of inspiration, and it's amazing to work with the Museum of London on such a unique project. I grew up reading Dickens and became familiar with his vision of London way before I moved to the UK – I felt very much at home in Dickensian London before I ever actually got here. It's amazing to be able to revisit that same city again. Charles Dickens is an intrinsic part of London and its past, and I hope I am able to do his words justice."
Bonus material featuring illustrated excerpts of some of Dickens’ most famous novels – from Bleak House to Oliver Twist – will also bring to life the 19th century city that Dickens used as his muse and the backdrop for many of his greatest works.
Drawn from a selection of his short stories featured in Sketches By Boz, Dickens: Dark London will be published monthly throughout the run of the exhibition to echo how Dickens himself released his writings. All editions of the app will be brought together on an 1862 map of London, overlaid on a modern satellite map of the capital, allowing users to compare the city that Dickens knew with the London of today.
Kevin Brown, Digital Director at Brothers and Sisters, said: “This series of interactive graphic novels brings Dickens’ unique view of London to life, with the benefit of new tablet technology. It has been a joy to reimagine some of Dickens' lesser known reportage, and develop our technology even further with these incredible snapshots of this sensational underworld."
Alex Werner, Curator of Dickens and London at the Museum of London, said: “Dickens observed and described London in an exceptional way. He takes us into the dark corners of the city. This app is a new take on Dickens, marrying the inky graphic novel style of illustration with the author’s lively voice. As G K Chesterton wrote ‘Dickens had the keys to the street’. This new app is a 21st century key that will open the door onto dark London.”
Dickens: Dark London will be published monthly throughout the run of the exhibition to echo how Dickens himself released his writings. The first edition of Dickens: Dark London will be available free of charge from 9 December 2011. Each subsequent edition will be available to download monthly for £1.49 on iTunes.