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Expectations of the Past at The Charles Dickens Museum

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A personal, artistic investigation into one of Charles Dickens's most celebrated stories is the inspiration for a new exhibition opening at the Charles Dickens Museum this spring. 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 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. The exhibition presents a combination of paintings, sketches and poetry, the results of a project which began when Louise Weir was inspired to follow in Dickens's footsteps and travel to the locations that informed Great Expectations. Heading for Gravesend and the Kent marshes, Louise Weir began at St Mary's Church at Cooling, Dickens's inspiration for Pip's first terrifying graveyard encounter with the escaped convict, Magwitch, which begins the book. Louise Weir's sketches capture the imposing nature of the looming landscape, the backdrop to the shocking meeting, while repeated visits to the Kentish sites led to a deeper exploration of the novel's atmosphere. What began as an exploration of the landscapes of Great Expectations became far more personal on the untimely death of Louise Weir's father. From that point onwards, her work began to include poetry and to be imbued with childhood memories and an atmosphere of loss. The sketchbooks and drawings in the exhibition demonstrate Weir's creative process. Her work incorporates the very elements of the landscape she was capturing; at each place, she collected new items - grasses, seed-pods, flowers, feathers, earth - and used them as drawing materials. She took water from streams, mixed mud with paint, let rain fall on the artwork, pressed flowers and printed with them.

Venue Details & Map

The Charles Dickens Museum

48 Doughty Street
+44 (0)20 7405 2127
Public transport:
Turn right out of the station and then follow the signs.

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