Charles John Huffam Dickens was the most popular British novelist of the Victorian era, responsible for some of English literature's most iconic characters. The continuing popularity of his novels and short stories is such that they have never gone out of print.
National Art Library Forster Collection
John Forster (1812–76) was a noted biographer, critic, essayist and historian who collected a vast library. He bequeathed this collection to his wife and on her death it passed to the South Kensington Museum (renamed the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1899).
The 19th century was a period of huge growth in Britain, which had a profound effect on art and design. The Industrial Revolution saw Britain become a major manufacturing power, as displayed in the Great Exhibition of 1851. The Victorian period saw the British Empire reach its peak, and designers increasingly looked to the East for inspiration.