Leicester researchers discover Charles Dickens artists lost sketches in school textbook

Schoolboy doodles by the Victorian artist John Leech, who first illustrated Charles Dickens's 'A Christmas Carol', have been discovered by researchers from our University and will be on display in the David Wilson Library until 31 July.

John Leech's 'Coach tree'; Once a Week, (London, 21 July 1860), PER 050 03970
A BBC Online article based on the discovery explores the history of Leech and how he became friends with Dickens, illustrating some of his famous novels. Perhaps the most recognisable image produced by Leech is an illustration of Scrooge meeting Marley's ghost in 'A Christmas Carol', which has served as the inspiration for many later depictions of the iconic scene.

The sketches shown in the exhibition are believed to have been done by Leech in his younger days, based on comparisons with one of his textbooks, which is full of sketches.

Margaret Maclean from our Special Collections, who made the discovery of the sketches, said: "I was looking at books for another exhibition and found this one full of drawings and doodles. It was obvious these were way beyond the normal schoolboy standard, so we looked into who might have made them.

"You can clearly see they are by the same hand - the style, the subject and feeling behind them is so similar."