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Hablot "Phiz" Knight “Phiz” Brown (Hablot Knight Brown)

Hablot Knight “Phiz” Brown

British Book Illustrator. He began his career as an apprentice at the engraving firm of Findon Brothers, London.  Engraving was laborious work and he soon progressed to working on etchings and watercolors.  In 1833 he won the Society of Arts’ medal for his etching “John Gilpin’s Ride”.  In 1834 he went into business as an etcher, engraver and illustrator with fellow apprentice Robert Young.  Two years later, he began his long running collaboration with Charles Dickens by illustrating the pamphlet “Sunday Under Three Heads.”  Soon after this he adopted the pen name “Phiz”, by which he is still known today.  In 1836 he replaced Robert W. Buss as illustrator for “The Pickwick Papers.”  He went on to illustrate nine more books for Dickens, including “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby” (1838), “The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewitt” (1843), and “David Copperfield” (1849).  Dickens was disatisfied with his work on “A Tale of Two Cities” (1859), feeling it lacked the detail of his earlier work.  Dickens also wanted an artist with a more contemporary style.  Although saddened by the break up with Dickens, Brown continued to work prolificly.  Other authors whose work he illustrated include Harriet Beecher Stowe, Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron.  He also worked regularly for a number of periodicals such as “Punch,” the “Illustrated London News” and “Life.”  He continued to work even after he was partially paralysed by a stroke in 1867, but when his health failed to improve he was given an annuity by the Royal Acadamy.  His career lasted for 47 years, and a blue plaque commemorates his house in Ladbrook Grove in London.   (bio by: js)


  • July, 10, 1815
  • England


  • July, 07, 1882
  • England


  • Extra-Mural Cemetery
  • England

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