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The Marsh Country
first published in the UK in weekly instalments, in Dickens’s own
The Year Round.
The first part appeared on 1 December 1860, which makes 2010 its
It is unusual amongst Dickens’s novels in that it was first seen in
this country without accompanying illustrations, either in the
magazine, or in 1861 when the first complete version was
Great Expectations is
celebrated especially in Medway since much of it is set in the
area. Dickens appears to have been inspired by the landscape of the
north Kent marshes and important local buildings such as the
Rochester Guildhall, Restoration House and churches in Higham and
At the beginning of 2010, the Guildhall Museum set out with three
local primary schools to provide the famous opening of the novel
with the illustrations that those early instalments were lacking.
These schools were:
Saxon Way Primary.
Artist Wendy Daws provided the expertise and inspiration.
Renaissance South East and Medway Council provided the
The project was designed to bring together three things to enable
children to create suitable images:
Great Expectations itself;
objects from the museum’s collection;
the practice of making silhouette pictures.
Children found out about the story and the characters in school.
They visited the museum to research the historic context and were
able to handle examples of objects that appear in the novel. They
then worked with Wendy Daws in school to pick a scene, make props
and costume appropriate to it, and pose a tableau that could be
photographed in silhouette.
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