Published: Friday, 6th December 2019

Artists are invited to create works for a printmaking exhibition which will celebrate all things Dickens.

Next year Medway will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens.

There will be exhibitions, poetry trails and art projects as well as guided walks, dramatic adaptations and a Dickensian themed open top bus tour. Residents and visitors will also be able to enjoy the much-loved Dickens Festival on Saturday, 13 and Sunday, 14 June 2020.

Dickens spent much of his life in Medway and many of his novels and characters were inspired by his experiences of living here. Eastgate House in Rochester features in The Pickwick Papers and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The Grade 1 listed Elizabethan mansion, which was built in 1590, was also used as a Victorian school.

To mark the anniversary of Dickens’ death, Rochester Art Gallery is hosting its first print open call exhibition from Friday, 10 April to Sunday, 28 June as part of the Medway Print Festival 2020.

The exhibition will showcase works submitted by amateur and professional printmakers inspired by Dickens-related themes, such as designing a new cover for a limited-edition reissue of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, death in Dickens’ life and novels, Dickens and the Victorian way of death and mourning alongside Dickens and Medway. The competition is open to anyone who makes prints and includes an under 21s category for children and young people. Prizes will be awarded for each category winner.

Printmaking includes any kind of hand printed work from linocuts, etchings, screenprints, letterpress to monoprints and even hand printed textiles or ceramics.

The exhibition aims to feature at least one piece of work from each entrant, subject to space.

The prints will be exhibited alongside items relating to Dickens life and works including a set of printed engravings from The Mystery of Edwin Drood as well as seldom seen Victorian funerary treasures including beautiful mourning jewellery, clothing and accessories, paintings and funeral cards kindly loaned from the collection at the Guildhall Museum.

Proud of Medway's connections to Dickens

Paul Cowell, Head of Culture at Medway Council, said: “2020 will be an incredibly special year as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens. We are proud of Medway’s connections to the great author and we will be holding a series of exhibitions and events for residents and visitors of all ages to enjoy. Medway’s arts community are extremely talented and I am looking forward to seeing all the creative entries for the Dickens printmaking competition. A number of arts competitions and exhibitions are held across Medway each year and this is another reason why residents and businesses are backing Medway’s bid for City of Culture 2025.”

The deadline for exhibition entries is Friday, 31 January 2020.

More information about the Dickens150 commemoration events will be announced in the new year. Keep up-to-date by following Enjoy Medway on Facebook and Twitter.

The print open call exhibition is one of a number of arts projects which are currently taking place across Medway which contribute to Medway’s strong case to bid for City of Culture 2025.

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