Hablot Knight Browne, who went by the pseudonym ‘Phiz’, was a famous book illustrator who worked with Charles Lever,Harrison Ainsworth and, most notably, Charles Dickens. Browne was of Huguenot descent, was born in Lambeth in 1815, and he was the fourteenth of Catherine and William Loder Browne’s fifteen children.
At a young age Browne was apprenticed to the skilled engraver William Finden. However, he soon found that he was unsuited for engraving. In 1833, he was awarded an important prize from the Society of Arts for a drawing he made of John Gilpin, which led him to abandon engraving altogether, in order to develop his skills in other mediums, such as etching and drawing.
Browne met Charles Dickens in early 1836, when Dickens was looking for someone to illustrate The Pickwick Papers.Thus began an important friendship and working relationship for both men, with Browne illustrating ten books, including David Copperfield and Bleak House.