frontispiece and title page
The New York Public Library, Berg Collection of
English and American Literature

An Amateur Company of Ladies and Gentlemen.
This playbill memorializes a benefit performance of Wilkie Collins's The Frozen Deep at the Gallery of Illustration, Regent Street, London, on Saturday evening, August 8, 1857, one of a series of performances organized by Dickens after the death of the playwright Douglas Jerrold to raise funds for the family of his late friend. Collins's "romantic drama," which reportedly left performers and audiences alike sobbing and absolutely "convulsed with grief," was staged several times in both London and Manchester. On this evening, the amateur company included the author himself, three of Dickens's children (Kate, Mary, and Charles, Jr.), his brother Alfred, and Georgina Hogarth, as well as several of Dickens's closet male friends.