An illustration exhibition at the Chris Beetles Gallery in central London features 800 works from across three centuries. The organisers say that this year’s exhibition is particularly special, as it celebrates the bicentenaries of the births of Charles Dickens and Edward Lear.

The Illustrators: The British Art of Illustration 1837-2012 features drawings and watercolours by Dickens's close friends and collaborators: Hablot Knight Browne (Phiz), George Cattermole, George Cruikshank and John Leech. Dickens’ writings are represented by illustrations to a number of significant editions, from Harry Furniss’s The Pickwick Papers to Mervyn Peake’s Bleak House.

Edward Lear by Himself by Edward Lear
A hundred years later, the flowers still blossom, the monkeys still frolic, and the snakes keep slithering through Henri's hot jungles by Amanda Hall

Edward Lear is commemorated by three of his own drawings, including a delightful self-portrait, and also recent illustrations, by Amanda Hall, to his comic poem, The Pelican Chorus.

Other illustrators featured include John Tenniel, Charles Doyle, Kate Greenaway, Edmund Dulac, Arthur Rackham, William Heath Robinson Mabel Lucie Attwell, Max Beerbohm, David Low, E H Shepard and Edward Ardizzone – plus more recent artists including John Norris Wood, Gillian Tyler, Rebecca Cobb, Peter Brookes of The Times and Matt of the Daily Telegraph.

The Ship Struck Upon a Rock by Edmun Dulac
Dont cry poor Johnny by Edward Ardizzone
Mr Pickwick sildes on the ice with an ardour and enthusiasm which nothing could abate by Ron Embleton

The exhibition runs from November 17 until January 5 2013.

All images are © the artist/Chris Beetles Gallery London – The Illustrators 2012