In 1869 French artist Gustave Dore teamed up with journalist Blanchard Jerrold to produce an illustrated record of the 'shadows and sunlight' of London. As Jerrold later recalled, they spent many days and nights exploring the capital, often protected by plain-clothes policemen. They visited night refuges, cheap lodging houses and the opium den described by Charles Dickens in the sinister opening chapter of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. According to The Guardian, the project took 4 years during which time, Dore produced 180 engravings.
Some doubts have been cast as to the accuracy of these images as Dore disliked sketching in public. Jerrold's text was thought to be superficial at the time.
However both men were "transfixed by the deprivation, squalor and wretchedness of the lives of the poor, even though they realised that London was changing and some of the worst social evils were beginning to be addressed." THE GUARDIAN
Their work has been described as a landmark account of the deprivation and squalor of mid-Victorian London.