Gustave Doré (January 6, 1832 - January 23, 1883), a French artist, was born in Strasbourg in the Alsace departement of France. He became a book illustrator in Paris and his commissions included work by Rabelais, Balzac and Dante. In 1853 he was asked to illustrate the works of Lord Byron. This was followed by other work for British publishers including a new illustrated English Bible.
Doré's English Bible (1865) was a great success and in 1867 Doré had a major exhibition of his work in London, England. This led to the foundation of the Doré Gallery in New Bond Street.
In 1869, Blanchard Jerrold, the son of Douglas Jerrold, suggested that they worked together to produce a comprehensive portrait of London. Jerrold had got the idea from The Microcosm of London, that had been produced by Rudolf Ackermann, William Pyne and Thomas Rowlandson in 1808.
Doré signed a five-year project with the publishers, Grant & Co, that involved him staying in London for three months a year. Doré was paid the vast sum of £10,000 a year for the proposed art work. The book, London: A Pilgrimage, with 180 engravings by Doré, was eventually published in 1872.
Although a commercial success, many of the critics disliked the book. Several were upset that Doré had appeared to concentrate on the poverty that existed in London. Gustave Doré was accused by the Art Journal of "inventing rather than copying". The Westminster Review claimed that "Doré gives us sketches in which the commonest, the vulgarest external features are set down".
London: A Pilgrimage was a financial success and Doré received commissions from other British publishers. Doré's later work included Paradise Lost, The Idylls of the King and The Works of Thomas Hood. His work also appeared in the Illustrated London News. Doré continued to illustrate books until his death in paris in 1883. He is interred in the city's Père Lachaise Cemetery.