Hablot Knight Browne was born on 15th June 1815 in Kennington and was apprenticed to the engraver William Finden who gave him his only artistic education. At age 19 he gave up engraving to pursue other artistic interests. When Charles Dickens's first illustrator, Robert Seymour, died Browne applied for the vacant post and got the job over the rival W.M. Thackeray. Dickens liked Browne's interpretation of his work and illustrated many of his later works including Pickwick, David Copperfield, Dombey and Son, Martin Chuzzlewit, and Bleak House. Browne signed is work with the name "Phiz" to complement Dickens' "Boz".
Brownes work was soon in great demand by publishers and he illustrated books for Charles Lever and Harrison Ainsworth. Unfortunately he suffered a paralyzing stoke in 1867 which effectively ended his career. He died in Brighton on 8th July 1882.