Portrait of Augustus Egg.  Dickens, along with Wilkie Collins, Mark Lemon, and others formed the Guild of Literature and Art in the 1850’s.  The Guild was created to aid indigent artists and authors and to provide free homes for them.  As part of the Guild’s activities, Dickens organized and was the Stage Manager for the Company of Strolling Players.  Dickens was to write a farce for the production of the Company, but pressure of time prevented him from doing so and a farce constructed by Mark Lemon, editor of “Punch” and close friend of Dickens was chosen instead.  In the process of rehearsal, Dickens (who was to be in the cast) made so many changes that one might say the farce, Mr. Nightingales Diary, is the joint effort of Dickens and Lemon.  The farce was first produced on May 16th, 1851.  The cast included Augustus Egg (pictured here), Mark Lemon, Wilkie Collins, Dickens and others.  According to Eckel, there are only three known copies of the first edition of the farce, one of which was included in the Grolier Club Dickens exhibition of 1913.  This exhibited copy had belonged to Wilkie Collins.