Past challenges

Chinnery Summer Transcription Challenge

This summer, we’re taking a break from decoding Dickens and turning attention to another user of the Gurney shorthand system: the artist George Chinnery (1774-1852). The challenge consists of transcribing the artist’s brief shorthand notes on seven fascinating sketches, one of which you can see below.

Figure 1: George Chinnery, Studies of Chinese Porters and a Figure in Rainwear with a Cow and Calf.

This guest challenge is posed by Patrick Conner, research fellow at the V&A Museum and expert on Chinnery’s life and work. You can find out more about the connections between Dickens, Chinnery, and Gurney shorthand, in Patrick’s blog on the subject, as well as how Chinnery used shorthand and some example transcriptions. All of the images appear courtesy of the V&A, London. While Chinnery is using Brachygraphy, you’ll find some difference with the way that Dickens uses the system. Bear this in mind as you give the challenge a go!

To take part, download an entry form and fill in your answers, before emailing it back to us. The deadline for entries is 15 September 2023.

Download an entry form here

The same entry form is provided in .docx and .pdf format for your convenience. Please let us know if an alternate format is required.