Old Curiosity Shop square jug produced by Royal Doulton of Burslem, England, between 1935-1960. The "Old Curiosity Shop" is a novel written by Charles Dickens and published originally in weekly installments between April 1840 and February 1841 in "Master Humphries Clock". The serialized novel tells the story of Nelly Trent and her grandfather as they wander the English countryside trying to evade Daniel Quilp, arguably Dickens's most evil villain. Nell's grandfather borrowed money from Quilp to support a gambling habit and lost everything, including the Curiosity Shop. As the conclusion of the story nears Nell is exhausted from the travel and lack of food. Dickens was inundated with letters begging him to spare Nell's life. With the last installment arriving by ship, crowds in New York shouted from the pier "Is Little Nell Dead?" The model for Nell is believed to be Dickens's sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth, who died suddenly at age seventeen in 1837 and for whom Dickens still grieved.