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Charles Dickens

7 of 94 portraits of Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens, by (George) Herbert Watkins, 29 April 1858 - NPG P301(20) - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Charles Dickens

by (George) Herbert Watkins
albumen print, arched top, 29 April 1858
8 in. x 6 in. (203 mm x 151 mm)
Purchased, 1985
Primary Collection
NPG P301(20)


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This pose shows Dickens at a specially-designed reading desk, reflecting a new stage of his high-profile career, that of a public reader of his works from 1858 onwards. The portrait was made at St Martin's Hall, London on 29 April 1858, the first of a series of public readings during the London season that year. He went on to tour cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast and Dublin, where his selection included passages from The Pickwick Papers, Martin Chuzzelwit and The Story of Little Dombey. Other regional tours followed in the autumns of 1859 and 1861-2, before Dickens later embarked on a highly successful reading tour of America (1867-68).

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 55
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 178

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