by John & Charles Watkins
albumen print on card, September 1863
8 in. x 6 3/8 in. (203 mm x 163 mm)
Given by M. Hutchinson, 1965
Artistback to top
- John & Charles Watkins (active 1863-1870), Photographer. Artist associated with 334 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This photograph shows Dickens in a pensive mood, and was taken at a time when he had suffered two family deaths, losing his second son, Walter, who died in India, and also his mother. A detail of this portrait was produced as a reduced-sized carte-de-visite, which could be bought by the public, satisfying an insatiable demand for photographic images of eminent and popular figures.
Linked publicationsback to top
- 100 Photographs, 2018, p. 31 Read entry
Charles Dickens (1812-70) is widely regarded as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His writings vividly portray the class system of the period, addressing social deprivation and injustice. This photograph shows Dickens in a pensive mood, and was taken at a time when he had suffered two family bereavements, losing his second son, Walter, who died in India, and also his mother. A detail from this image was produced as a carte-de-visite, which could be bought cheaply by the public, satisfying an insatiable demand for Dickens’s portrait.
- Smartify image discovery app
- Lucinda Hawksley, Charles Dickens and his Circle, 2016, p. 120
Placesback to top
- Place made: United Kingdom: England, London (photographers' studio, 34 Parliament Street, London)
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
Events of 1863back to top
Current affairsThe opening of the world's first underground railway, with the Metropolitan Railway running trains between Bishop's Street, Padington and Farringdon. Work had begun in 1860, using the 'cut-and-cover' method of construction. The Metropolitan line inspired the construction of other underground railways - the Parisian 'Metro' took its name from the line.
The Football Association is founded.
Art and scienceJulia Margaret Cameron takes up photography, taking portraits of some of the most celebrated figures of the day, with her romantic style capturing the sense of nostalgia and longing that characterised the age.
Kingsley's Water Babies; A Fairy Tale for Children is published, the hugely popular tale of drowned chimney sweep Tom's moral education in the river world of the water babies. It inspired the 1978 film starring James Mason.