Home » Museums and Art Galleries of London » ‘Lost’ Portrait of Charles Dickens goes on display at the Charles Dickens Museum – 2 to 7 April 2019

‘Lost’ Portrait of Charles Dickens goes on display at the Charles Dickens Museum – 2 to 7 April 2019

A recently discovered portrait of Charles Dickens by Margaret Gillies is to be displayed at the Charles Dickens Museum. The ‘lost portrait’ of Charles Dickens was discovered in an auction of household goods in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 2017. Last year, the painting arrived at the Philip Mould & Co Gallery in London and, following conservation and provenance research, was confirmed to be the portrait of Charles Dickens painted by Margaret Gillies over six sittings in 1843, when Dickens was 31 years old and writing A Christmas Carol.

Gillies’ portrait was exhibited at the 1844 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and quickly became the defining image of Dickens. On seeing the portrait, the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning said it “has the dust and mud of humanity about him, notwithstanding those eagle eyes”. However, in 1886, Gillies noted that she had ‘lost sight of the portrait itself’. It remained lost until the South African auction and undisplayed until its unveiling at Mould & Co last year.

The Museum is campaigning to raise the funds to secure the future of the painting and bring it permanently to Doughty Street. It has already raised £65,000 of the £180,000 needed to purchase the portrait.

Address: Charles Dickens Museum, 48 Doughty Street, London WC1N 2LX

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Charles Dickens Museum website here

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