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Collection of Charles Dickens Memorabilia, framed and glazed, including: Dickens's rosewood paper knife, with a letter of authenticity from his sister-in-law Georgina Hogarth; a carte de visite portrait photograph; a signed cheque made payable to 'House and Bonchurch'; a single-page ALS from Dickens to John Hilson esquire, thanking him for 'that communication'. The whole put together and presented by W.T. Spencer, Esq.
[c.1870] Five items arranged, with labels, on dark green felt within a heavy oak frame, approx. 72 x 41cm. There is a small tear in the cheque, without loss, but the overall condition of the collection is v.g.The centrepiece of this small but fascinating selection is a handsome rosewood paper knife, 29cm in length, ornamented with a finely tooled gilt brass onlay at the handle end. It bears a small oval label that is somewhat oxidised, but retains the monogrammed initials, 'C.D.'. Beneath the knife to the left is a 10-line holograph statement, written and signed by Georgina Hogarth, in which she states, 'I certify that Charles Dickens always used this rosewood and brass paper knife from 1859 until the time of his death ... and that I have always used it since and had it my possession'. Directly beneath the paper knife is a carte de visite photograph portrait of Dickens, probably taken around 1860. The full-length portrait shows Dickens seated in a Regency-style armchair, facing left. Beneath the paper knife to the right is an 11-line ALS from Dickens to John Hilson Esquire. Writing from Broadstairs Kent, on the sixth October 1849, Dickens thanks Hilson for his letter, 'which reached me on the Isle of Wight, some few days ago', and ensures him he has 'read it with considerable interest'. It is written in blue ink, and signed by Dickens with his usual flourish. The identity of John Hilson is not certain, nor the nature of the correspondence to which Dickens refers. This letter is not in Pilgrim Letters, and there is no record of Dickens writing to him on any other occasion.Directly beneath the carte de visite is a signed cheque, drawn on Messrs. Coutts & Compy, made payable to 'House and Bonchurch'. Dated April 3rd, 1860, the sum of 'ten pounds' appears to be for accommodation on the Isle of Wight; Dickens stayed in Bonchurch with his family during the summer and early autumn of 1849, the visit to which he refers in the above ALS. However, there is no evidence that he visited the island again, indeed Forster in his Life of Dickens categorically states, 'he never returned to Bonchurch' [vol. II, p.402]. Pilgrim Letters appears to corroborate this assertion, as it records no further correspondence addressed from the island, nor any reference to further visits. But this cheque puts the matter in some doubt; what is the payment for? Did Dickens make a fleeting clandestine visit to Bonchurch? Or was this simply a payment made on behalf of a third party (one of his daughters is thought to have visited the island in the spring of 1860)? The researcher Richard Hutching in Dickens on an Island (Bath, 1970) makes a compelling case for Dickens visiting the island in 1860, and even suggests the prototype for Miss Havisham was one of Dickens's acquaintances among the islanders. This cheque perhaps adds weight to Hutching's argument. The frame is itself of interest. A manuscript label on the verso states that is 'made of a piece of oak used for the roof in the Royal Hall, Carisbrooke Castle'. The roof was constructed 'during the reign of Elizabeth' and removed in 1889 'on account of its unsafe condition'. The timber was apparently salvaged, and this frame made as a souvenir. A pair of labels within the display read 'Presented by W.T. Spencer Esq', and on the verso of the frame is a small accession label. It is presumably Spencer who had the frame made, and put together the selection of Dickens materials. Walter Thomas Spencer was a London bookseller (and Dickensian) who had connections with the Isle of Wight. PLEASE NOTE: For customers within the UK and the EU, this item is subject to VAT.
      [Bookseller: Jarndyce Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2017-11-22           Check availability:      Direct From Seller    

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