Three antique desks that were once used by Charles Dickens have been in the news recently – all for very different reasons.
February 7th 2012 marked the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, the world’s greatest Victorian novelist. A host of special events is being held across the world, under the banner of Dickens 2012 – including a major exhibition entitled “Dickens in London”.
Until June 10th, visitors from Preston can see the antique mahogany pedestal desk and chair used by Dickens at Gads Hill, to write Great Expectations and the Mystery of Edwin Drood. The desk is also depicted in the unfinished painting “Dickens’ Dream”, by Robert William Buss. Unlike most Victorian mahogany pedestal desks , Dickens’ version incorporated a sloping top. It was sold for £433,250 to a private buyer, who loaned it for the exhibition.
Across the Atlantic, another Dickens antique desk will feature at an exhibition at the Free Library of Philadelphia – alongside Dickens’ pet raven, Grip. The bird inspired Edgar Allen Poe to pen his famous poem, after he’d criticised Dickens for not giving Grip a bigger role in his books! Recently, actor Gerald Dickens – a direct descendant of the novelist – was photographed with Grip at the walnut writing table.
Finally, a small antique desk inherited by a journalist may be the same one owned by Dickens as a boy. The handwritten note glued inside the sloping lid shows the author was writing from a young age – and may be the reason for the sloped lid of the antique mahogany pedestal desk at Gads Hill. If you feel like picking up the quill, an antique dealer in Preston can help you choose a suitable antique desk.
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