When a London museum representative visited Philadelphia’s Free Library recently, he thought they would be glad to loan their antique desk, which was once owned by Charles Dickens, even bearing his initials. Although the museum refused, an even more impressive piece was found to replace it.
February 7th was the bicentennial birthday of Charles Dickens, marked by celebrations across the world. Charles Dickens is our best known and most loved novelist, and Dickens 2012 celebrates this fact with a calendar of international events honouring the life and works of our most famous global export. One of the best is the Dickens and London exhibition, which runs until June 10th at the Museum of London.
A highlight of the display is an unfinished watercolour painting – Dickens Dream, by RW Buss – displayed alongside Dickens’ original library chair and Victorian mahogany pedestal desk . Preston has a poignant link with the novelist, as it was while performing one of his “farewell readings” there in 1869 that he suffered a stroke. He recovered enough to carry on, but suffered another stroke – this time fatal – a year later, leaving the Mystery of Edwin Drood unfinished. Slightly eerie is the fact that Buss also died leaving his work unfinished. It features Charles Dickens slumped at the same antique mahogany pedestal desk he was using for Edwin Drood …
Charles Dickens toured America extensively, and the Philadelphia Free Library has one of the largest collections of his work in the world. Their Dickens writing table is therefore taking pride of place in their own exhibition. But if you need a Victorian mahogany partners desk , Preston antique dealers are always happy to part company.
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