July 22, 2019

A painting of Charles Dickens was found after 133 years and will be hung in the Charles Dickens Museum


A lost portrait of Charles Dickens that was missing for over 130 has been found and sent to live its days in what one would think is its rightful home, The Charles Dickens Museum in London. 

Mark Brown at the Guardian reports that the once-famous painting by artist Margaret Gillies disappeared in 1886, when she “lost sight” of it. Painted when the author was 31, when Dickens’ star was rising and he was writing A Christmas Carol, the portrait recently turned up in a “cardboard box full of trinkets at an auction in South Africa.” 

The museum was able to purchase the £180,000 painting with substantial fundraising help from Dickens fans as well as grants from the Art Fund and the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund. 

The museum’s director Cindy Sughrue told the Guardian “We are so excited to be bringing the lost portrait home and we are extremely grateful, and touched by, the generous support that we have received. It is a magnificent affirmation of the enduring appeal of Dickens’s writing and the worldwide fascination that he continues to inspire.” 

The painting will officially go on display October 24, and be a permanent part of the museum’s collection. 



Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.