The Living Image of Charles Dickens
25th July 2020 - 16th June 2021
Marking the 150th anniversary of Charles Dickens’s death, this exhibition explores the power of the writer’s image. Starting in his own lifetime, we trace his image through artist interpretations, radical rethinking in popular culture and new digital technologies and re-imaginings.
The face of Charles Dickens is well known; you may recognise the wild hair and beard and think of him sitting at his desk. But this is only one version of the many faces and depictions of the famous author. From the start of his career, as people sought to devour his words they also, like any celebrity, wanted to have a piece of Dickens too. People collected his photographs, used his name to advertise products and created admiring fan portraits of the writer at home.
Get closer to Dickens with an array of objects, including fine paintings by masters such as William Powell Frith, delicate Victorian photographs, ink drawings by Automatons, and letters by the man himself telling us what he really thought of sitting for portraits. To celebrate Dickens’s legacy, the Museum has commissioned eight colourised portraits from the Museum’s collection by artist and photographer Oliver Clyde to bring Dickens to new, ‘technicolour’ life. Large scale, and in vivid colour, you will see Dickens like you have never seen him before.