New Colourised Dickens Image Released Ahead of 150th Death Anniversary

"…a genius can always wear whatever he chooses"

We are very excited to be releasing the first of a new collection of colourised photographs of the great author, ahead of the 150th anniversary of his death on 9th June. The image shows Charles Dickens in 1859, aged forty-seven, with a warm expression, looking directly at the camera and sporting a bright yellow, green and blue Clan Gordon tartan waistcoat, over a brilliant white shirt, with light-coloured trousers, a textured navy jacket and a bow tie.

The original black-and-white collodion print chosen for today’s first image was made by photographer Herbert Watkins. The new photography and colourisation has been conducted by London-based portrait and still life photographer, Oliver Clyde.


It is the first taster of major new exhibition, Technicolour Dickens: The Living Image of Charles Dickens, to be opened at the Museum at the author’s London home as soon as COVID-19 allows. Technicolour Dickens has been created in conjunction with associate co-curators Dr Leon Litvack of Queen’s University, Belfast, and Professor Julian North of University of Leicester.

The exhibition will show how images of Dickens were consumed and circulated as soon as he found fame, throughout his career and after his death. It will bring together a dizzying array of depictions of Dickens, as well as clothing, personal items and descriptions by those who knew and saw him, to reveal Dickens as he actually was and to explore the enduring power of his image.

A new, vivid suite of colour photographic portraits of Dickens will be the spectacular finale to the exhibition. Eight historic photographs from the Museum’s collection have been carefully selected for colourisation. In creating the new images, we have researched the details of each original portrait session, the clothes and accessories chosen by Dickens for each and the objects included in the original photographs. The process has also involved photography and study of the complexion and skin tone of two of Dickens’s great-great grandsons, Gerald Dickens and Mark Dickens, in conditions akin to the original photography sessions to ensure that the colourisation is as accurate as possible.

More details will follow as exhibition is officially announced next week so watch this space!

#TechnicolourDickens #Dickens150 #DickensLegacy


Hi Dickens Museum Team
The upcoming ‘Technicolour Dickens’ exhibition sounds amazing. Looking forward to it.

I also saw the post on LinkedIn this morning concerning the light and sound installation at Westminster Abbey commemorating Dickens’s death and re-posted it. Amazing blend of technology and creativity. A great (illuminative!) idea to raise the profile of both Dickens and the museum and to present both in a positive light. Positive messages in the public domain are so important right now, so well done and thank you.

Kind regards


Shud be wonderful cant wait

Dickens Museum is a must whenever I visit London and look forward to renewing its acquaintance whenever it re-opens. This being so I should be more than delighted to donate in some small way to assist in maintaining its existence.

I love to visit the museum when visiting London and it would sadden me greatly if it were to close. This being so I should be only too glad to make some small donation if this will help to maintain this excellent museum. I love to have a quiet coffee and lovely cake on my visits. Another reason for my support!

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