Writing slope from Tavistock House, Dickens's final London residence of 1851-1860, where he wrote Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorrit, and A Tale of Two Cities. Although we have found no contemporary references to this item, the provenance can be traced back to James Phineas Davis, the London solicitor who acquired Tavistock House after Dickens moved to Gad's Hill Place in 1860. It was a friendly transaction, prompting Dickens to write that "I have never had any money transaction with any one more promptly, fairly, and considerately conducted than the purchase of Tavistock House has been", and a friendship developed with Davis and his wife (the couple were Jewish and in later years Dickens and Mrs Davis had a lively exchange over anti-Semitism and the character of Fagin).
Furniture and effects were included in the sale of Tavistock House. On 21 August Dickens sent the maid at Tavistock House a list (no longer extant) of the effects that were now the property of Davis. This list may well have included items of furniture which Dickens was happy for him to keep, such as this writing slope. Two days later he asked whether Mrs Davis might like to purchase any of the fitted furniture ("...I mention this now, because we begin to move furniture tomorrow..."). It is also possible - as the plaque suggests - that the writing slope was given by Dickens to Davis in gratitude for his gracious handling of the transaction.
We are grateful to Dr David Parker, former curator of the Charles Dickens Museum in London, for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale