Dickens dedicated Bleak House "as a remembrance of our friendly union, to my companions in the Guild of Literature and Art". Described by Ackroyd as "an ambitious project designed to help writers 'in difficulties' with a system of annuities and pensions as well as the provision of a number of special houses…", founding members included Bulwer Lytton, Wilkie Collins, John Forster, Mark Lemon, John Tenniel and Charles Knight. This present copy is, therefore, one of a handful of dedication copies.
Other dedication copies of Bleak House (inscribed by Dickens on the same date) include John Tenniel's copy (Sotheby's New York, 21 July 1992, lot 49) and Mark Lemon's copy (Christie's New York, The William E. Self Family Collection Part I, 2 April 2008, lot 146).
Charles Knight (1791-1873), the publisher, editor, journalist and author was a contributor to Household Words. In her study, Charles Knight: Educator, Publisher, Writer (Aldershot, 2006), Valerie Gray describes her subject as "a prime force in a great movement. He was in the forefront of the movement to provide cheap, quality literature for all readers, but particularly for the newly literate working classes… Knight was instrumental in the creation of a mass market in literature designed to satisfy the needs of the steadily rising literate population". Dickens seems to have first met Charles Knight in the 1830s when introduced by Macready and Forster to the Shakespeare Club, which met on Saturday evenings at the Piazza Coffee House in Covent Garden for readings and discussions on cultural subjects. Most of the friends Dickens made there -- others including the lawyer and MP Thomas Talfourd (see lot 74) and the artist Daniel Maclise (see lot 116) remained his friends for life.
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