DICKENS, CHARLES | Autograph letter signed ("Charles Dickens"), to George Dolby, in which he rather whimsically writes about inclement weather, with bookplate and carte-de-visite
Autograph letter signed ("Charles Dickens"), to George Dolby, in which he rather whimsically writes about inclement weather, with bookplate and carte-de-visite
1 page (7 1/8 x 4 1/2 in.; 180 x 110 mm). Written from London, Tavistock House, and dated 28 September 1856; minor toning. Letter matted and framed together with: Dickens' engraved bookplate with crouching lion, and carte-de-visite, produced by J. Gurney & Son, New York, ca. 1867; minor toning to each. Not examined out of frame.
"I don't care much for weather, and am off to the Foundling, and (unless it should rain Tiger cats and Newfoundland dogs) to Hampstead afterwards..."
The present letter embodies Dickens' characteristic sense of whimsy, and his fecund imagination. In this correspondence, Dickens ultimately arranges to meet George Dolby, a friend who would later become his employee. In 1866 Chappell Publishers employed Dolby to work for Dickens during his reading tour of the country. Of this shift in their relationship, Dolby later commented: "Though I had known Mr. Dickens for some time previously, this was the first occasion on which I came into contact with him in a business matter; and there was naturally a feeling of constraint which might have made our first interview tedious but for that geniality, that antidote to reserve, which formed one of his chief characteristics." Dickens apparently shook his hand and said: "I hope we shall like each other on the termination of the tour as much as we seem to do now."
Dickens and Dolby were close friends for the remainder of the author's life, with Dolby accompanying him on his reading tours throughout Britain and beyond. During his final tour of America, it was Dolby who persuaded Dickens to sit for the present carte-de-visite: "I prevailed on [Dickens] to sit to Mr. Ben Gurney in New York, who succeeded in producing the only good photograph of him in existence. It was to this artist only, and then only once, that he gave a sitting in America" (Dolby).
The Letters of Charles Dickens, ed. Storey, et al, 8: 193; Dolby, Charles Dickens as I Knew Him 172
Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 11 February 1914, lot 112
Condition as described in catalogue entry.
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