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    Sale 5141

    Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts

    12 November 2007, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 149

    DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). Autograph letter signed to Angus Fletcher, Devonshire Terrace, Monday 13th May 1844, one page, oblong 4to, address panel on verso, English and Italian postmarks, wax seal (seal tear to upper margin with partial loss of one word). Provenance: Timothy Yeats Brown (b.1789), British Consul-general at Genoa -- his son, Montagu Yeats Brown (1834-1921) -- presented to his wife, Agnes, née Bellingham (20 January 1893).

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). Autograph letter signed to Angus Fletcher, Devonshire Terrace, Monday 13th May 1844, one page, oblong 4to, address panel on verso, English and Italian postmarks, wax seal (seal tear to upper margin with partial loss of one word). Provenance: Timothy Yeats Brown (b.1789), British Consul-general at Genoa -- his son, Montagu Yeats Brown (1834-1921) -- presented to his wife, Agnes, née Bellingham (20 January 1893).

    'I am working at Italian, when I am not working my very head off at Martin Chuzzlewit!'. Dickens writes to his friend, the sculptor Angus Fletcher, about arrangements for renting a villa near Genoa, where he was to spend a year with his family. 'Take the illustrious abiding place of the illustrious man for three months': Dickens is anxious that Fletcher obtains a cheap rent, about the payment for a water closet, and that the sculptor has his bedroom on the ground floor lest his 'enormous blocks of marble you will work upon should fall through and damage the family'. A familiar and amusing letter ('if you employ a -- (what's a lawyer in Italian? Solicito I suppose?) hold me your debtor, like a good Canova'), Dickens imagines them both on the roof, him with a telescope, 'but little of me is visible behind my moustache... I look towards my native land and scowl. I also drink -- a little. Do I smoke at all?'.

    Martin Chuzzlewit appeared in monthly parts from December 1842 to June 1844, 'in a hundred points immeasurably the best of my stories' (Forster, 305). He moved his wife and five children to Genoa in July 1844, where he spent a year in the Palazzo Peschiere. The sculptor Angus Fletcher (1799-1862) was first introduced to Dickens by John Macrone, the publisher of Sketches by Boz; and they met again in Italy, forming a long-lasting friendship.


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