DICKENS, Charles. Manuscript document signed ("Charles Dickens"), countersigned by William Henry Wills (1810-1880), an indenture recording the lease of London premises for the offices of All the Year Round, a monthly edited by Dickens, [London], 29 July 1864.
A large oblong (590 x 720mm). Engrossed on fine parchment, margins ruled in red, large opening text ("This Indenture") finely engraved in a copperplate hand with scrolling flourishes, text in a neat clerical hand, boldly signed by Dickens and Wills on flap at bottom, each signature with original red wax seal, tax stamp at left edge, the verso with usual endorsements: "Counterpart Lease of No. 26 Wellington Street in the Parish of St. Paul, Covent Garden...for the Term of two years." IN IMMACULATE CONDITION. Brown morocco gilt-lettered folding case. Provenance: Kenyon Starling.
DICKENS LEASES PREMISES FOR THE EDITORIAL OFFICES OF "ALL THE YEAR ROUND"
Dickens had served as editor of the monthly Bentley's Miscellany from 1837 to 1839 and his Oliver Twist was serialized there before the author and the publisher, Richard Bentley, had a falling out. After a brief and taxing stint as editor of a liberal newspaper, The Daily News, he joined in 1850 with W.H. Wills (already a trusted friend and editorial assistant) to found the weekly Household Words, published by Bradbury & Evans. In 1859 Dickens and the publisher quarreled over publication of a statement referring to Dickens's separation from his wife. Wills and Dickens then folded Household Words into a new popular monthly, All the Year Round, that Dickens edited until his death. Serialized fiction was a mainstay of the All the Year Round, and among the novels first serialized there were Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White (1860), The Moonstone (1868) and Dickens's own A Tale of Two Cities (1859) and Great Expectations (1860-61). The indenture records the rental of premises at 126 Wellington Street in London, from the builder, Richard Bird, for an annual rent of £110. The responsibilities of the tenants--including painting and chimney maintenance--are set out in careful detail, and they agree not to carry on various specific trades on premises, including baker, vintner, coffee shop keeper, blacking maker, poulterer, or cheesemonger.