8 December 2015
DICKENS, Charles. Portrait photograph inscribed and signed (“Charles Dickens” with a very large ink flourish), “Washington D.C., “Seventh February, 1868.” Mammoth oval portrait, 17 x 13 in., (Light browning in several places).
DICKENS IN WASHINGTON, 1868. The celebrated author had visited Washington D.C. on his previous American trip in 1842, but his 1868 visit was undertaken against the advice of many friends concerned for his poor health. While in America he gave several very popular readings from his works. In his five-month journey he delivered a total of 76 performances. On his Washington tour he met President Andrew Johnson and signed this photo on the date of that meeting, 7 February (which was also Dickens's birthday). Dickens explains the circumstances in a letter to his friend and agent John Foster, which Dickens began on 4 February but finished on the 7th: “This scrambling scribblement is resumed this morning, because I have just seen the President: who had sent to me very courteously asking me to make my own appointment. He is a man with a remarkable face..” After that meeting Dickens retired to his hotel to nurse his hoarse voice. Provenance: The Cosmos Club (deaccession); sale by auction to the present owner.
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