GALVESTON, Texas—The first exhibit of its kind in the United States, a group of artifacts titled “Treasures from the Charles Dickens Museum,” will be open for two days only, Dec. 1-2, at The Tremont House, 2300 Ship’s Mechanic Row in Galveston, inside the gates of the 34th Annual Dickens on The Strand festival.
Dickens on the Strand
Charles Dickens Museum
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
From Dickens’ walking stick and writing box to the suit he wore to meet Queen Victoria, items for the exhibit were hand-selected by senior members of the Charles Dickens Museum in London for visitors to Galveston’s Victorian event.
“The festival generates such a great amount of interest in the author, we thought it would be nice to join you,” says Andrew Xavier, director for the Charles Dickens Museum, who will be collaborating with Galveston Historical Foundation to bring the exhibit to the U.S. He and Florian Schweizer, museum curator, will travel with the artifacts and be available to speak with Dickens on The Strand festival visitors.
Xavier says the idea for the collaboration came about from the high praise members of the Dickens family have given Dickens on The Strand over the years. The event has welcomed representatives from five generations of the family, including two of Dickens’ great grandsons. For the last several years, great-great grandson Mark Charles Dickens has made the trip to Galveston.
For the first time his year, Henry Dickens Hawksley, great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens and a trustee of the museum, will visit the festival he has heard so much about from his cousin. At the exhibit site, Hawksley will sign copies of “A Christmas Carol” and other of his ancestor’s famous works; he will also perform a public reading from the Christmas novel at the Dickens Feast, an event held every year on the Friday evening preceding the opening of the festival.
Hawksley says his whole family has embraced this overseas tribute to his ancestor as a means of promoting Dickens and his literary works to a broad audience. An expert on Dickens’ life, Hawksley was president of The Dickens Fellowship from 2001-2003, and serves as vice-president for two Pickwick clubs. He is often called on to speak about his great-great grandfather, in addition to his work with the museum.
“Treasures from the Charles Dickens Museum” will include several of the author’s objects including his walking stick and traveling bag, the court suit and sword he wore to meet Queen Victoria (the author’s only surviving clothing), his writing box with dip pen, quill pen and ink wells, and a page of manuscript of “Nicholas Nickleby.”
Xavier also plans to bring two large portraits—a crayon-and-pencil work by Samuel Laurence, and an unfinished watercolor by R.W. Buss titled “Dickens’s Dream.”
The Charles Dickens Museum is the world's most important collection of material relating to the great Victorian novelist and social commentator. The only surviving London home of Dickens (from 1837 until 1839), 48 Doughty Street was opened as a museum in 1925 and is still welcoming visitors from all over the world. On four floors, visitors can see paintings, rare editions, manuscripts, original furniture and many items relating to the life of one of the most popular and beloved personalities of the Victorian age.