DICKNS-L Archives

Charles Dickens Forum


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Charles Dickens Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 6 Nov 2016 15:38:09 -0800
text/plain (114 lines)
Friends of the Dickens Forum,

     Tony Pointon <[log in to unmask]> has made a claim about 
Dickens's not moving out of
his marital bedroom and here repeats it.  Perhaps someone wants to 
charge him to prove it.  (pjm)
> I know that any opportunity has to be taken to make derogatory remarks
> about Dickens even when they are totally irrelevant to the subject under
> discussion, like with the newly found but technically distressed portrait
> of Catherine. It is perfectly obvious that Dickens never moved out of the
> marital bedroom, though so many "scholars" have stated this as fact that it
> seems churlish to point it out in this case when those writing about the
> portrait are simply only again repeating the invention
> which "everybody-else" publishes in the standard style of biographers and
> historians. If anybody wishes to question my statement, I will
> happily supply a demonstration its truth.
> Tony Pointon
> On 6 November 2016 at 19:54, Patrick McCarthy <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>> Friends of the Dickens Forum,
>>      Scholarship of Dickens spreads wide.  Here, thanks to Herb Moskowitz,
>> is an interesting example
>> of its breadth:
>>                                                              (pjm)
>> Relief for Dickens museum as experts say portrait of writer's wife is
>> genuine
>> Tests show that painting by Irish artist Daniel Maclise is almost entirely
>> hidden under later overpainting
>> https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/02/charles-
>> catherine-dickens-museum-experts-portrait-daniel-maclise
>> *X-ray and UV analysis has revealed the painting is genuine but almost
>> hidden under disastrous layers of later overpainting.*
>> The good news for the Charles Dickens museum in London
>> <http://dickensmuseum.com/> is that it does own an original portrait of
>> the writer’s unfortunate wife, Catherine, by an important Victorian artist.
>> The bad news is that it is almost entirely hidden under later overpainting.
>> Doubts about the authenticity of the portrait emerged in the past year. It
>> was considered the better of only two paintings of Catherine in the
>> collection, and believed to be the work of the Irish artist Daniel Maclise,
>> a friend of the author’s.
>> Maclise was a highly regarded artist, and his prestigious commissions
>> included two gigantic paintings of scenes from the Napoleonic wars in the
>> House of Lords. In contrast the portrait of Catherine seemed crude to the
>> museum’s curator Louisa Price, and worrying gaps in its provenance also
>> emerged when a catalogue of all the museum’s paintings was being compiled
>> this year.
>> Closer study revealed heavy overpainting across most of the surface,
>> covering up to 70% of the original including most of the face. The painting
>> is believed to be an attempt to mask the damage caused by an equally
>> disastrous attempt to clean the picture, long before it came to the museum.
>> Price suspects that it happened during the period it spent in the United
>> States, when it was also taken off its original stretcher and glued on to a
>> sheet of plywood, a process which probably caused further damage.
>> The entire picture has been subjected to extensive tests at the Hamilton
>> Kerr Institute, the conservation department of the Fitzwilliam Museum in
>> Cambridge. The x-ray, and infrared scan, revealed that a genuine portrait
>> by Maclise – recoded in a contemporary drawing – lies underneath. His
>> original sketch in charcoal also showed up under the paint layer, along
>> with details that vanished in the overpainting including a hair clip.
>> Cindy Sughrue, director of the museum, hopes to raise the money for full
>> restoration of the painting. “This has been an interesting process to say
>> the least, and one that has seen us swinging from despair to elation.”
>> The painting probably dates from 1847, when a £55 payment from Dickens to
>> Maclise was recorded, and shows Catherine as the lovely young woman the
>> author first met.
>> They had married in 1836, and the museum is in the first house they rented
>> together in London. However 10 children later, after he had fallen in love
>> with the young actress Ellen Ternan, he moved out of their bedroom and had
>> the connecting door boarded up, and then formally separated from her,
>> announcing in a newspaper advertisement – to the horror of many of their
>> friends – that “some domestic trouble of mine of longstanding” had been
>> resolved. After he denounced her as an uncaring mother, her own sister and
>> most of her children stayed with him.
>> The portrait shows Catherine in happier times wearing her engagement ring,
>> and working on an embroidered decoration for a mantelpiece: it is exhibited
>> in the museum near the real ring, and an almost identical piece of
>> embroidery made by her.
>> The painting stayed with Catherine after they separated, and was given to
>> their mutual friend, the philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts. It was then
>> owned by a relative of hers, and spent a time in the United States after it
>> was bought in 1946 in a bookshop in Hastings, before it was given to the
>> museum in 1996.
>> “Anyone could see looking at it that it wasn’t quite right – one
>> conservator commented that she looks more like a southern belle – but until
>> we got the scans back it was hard to say exactly what had happened to it,”
>> Price said. “It’s a great relief to know that most of the original painting
>> is still there and we should be able to recover it.”