Charles Dickens, c.1865.
By John Watkins
Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was an English writer who is often referred to as the greatest novelist of the Victorian period. He rose to fame in 1836 with the serial publication of The Pickwick Papers and his popularity has continued throughout his lifetime and to the present day. Among his work are some of Britain’s best loved stories such as A Christmas Carol, The Adventures of Oliver Twist and Hard Times.
This portrait is called a carte-de-visite and was taken at the studio of John & Charles Watkins, London, in about 1865. A carte-de-visite is a photograph mounted on a piece of card the size of a formal visiting card of the 1850s. The format was introduced by the French photographer Andre-Adolphe-Eugene Disdéri (1819-1889) in 1854. The craze for collecting celebrity cartes-de-visite in albums reached its peak during the 1860s but the format remained popular until the beginning of the twentieth century.
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