DICKENS (CHARLES)
Lot 593
DICKENS (CHARLES)
Sold for £1,320 (US$ 2,237) inc. premium
Lot Details
DICKENS (CHARLES)
Autograph letter signed ("Charles Dickens"), to Sir Francis Grant ("My Dear Sir Francis Grant"), President of the Royal Academy, accepting his invitation [to reply to the toast to 'Literature' at the Royal Academy Banquet] ("...I will acknowledge the toast with great pleasure..."), one page, 8vo, integral blank (the latter tipped onto an album leaf), laid down with the autograph signed envelope front, postmarked 23 April, 5 Hyde Park Place (on Gad's Hill paper), "Saturday Twenty Second [sic] April 1870" [23 April 1870]

Footnotes

  • DICKENS MAKES HIS LAST APPEARANCE IN PUBLIC. On 25 April the painter Daniel Maclise died, and Dickens - who was himself to die seven weeks later - took the opportunity to pay tribute to his old friend. It is this speech which furnishes John Forster with a closing set-piece of his Life of Charles Dickens: "He told those who listened that since he first entered the public lists, a very young man indeed, it had been his constant fortune to number among his nearest and dearest friends members of that Academy who had been its pride; and who had now, one by one, so dropped from his side that he was grown to believe, with the Spanish monk of whom Wilkie spoke, that the only realities around him were the pictures which he loved, and all the moving life but a shadow and a dream. 'For many years I was one of the two most intimate friends and most constant companions of Mr. Maclise, to whose death the Prince of Wales has made allusion, and the President has referred with the eloquence of genuine feeling. Of his genius in his chosen art, I will venture to say nothing here; but of his fertility of mind and wealth of intellect I may confidently assert that they would have made him, if he had been so minded, at least as great a writer as he was a painter. The gentlest and most modest of men, the freshest as to his generous appreciation of young aspirants, and the frankest and largest hearted as to his peers, incapable of a sordid or ignoble thought, gallantly sustaining the true dignity of his vocation, without one grain of self-ambition, wholesomely natural at the last as at the first, "in wit a man, simplicity a child," - no artist of whatsoever denomination, I make bold to say, ever went to his rest leaving a golden memory more pure from dross, or having devoted himself with a truer chivalry to the art-goddess whom he worshipped.' These were the last public words of Dickens, and he could not have spoken any worthier of himself or better deserved than by him of whom they were spoken." This letter is not printed in the Pilgrim edition.
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