The Charles Dickens Museum in London has created and published the first of a new series of colorized photographs of the writer approaching the 150th anniversary of the author’s death. This is a taste of a major exhibit on Dickens’ images that the museum will stage as soon as it is able to reopen after the lock restrictions are relaxed.
The exhibit will include eight black and white images from the collection that have been colorized by portrait and still life photographer Oliver Clyde. Newly revealed is an image of Dickens, 47, in 1859, the year he published A Tale of Two Cities.
Frankie Kubicki, museum curator, said the project was aimed at bringing people closer to the real Dickens. Although the face of the author is well known, said Kubicki, he “suffers from the austere nature of technology at the time he lived.”
“It makes him very stiff. It wasn’t Dickens at all. He had a great sense of humor and was full of passionate energy. He absolutely loved fashion and loved clothes that were pretty colorful and daring and of course all of that gets lost in these pictures. It’s the power to colorize, it’s to give back part of that personality. “
Kubicki said that Dickens was a great walker and liked being outdoors and that there were descriptions of him having a healthy tan.
The project involved Clyde studying the complexion and complexion of the great-great-grandchildren of Dickens, Gerald and Mark.
Mark Dickens recalled a fun day of confinement with his 28-year-old son Oliver, putting him in different poses and taking photos to send to Clyde.
“It was a little disconcerting to see the results,” he said. “It’s a little weird, isn’t it, but it’s rather special … I think the concept of the project is absolutely fascinating.
“I’m sure we’ve all seen the colorization of the First World War that just changed people’s opinions about these soldiers. It brought them to life and that’s exactly what’s going on with it … it creates a character that you can really relate to. It brings you a lot closer to him. “
The image shows Dickens wearing an impeccable white shirt, navy jacket, bow tie and plaid waistcoat. One controversial subject is the color of his eyes, with different descriptions of them being blue and green. After studying the original photographs, Clyde thinks they were darker and perhaps brown.
The biggest surprise for Clyde was the complexion, counteracting “the image of a pale Victorian complexion by being tanned and healthy looking.”
He added, “Seeing Dickens in color reveals so much. You can see photos where he clearly hasn’t combed his hair through for days, where his beard is everywhere or where he sweats after being forced to stand in a warm room for hours. “
The photographs will be the final of Technicolor Dickens: The Living Image by Charles Dickens, which explores how the author’s images were consumed and disseminated throughout his career and after his death. It was to be a highlight of the museum’s summer events and will open when the museum can open.
Located at 48 Doughty Street, the Dickensian London residence where he wrote books, including Oliver Twist and David Copperfield, the museum is fully self-funded and has therefore found its position “particularly difficult” due to the foreclosure, said its director, Cindy Sughrue.
The museum has set up a call on the JustGiving crowdfunding site. “I am extremely grateful to everyone who has already donated to our fundraising call, but we are not there yet,” said Sughrue. “We need £ 30,000 a month during closure to cover the basic costs of maintaining Dickens’ house and the world-class collection it holds. “