|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Saturday, July 30, 2016
|After a 4.8 million dollar makeover, London's Charles Dickens Museum reopens|
The study in Charles Dickens' home, part of the Charles Dickens Museum in London, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. For years, the four-story brick row house where the author lived with his young family was a dusty and slightly neglected museum, a mecca for Dickens scholars but overlooked by most visitors to London. Now, after a 3 million pound ($4.8 million) makeover, it has been restored to bring the writer's world to life. Its director says it aims to look "as if Dickens had just stepped out." AP Photo/Sang Tan.
By: Jill Lawless, Associated Press
LONDON (AP).- Charles Dickens' London home has gone from "Bleak House" to "Great Expectations."
For years, the four-story brick row house where the author lived with his young family was a dusty and slightly neglected museum, a mecca for Dickens scholars but overlooked by most visitors to London.
Now, after a 3 million pound ($4.8 million) makeover, it has been restored to bring the writer's world to life. The house reopens next week, and its director says it aims to look "as if Dickens had just stepped out."
"The Dickens Museum felt for many years a bit like Miss Havisham, covered in dust," said museum director Florian Schweizer, who slips references to Dickens' work seamlessly into his speech. Miss Havisham is the reclusive character central to the plot of "Great Expectations."
Now, after a revamp code-named inevitably "Great Expectations," the house is transformed.
Or, Schweizer said Wednesday, quoting that novel: "I have been bent and broken, but I hope into a better shape."
Few authors remain as widely quoted, read and adapted as Dickens is 200 years after his birth. Characters such as Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim, Pip and Miss Havisham, Fagin and Oliver Twist, are known to millions around the world.
And no writer is more closely associated with London than Dickens, whose accounts of Victorian workhouses, debtors' prisons and the urban poor embarrassed the establishment into acting to alleviate poverty.
He lived all over the city in his impoverished youth and increasingly affluent adulthood, but the house at 48 Doughty Street in the Bloomsbury area of London is his only home in the city to survive.
Dickens lived in the house between 1837 and 1839, a short but fruitful period that saw the birth of his first two children. It's the site where he wrote "Nicholas Nickleby" and "Oliver Twist," going in the process from jobbing journalist to rising author whose serialized stories were gobbled up by a growing fan base.
Dickens leased the simple but elegant Georgian house, built in 1807, for 80 pounds a year.
The restored museum has all the modern trappings, including audio-guides, a "learning center" and a cafe. There also is a temporary exhibition of costumes from Mike Newell's new film adaptation of "Great Expectations," starring Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.
But at its heart it is a house the home of a proud young family man. Visitors can see the blue-walled dining room where Dickens entertained his friends, complete with original sideboard and a portrait of the 25-year-old author looking, it has to be said, pretty pleased with himself.
"It's rather Byronic," Schweizer said. "Not the Victorian sage with a beard that we think of."
Upstairs are the drawing room where Dickens moved guests to laughter and tears with readings from his works visitors can hear actor Simon Callow do the honors on recordings and the bedroom where his sister-in-law Mary died at the age of 17, a tragedy that may have influenced the many death scenes in Dickens' novels.
The rooms are furnished with Dickens' own possessions his writing desk and chair, his wardrobe and shaving kit, copies of his books annotated in his cramped handwriting.
"We're trying to make it feel like a home," Schweizer said. "As if Dickens had just stepped out."
The museum does not skip over the darker periods of Dickens' life.
On the top floor, the former servants' quarters hold a set of bars from Marshalsea prison, where Dickens' father was imprisoned for his debts, and jars from the boot-polish factory where 12-year-old Charles was sent to work.
The experience of financial insecurity marked Dickens for life, and drove his workaholic quest for success. He wrote more than 20 books, had 10 children, traveled the world on lecture tours and campaigned for social change until his death from a stroke in 1870 at the age of 58.
The museum's directors have been criticized for shutting the facility during most of the bicentenary of Dickens' birth and during the tourism bonanza that accompanied the London Olympics.
It reopens Monday, just in time for a Dickensian Christmas, complete with readings, performances of "A Christmas Carol," mulled wine and mince pies.
The museum hopes to draw 45,000 visitors a year, a 50 percent rise on pre-refurbishment levels. Schweizer thinks Dickens' future has never been rosier.
"There has always been interest. I think the bicentenary has taken it to a whole new level," Schweizer said. "There is a great hunger of Dickens, especially in these times" of economic austerity and uncertainty.
As evidence, he held up a London newspaper proclaiming news of the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy under the headline "Kate Expectations."
"People still get all the references," he said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
December 7, 2012
11th annual Art Basel Miami Beach features 257 leading international galleries
Cavemen better at drawing animal movement: study by open access journal PLoS ONE
Restoration of Jacopo da Pontormo altarpiece reveals unrecorded drawing clearly visible at the top
Berlin marks 100 years since Nefertiti find with major exhibition 'In The Light of Amarna'
Italian police recover 2,000-year-old Egyptian sphinx stolen from Etruscan necropolis of Montem Rossulum
Painting attributed to El Greco smashes pre-sale estimate at Bonhams Old Masters Sale
After a 4.8 million dollar makeover, London's Charles Dickens Museum reopens
1933 King Kong three sheet brings $388,375 to set house record at Heritage Auctions
Glassblowing comes to the iPhone: VMFA and The Martin Agency launch app inspired by Dale Chihuly's artwork
Swiss contemporary art generates enthusiasm among collectors at Sotheby's
The New Art Dealers Alliance returns to Miami Beach for the 10th edition of NADA Miami Beach
Bernar Venet invited by Bugatti to create a work of art on view at the Rubell Family Collection
Aqua's 8th installment packs another powerful punch during Art Basel Miami week
Tamara Beckwith, co-owner of the Little Black Gallery, joins Channel 4's Four Rooms
Sweden's Nationalmuseum announces acquisition of photographic portraits by Hans Gedda
RISD Museum bids farewell and warm wishes to Curator Judith Tannenbaum
The Helmut Newton Foundation opens exhibition of works by François-Marie Banier and Helmut Newton
World's most important porcelain tea service sells at Bonhams for £541,250
Just discovered Scharl Portrait of Einstein up for sale for first time
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Western Australian Museum-led study discovers two new species of extinct kangaroos
2.- Mexican archeologists find canal under Maya pyramid: Gateway to afterlife?
3.- Drouot announces sale exclusively dedicated to Chanel jewellery
4.- Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet paintings seized in Malaysia graft probe
5.- First major U.S. exhibition of the "School of London" artists opens at the Getty
6.- Cambridge University: Parasites hitch ride down Silk Road
7.- World's largest collection of paper peepshows allocated to V&A
8.- "O'Keeffe, New York, and Modernism" at the Portland Museum of Art
9.- First museum exhibition devoted to the portraits of William Eggleston opens
10.- Rescued violins bring back Holocaust 'escape' tales
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.