One of the leading caricaturists and history painters of his day, Irishman Daniel Maclise was spoken of by his contemporaries as 'out and away the greatest artist that ever lived'.

He created this group portrait of the Dickens children to convince Catherine Dickens to join her husband Charles on a visit to America, which the author called 'the republic of my imagination'. Catherine was reluctant to accompany Charles on the transatlantic journey, as she was unwilling to be separated from her children for the duration of the trip. A close friend of the Dickens family, Maclise offered to draw a portrait of the children to take on the voyage so that Catherine would always have her children near her. The drawing shows Charley, Katey, Mamie and Walter alongside Grip, Charles Dickens's pet raven. It will go on display alongside two of Maclise's portraits of Catherine Dickens and the museum's editions of Charles Dickens's novel The Chimes, featuring illustrations by Maclise.


Charles Dickens; by descent.

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