Charles Dickens

Image credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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The greatest novelist of the age; established his name with Pickwick Papers (1836). Since it was first exhibited in 1856, Scheffer's portrait of Dickens has received a mixed response. At the time, all agreed that it was a fine picture but many, including Dickens himself, questioned its likeness. Over the following years, the portrait tended to be disregarded and, in the last few decades, has rarely been displayed. But recent conservation has confirmed its quality as a painting which deserves fresh appraisal. Dickens met Scheffer soon after he arrived in Paris in October 1855 on an extended visit. Scheffer – one of the leading artists working in France – introduced Dickens to many prominent Parisians and insisted on painting his portrait.

National Portrait Gallery, London



Charles Dickens




oil on canvas


H 94.3 x W 62.9 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased, 1870

Work type



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