New Dickens Stamps

A celebration of Victorian London is to be seen in a new of stamps that are released today.

The stamps are from the best works of Charles Dickens and feature Mr Pickwick from The Pickwick Papers,  Mr Bumble, the parish beadle from Oliver Twist, The Marchioness from The Old Curiosity Shop, Mrs Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewit, Captain Cuttle from Dombey and Son and Mr Micawber from David Copperfield.

The stamps, issued to mark the bicentenary of Dickens’ birth, feature characters from his tales. Royal Mail stamps spokesman Philip Parker said:

“Charles Dickens was one of the truly great British novelists. We couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to his life and works than celebrating them on a set of special stamps.”

Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, the great-great-great- granddaughter of Charles Dickens add:

“When Charles Dickens was born into an impoverished home in 1812, no-one in his family imagined he would become an international celebrity. Royal Mail’s decision to produce stamps to commemorate the bicentenary of his birth illustrates the phenomenon he became in his lifetime and still remains today. “The stamps not only celebrate his life and work, they are testimony to what a unique and extraordinary man Charles Dickens was.”

I couldn’t agree more!









1st Class – Mr Pickwick – The Pickwick Papers
The Pickwick Papers was Charles Dickens’ first novel, written in 1836. The story features the beloved Samuel Pickwick as the main protagonist and founder of The Pickwick Club. The novel charts the story of Pickwick and three other members of the Pickwick Club (Mr Nathaniel Winkle, Mr Augustus Snodgrass, and Mr Tracy Tupman) on their journeys to remote places from London, with their travels throughout the English countryside by coach providing the chief theme of the novel.

2nd Class – Mr Bumble – Oliver Twist
Mr Bumble is the parish beadle who removes the nine-year-old Oliver Twist from the baby farm and takes him to the workhouse where he is put to work picking oakham. Whenever he opens his mouth, Bumble mangles whatever he tries to say.

77p – The Marchioness – The Old Curiosity Shop
The Marchioness is maidservant to Miss Brass in The Old Curiosity Shop. She is given the nickname ‘The Marchioness’ by Dick Swiveller, who befriends and later marries her. In the original manuscript of The Old Curiosity Shop, it is made explicit that the Marchioness is in fact the illegitimate daughter of Miss Brass. However, in the surviving editions, it is only suggested.

87p – Mrs Gamp – Martin Chuzzlewitt
Sarah or Sairey Gamp was a nurse taken from the novel Martin Chuzzlewitt, first serialised between 1843-44. Characterised by the black umbrella she constantly carried around with her, Mrs Gamp was a dissolute and a drunk. She was a stereotype of a bad secular nurse from the early Victorian era, prior to the reforms instigated by campaigners such as Florence Nightingale. The character was based upon a real nurse described to Dickens by his friend, Angela Burdett-Coutts

£1.28 – Captain Cuttle – Dombey and Son
Captain Edward Cuttle is left in charge of The Midshipman, Solomon Gills’ maritime instrument maker’s shop, when Solomon goes off in search of his nephew Walter Gay.

£1.90 – Mr Micawber – David Copperfield
Mr Micawber is a character from Dickens’ 1850 novel, David Copperfield. The character was modelled on Dickens’ father, John Dickens, who like Micawber was incarcerated in a debtors’ prison after failing to meet his creditors’ demands.


Charles Dicken’s London

A new book entitled ‘Charles Dickens’s London‘ has just been published by Ebury Press. I have yet to see it but this is what the product description says:

Over 200 stunning archive photographs, most of which have never been published before, illustrate this mesmerizing guide to Victorian London seen through the eyes of Charles Dickens. Setting Dickens against the city that was the backdrop and inspiration for his work, it takes the reader on a memorable and haunting journey, discovering the places and subjects which stimulated his imagination.

Here are captivating photographs of famous landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey, alongside coaching inns, the Thames before the Embankment was built, the construction of the Metropolitan Underground Line, the docklands that studded the river and the many villages that make up London today.

Authoritatively written and beautifully illustrated, this book will appeal to anyone who loves this beguiling city and wants to explore it as it was in Dickens’ day.

It looks like it could be a good addition on the photography front for those interested in Victorian London in general or just Dickens and his life. Although retailing at £25 you can get it from Amazon UK for £15.49.

I expect we will see many more books this year to mark the 200th anniversary so I will endeavour to keep us up to date.

Dickens biggest fan?

if you don’t know by now it is the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens birth and celebration are happening globally.

Dan Calinescu is a collector but not just any old collector but a completest, that is he wants to have all that is of Dickens and he sure has a large collection.

Calinescu was first drawn to Dickens after he happen to stroll past a bookshop near Piccadilly in London and spotted a first-edition Oliver Twist in the window gazing out at him…it hooked him and that was some 30 years ago.

This retired high school teacher has amassed a large Dickens collection that is the envy of fellow fans including me.

There are portraits, illustrations, playbills and posters, memorabilia to a great writer, if not the greatest writer.

The bookcases are lined with rare and leather-bound editions, including copies of The Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby, Martin Chuzzlewit, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities,Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol. As a Dickins fan I can only drool at the site of such rare great works!