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.