The lost portrait of Charles Dickens by Margaret Gillies. Photo: Relaxnews
The lost portrait of Charles Dickens by Margaret Gillies. Photo: Relaxnews

The portrait miniature by Margaret Gillies was rediscovered in 2017, after being lost for over 130 years.

The painting will go on display April 2- 7 at the Charles Dickens Museum — hanging in the study where the novelist wrote “Oliver Twist” and “Nicholas Nickleby.”

The exhibition is part of a campaign to raise funds to purchase the painting and and bring it permanently to the Doughty Street venue. The museum has so far raised about $86,300 of the US$240,000 needed to purchase the portrait.

In 2017, the portrait was sold for about US$36) in an auction of household goods in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, as part of a tray of trinkets. The finder originally bought it to sell the frame. At the time, the small painting was so covered in mould that Dickens’ face was barely recognisable.

The miniature was later confirmed to be the portrait of Dickens by Gillies and was brought to the Philip Mould & Co gallery in London. In a statement, the director of the Charles Dickens Museum, Cindy Sughrue declared that “the discovery would have been remarkable in any event but it is even more so because the portrait itself is exquisite.”

“We are excited to be bringing the beautiful lost portrait to the museum. When Philip Mould contacted us last year, and we were able to see an image of the painting, it was a thrilling moment,” she added. “This display is only a fleeting one, but we are confident of raising the remaining funds needed to bring the portrait to the Museum permanently.”

The portrait of Charles Dickens will be displayed at the Charles Dickens Museum, at 48 Doughty Street, London April 2- 7. – Relaxnews