StorageWorks - May 22 2022
The Story of Charles Dickens' Desk
Be aware and be tidy! Yours might end up in museums, too!
Millions of people around the world have been working from home for at least part of the last two years. Some have welcomed this; others miss the workplace and colleagues. Of course, for some people working from home is normal. It can be lonely, but being alone can be a benefit in some ways, too.
Among the people who often work alone are writers and other artists. Also, many writers have their little rituals. Some still write by hand using pencils; some still use typewriters; most now use word processing software. But really the most important requirement is simply a desk and chair.
The world-famous English writer Charles Dickens (1812-1870), of course, used a pen and paper. Surprisingly, some of his pens and almost all that paper are still around in museums and libraries. Only his personal letters were destroyed. His final mahogany and leather desk and chair were sold after his death and eventually bought by the Dickens’ House Museum in London, where they are on display. This museum is located in an earlier Dickens residence, 48 Doughty Place, London, where he wrote, among others, Oliver Twist. The house is kept in the style it would have been in 1837 and contains many of his personal belongings.
At the time of his death, Dickens was working on what proved to be his final but unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which was to be illustrated by British artist Samuel Luke Fildes. After Dickens’ passing, Fildes painted a watercolor of the desk and chair Dickens had been working at, showing his empty chair as a poignant memorial to the late writer. Later, he produced this engraving from that watercolor.
Maybe you would never expect your desk to end up in museums or renowned paintings, but things could happen, and you never know! Keep yours tidy, just in case!