The Charles Dickens museum in London has bought a huge collection of objects belonging to the Victorian novelist, including a delicate chalk and pastel portrait by Samuel Laurence.
A lithograph of the portrait already exists, but the original was thought to be lost. It is likely to be from 1837, the museum said.
Among more than 300 items are 144 letters, offering a window into the author’s life through his famously vivid prose.
The collection, bought in the United States for 1.8 million pounds ($2.3 million), also includes a handwritten excerpt from “David Copperfield”, original drawings by illustrator George Cruikshank, jewelry, books and a golden writing tool that doubles up as a pen and a pencil, Reuters reported.
Director of the Charles Dickens Museum stated “This is a treasure trove – a true once-in-a-lifetime moment for the museum.”
He further added “150 years after the death of Dickens, it is wonderful to be able to bring such a rich and important collection to the museum at his first family home.”
According to Reuters, the writer’s great-great-grandson, Mark Dickens, said that “this quite staggering material brings us even closer to the man himself, his character, feelings, family and friends.”
The objects will be cataloged and conserved at the museum – which is in a Bloomsbury townhouse Dickens’ family moved into in 1837 – before going on display over the next two years.