Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Charles Dickens Birthplace Museum

A couple of weeks ago now, when the autumn sun was still in the sky, R and I popped into the Dickens' Birthplace Museum which, despite long acquaintance with Portsmouth, neither of us had visited before.

Evidently it is the house in which Dickens was born but beyond that, and having on display the couch on which he died, there is nothing here which actually belonged to the Dickenses, rather the house has been furnished and decorated in the mode of the time. So long as one accepts this, and with a very modest entrance fee, accepts that this is not a museum to occupy more than an hour of your time, it is actually a rather nice place to visit.

There is an exhibition room on the first floor which contains a collection of Dickens related material including a small group of cartes-de-visites of which I was rather envious, some nice original coloured character prints, themed porcelain items and a larger picture which is noted as 'painted in...' whereas it is, in fact, a hand tinted photograph. This last I have diligently resisted including in an email to the curator signed 'irritated of Portsmouth' - but I am trying to hold in mind just how sad that would make me!

A pleasant if not exactly revelatory hour spent as part of a pleasant autumn afternoon stroll. I was also reminded that Nicholas Nickleby has a section set in Portsmouth so I bought a cheap penguin edition from the shop to read after my current book.

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