LONDON (Reuters) – A portrait of British writer Charles Dickens, who disappeared for 150 years, will be screened in London this week after being found in the South African market.
A miniature watercolor and a portrait of a gouache by Margaret Gillis was painted in 1843 when Dickens, in the early 30's, wrote Christmas Carol.
The image shows him clean shaven, with long, wavy hair, looking over his left shoulder, contrasting with the more frequent image of Dickens' aging, with a long thick beard and messy, stunned hair.
The portrait was the last public display in 1844 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London to disappear for some time afterwards, making Jillis write in a letter in the 1860s that she is not sure where she is.
After the vain search, she reported it to her unsettled in 1886.
This oval 14 cm portrait was found late last year in Kwazulu-Natal by an unknown buyer and was restored.
London art dealers Philip Muld and the company now own the image, which will be displayed at the Charles Dickens Museum.
It is not known how the portrait moved from London to South Africa.
One theory offered by the dealers is that it was transferred to South Africa by family friends of the Dickens and Gillie family.
The Dickens Museum, located in the former home of the author, is trying to raise money to buy the portrait.