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Graphite portrait of Charles Dickens by Alfred d'Orsay (1842)



Object number (per part)


Object name (per part)


Production person

d'Orsay, Alfred

Production date



This profile portrait of Charles Dickens is one of two sketches produced by his friend Count Alfred d’Orsay. The drawing is signed and dated ‘d’Orsay fecit 28 Dec 1842’ and the artist considered it to be his superior drawing.

Other number

2329 (2009 DH object access database number)
G12 (The Catalogue of the Suzannet Charles Dickens Collection)

Acqusition history

Donated to the Museum by the Comtess de Suzannet in 1971.
Part of the collection of the Comte de Suzannet.

Physical description

This is a graphite portrait of Charles Dickens, depicting Dickens's side profile.

Object history note

The Count d’Orsay was an incredibly popular man in the nineteenth century. He was a French amateur artist and an ostentatious dandy. Charles Dickens who was also known for his dandified style of dress corresponded with him and sat for portraits in 1841 and 1842. Dickens sixth child Alfred had godparents of d’Orsay and the poet Tennyson, after both of whom he was named: Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson Dickens. The Museum holds another sketch by the artist of Dickens (DH348) This portrait was the last one d'Orsay produced and was considered by him to have been his best portrait. 125 profile sketches of d’Orsay’s contemporaries were published by Mitchell of Bond Street, including among them nearly all the artistic, literary and fashionable celebrities of the time. For more details of d’Orsay’s life see D'Orsay or, The complete dandy by William Teignmouth Shore https://www.gutenberg.org/files/56581/56581-h/56581-h.htm

Inscription content

‘d’Orsay fecit 28 Dec 1842’
'Dickens: the best of the two'
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