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Portrait of Mary Hogarth by Frederick Kitton, after Hablot Knight Brown

Collection

Object

Object number (per part)

DH556, 2008.3

Object name (per part)

Painting

Production person

Kitton, F.G
Browne, Hablot Knight

Label

After Mary Hogarth's sudden death in 1837, Charles Dickens asked his friend Hablot Knight Browne, better known by his pseudonym 'Phiz', to paint a portrait from memory. This watercolour by Frederick Kitton is a copy of Browne's original oil painting, the wherabouts of which is unknown. Mary was a constant companion to Catherine Dickens during her courtship and the early days of her marriage to Charles Dickens, and Mary's death at the age of seventeen affected Charles profoundly. Dickens was not impressed with the portrait, considering it to be 'worthless' as a 'record of that dear face'. Writing to Mary's mother on 8 May 1843, six years after Mary's death, Charles Dickens said: 'The best portrait that was ever painted would be of little value to you and me, in comparison with that unfading picture we have within us; and of the worst (which ----'s really is) I can only say, that it has no interest in my eyes, beyond being something which she sat near in its progress, full of life and beauty. In that light, I set some store by the copy you have sent me; and as a mark of your affection, I need not say I value it very much. As any record of that dear face, it is utterly worthless'.
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