Magnificent matte-finish 4 x 5.75 cabinet-type portrait of Dickens affixed to a 5 x 7.75 mount, showing the author wearing a distinguished robe in a three-quarter-length pose as captured by J. Gurney & Son during an 1867 sitting in New York, signed on the mount in blue ink, “Charles Dickens, Twentieth April, 1868.” In very good condition, with a professionally repaired crack passing through his forehead (now hardly noticeable), a few similarly repaired thin tears to the image (most noticeably to the light area in the lower left), and an overall block of toning from previous display.
Dickens made his second trip to America in 1867–1868, touring the country and giving public readings along the way, where he was delighted and impressed at the reception given him. On the day he signed this, Dickens performed his last-ever reading in America at Steinway Hall in New York. Upon finishing, the author was hailed with thunderous applause and he gave a brief summation of his thoughts on his time in the United States, saying, ‘I shall never recall you as a mere public audience, but rather as a host of personal friends, and ever with the greatest gratitude, tenderness and consideration. Ladies and gentlemen, I beg to bid you farewell. God bless you, and God bless the land in which I leave you.’ With that, he left for England out of the port of New York on the following day, never to return. A fantastic image—his manager called it ‘the only good photograph of him in existence’—signed on an important date, this is a scarce photo, larger than typically seen, that marks the conclusion of Dickens’s journey across the Atlantic. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.