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Charles Dickens.

Carte de Visite]. Photograph of a Bust

Published by New Bedford, MA. Charles Taber & Co. N.D. [?67], 1845
From Gadshill (Providence, RI, U.S.A.)

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2-9/16? W x 4-3/16? H 1 p. An American carte de visite showing a photograph of a bust of a young Charles Dickens, certainly close to the age on his first visit to America in 1842 and not at all related to his later visit in 1867. The bust is in plaster and sits on a small table or stand covered in a damask type of textile in the Victorian fashion. The photograph is an albumen print. Dickens is displayed wearing a toga-like dress.The verso is imprinted with the name ?Charles Dickens? and the publisher Charles Taber & Co., New Bedford, MA. While the bust was sculpted in 1842, many copies were sold near the time of Dickens?s second visit to America in 1867 (Albee). It is possible that this carte de visite was made and sold near the time of this 2nd visit, as well, for Dickens included New Bedford on his reading tour in 1867 on March 27. The bust is almost certainly the one sculpted by Henry Dexter (1806?70) from life, begun on January 26, 1842. Dickens sat for Dexter beginning on the day after he began his sitting for the painter Francis Alexander, the completed painting now in the collection of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Both sittings took place in Boston. Dexterwas a young protegé of Alexander and may even have been recommended by Alexander for this commission. Dexter was the first American professional sculptor. He began as a blacksmith but soon took to art studies and sculpture. Many of his works were completed in marble as well as plaster, but not this one (Albee, 1898) Mrs. Dickens admired the sculpture and requested a casting of the sculpture. One copy is said to sit at the Dickens House Museum in London. A report of the sitting for Dexter is described by Dickens?s American Secretary, George P. Putnam, in the October, 1870 Atlantic Monthly (Vol. 26, pp. 476?482). The publisher of the carte de visite is Charles Taber & Co. of New Bedford, MA. Charles Taber (1822?87), of a prominent Quaker family in New Bedford, was a graduate of Haverford College; he joined his father in the book trade about 1843 and later became a photographer. In 1865 he introduced the ambrotype to his public (NY Times). His firm became ?manufacturing photographers? in 1862, later specializing in art photography. Taber was a very successful merchant in many businesses, including whaling. An uncommon item. Very Good. Page, A. Dickens Chronology, 1988. John Albee, Henry Dexter, Sculptor: A Memorial. Privately published, 1898. Charles Taber Obituary, NY Times, November 18, 1887. Bookseller Inventory # 11263

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Charles Dickens.

Publisher: New Bedford, MA. Charles Taber & Co. N.D. [?67]

Publication Date: 1845

Binding: Unbound.

Illustrator: Photograph laid down on card, with clipped corners.

Edition: First Edition.

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