Charles Dickens' Writing Desk Purchased by Museum

Posted on May 25, 2015

Charles Dickens writing desk and chair

The Charles Dickens Museum in London has purchased Dickens' writing chair and desk. Dickens wrote Great Expectations at the desk. The museum was given a grant to purchase the furniture.

The desk was purchased by the National Heritage Memorial Fund using part of a £780,000 grant (about $1.2 million U.S.). It has been passed down through the author's family after Dickens died in 1870. The wooden desk re-emerged at an auction in 2004 and now will be on display permanently in the Dickens Museum where it belongs after being purchased from a private collector.

Robert Moye, the museum director, said in a statement, "We are delighted to have been able to acquire Charles Dickens's iconic writing desk and chair for permanent display in his Study at 48 Doughty Street. They hold a unique place in our literary heritage and, as we embark on our exhibition exploring The Mystery of Edwin Drood, it is timely that the desk he used when writing his final novel has been secured for the benefit of all our visitors."

The ­Mystery of Edwin Drood is an unfinished novel that Dickens also wrote while sitting at his writing desk. Dickens died before he could complete it.

The Charles Dickens Museum is located in the author's restored London home. Dickens referred to the house at 48 Doughty Street as "My house in town."

Photo: National Heritage Memorial Fund