Archive of Dickens & Tennyson Ephemera at Auction

A small but interesting archive of material relating to Alfred Lord Tennyson and Charles Dickens has turned up at London-based Chiswick Auctions, consigned by a distant relation of the Ellis family. The product of that family’s long-term association with the two authors, the collection contains correspondence, envelopes, clipped autographs, stereoscopic photographs, a rare program pamphlet (1868) produced for a series of Dickens’ “Farewell Readings,” and a pencil drawing of 48 Doughty Street by a member of the Tennyson family, inscribed: “Home of Charles Dickens.... from Wilderness Aug 3rd 1870,” among other notable pieces.

Lot 85. TENNYSON, Alfred Lord (1809-92) Charles DICKENS (1812-70). Collection, Archive (1) copy.jpgCharles Ellis was a wine merchant with literary aspirations. According to a footnote in The Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson (1987), where an October 1853 letter from the author to Ellis is recorded, “For many years [Ellis] purveyed wines to Dickens, vastly more knowledgeable and discriminating than Tennyson, but, himself a poet (Richmond and Other Poems, 1845), he seems ... to have presented them to Tennyson, perhaps annually, as a sort of oblation.” Indeed another letter from Tennyson, written in 1866, thanks Ellis “for your Christmas gift of choice wines.”

Lot 85. TENNYSON, Alfred Lord (1809-92) Charles DICKENS (1812-70). Collection, Archive (3) copy.jpgThe personal and longstanding connection between the correspondents may well be enough to encourage bidders toward the £4,000-6,000 ($5,000-7,400) estimate on Wednesday.

Lot 85. TENNYSON, Alfred Lord (1809-92) Charles DICKENS (1812-70). Collection, Archive (2) copy.jpgImages courtesy of Chiswick Auctions.

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