ASU Rare Edition/Charles Dickens Portrait Found – Poetry News Roundup November 23rd

Our final poetry news round up of the week takes a look at the ASU’s new rare edition and the portrait of Charles Dickens that has been found after 174 years.

Rare 17th Century Book Acquired for ASU

Arizona State University has acquired a rather rare copy of a first-edition for its collection. The 17th century essay was penned by Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, one of the most intriguing female writers of the Americas. Sor Juana was well known during this time, and is now thought of as one of the early feminists.

She even went as far as joining a convent so that she could devote her whole life to her studies in writing, art, science and philosophy.

The work in question is a booklet titled “Neptuno alegórico”. It was commissioned in 1680 by the then archbishop of Mexico, or New Spain, and it documented the Spanish viceroy’s arrival. The booklet was printed and made in limited numbers which were then given as gifts. The copies were unbound, and there are only two original copies known to be in existence.

The rare document will form the pivotal part of the ASU libraries Latin American colonial collection. The university is very excited, this rare first edition will allow their team experts to examine the original complete with any mistakes that were corrected before a third edition was made.

Visiting scholars will be able to examine the booklet themselves by making an appointment with the curator of the library.

Lost Portrait of Poet and Author Found

It has been missing for 174 years but a portrait of the author and poet Charles Dickens has been located. The portait was located in an old box full of trinkets at a junk sale in South Africa. Fortunately, the person who found it realised that it may have some value to it and sent it to London to be valued.

Painted by Margaret Gillies in 1843, the portrait depicts a 31-year-old Dickens. The portrait was painted which the author was writing “A Christmas Carol”.

The portrait has been formally identified by the art dealers Philip Mould & Company, although when it arrived with them it was covered in mould, which has taken to months of restoration work, and will now go on display in their Pall Mall Gallery. The portrait is estimated to be worth around $250,000 and the Charles Dickens Museum is said to be very interested in purchasing it.

The last time that the portrait was seen was in 1844 when it was on display at the Royal Academy in London. It became lost, and, despite several attempts to track it down, was not found. In 1886, the artist declared it missing.

The rediscovery of the portrait, which was found with a small metal lobster and an old brass dish, falls in the 175th anniversary year of Dickens “A Christmas Carol.”

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