DICKENS, Charles, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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DICKENS, Charles (1812-1870). Novelist.
Autograph Letter Signed to Albany Fonblanque, 1 page 8vo (glue-stains showing through, trimmed on both sides, but clearly legible), Tavistock House, 28 January 1860. Promising his support for Fonblanque's son in his candidature for the Athenaeum.

'... Immediately after receiving your note, I went down to the Athenaeum to put my name on Bentham's balloting paper, which I supposed to be accessible. But I found it not yet hung up in the usual place.'

The journalist Albany Fonblanque (1793-1872) was himself a member of the Athenaeum and may have met Dickens there. He had been elected in 1827, supported by John Ayrton Paris and Sir Alexander Johnston. It is recorded of him that he largely withdrew from society in his later years and was seldom seen outside the club. Oxford DNB records of him that his marriage was unhappy and 'matters were not helped by financial difficulties caused by Fonblanque's extravagance, and by his poor health. Domestic unhappiness may explain his inveterate dining out and frequent after-dinner appearances in London drawing-rooms: he was often at Holland House, had links with the Carlyles, William Macready, and the Dickens circle, and had a reputation for seeking the company of cultivated women.'

Fonblanque's son Bentham Albany Fonblanque was seconded for the Athenaeum by Thackeray, and was elected on 6 February 1860.

Not in The Letters, Pilgrim Edition, and apparently unpublished.
[No: 20707]

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