Are you a Dicken? The Oliver Twist author’s new ‘glorious moustache” period is met with mixed reactions as it’s shown for the first-time

  • A rare photograph of Charles Dickens has been displayed with a moustache for the first time
  • Portrait made between 1852 and 55. It has been kept in private collections for over 20 years. 
  • It was given to Charles Dickens Museum, and will be displayed until March
  • The Oliver Twist author is recognised for his trademark beard, not a moustache
  • One of Dickens’ friends described his moustache as a ‘hideous disfigurement’ 

Charles Dickens’ rare photograph of himself with a “glorious” moustache was displayed for the first ever time. The bold look received mixed responses.

Oliver Twist was well-known for his signature beard. However, the daguerreotype profile portrait of him shows his handlebar moustache that he only had for a short time.

This portrait was taken in 1852 to 55, while Bleak House and Hard Times was being written. It has been kept in private collections for over 20 years. It was rediscovered in the collection of an Irish photography enthusiast Charles Cloney.

It has been since donated to the Charles Dickens Museum in London, where it has been put on display for the first time and will be on show until March 31, The Guardian reported. 

An 'extremely rare' portrait of Charles Dickens donning a 'glorious' moustache has gone on show for the first time ever, but the bold look has received mixed reviews

A rare portrait of Charles Dickens wearing a moustache is now on display for the first-ever time. However, mixed reactions have been received to the bold style.

But the author’s unique facial hair has received mixed reviews, with British Library curator Andrea Lloyd claiming that Dickens’s friend John Forster described the moustache as a ‘hideous disfigurement’ and delayed his portrait because of it.

Meanwhile, the Charles Dickens Museum’s curator Emily Smith said a portrait of ‘a moustachioed Dickens is hard to find’, saying he is ‘instantly recognisable’ with his signature beard.

She said that ‘Dickens’s initial experiments with facial furniture are less well documented, and the evidence is limited. 

‘Dickens was image conscious, certainly a daddy; his public image had been carefully constructed and presented. Portrait sittings were, although not always well received, not something he took lightly.

The portrait (pictured) has been donated to the Charles Dickens Museum in London, where it has been put on display for the first time and will be on show until March 31

Photograph of the Portrait (pictured) was donated to London’s Charles Dickens Museum. The museum will display it for the first and last time until March 31.

By 1858, Dickens' moustache had grown into the full beard (pictured) that he is well-recognised for today, with the author saying it 'saved him the trouble of shaving'

Dickens had grown his moustache to the size (pictured) by 1858. The author said it saved him from the hassle of shaving.

Dickens was believed to be the one who first tried out a moustache, in 1844. He told Daniel Maclise his friend that they were “charming”.

He stated, “The moustaches were glorious, glorious. They have been cut shorter to make them more shapeful.

Dickens stated that it saved him from the hassle of shaving by 1858.

The rare daguerreotype portrait of the Great Expectations writer, which was the first commercially successful photographic process, was made by John Jabez Edwin Mayall. 

Charles Dickens Museum stated that Dickens’s portait is vividly replicated in his Mayall portrait.