Curious about Dickens


151008 Old Curiosity Shop cropped

I travelled up to London recently to do some research for a new painting. Portsmouth Street, just a short walk from Holborn underground station, is the location of “The Old Curiosity Shop” immortalised by Charles Dickens.—Christine Racher

Built in 1567, it is smaller than I had thought.

It’s upper floor overhangs the lower level and leans at precarious angles. It looks frail and unkempt, surrounded on three sides by modern red brick buildings towering over it and possibly helping to keep it upright. I got the feeling that a sudden strong gust of wind might blow it over. The roof is rippled and showing it’s age, the paintwork is shabby and the windows are dirty and have security grills on them.      It is now a shoe shop, though currently closed.

Standing across the road from this famous building, which is nearly 450 years old, I was somewhat saddened by the sight in front of me. I stood there and imagined how beautiful   it must have looked in Dickens’ time. It’s that beauty that I want to convey in my painting where the shop will form the centrepiece of the picture.

When completed, my painting will be one of three exhibits I will be entering for the SEA Exhibition at Eastbourne Town Hall on 21st  & 22nd  November all with a literary theme to them.

Christine Racher: Rachers on Canvas: October Blog

IMAGE CREDIT: Section of “The Old Curiosity Shop”, painting, Christine Racher


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