Great expectations like Dickens portrait goes on show in London

London's Reuters – A Fair Portrait of British Writer Charles Dickens, who is missing for 150 years, will go on display in London this week, still found in the shape of a metal lobster in a market in South Africa.

The miniature watercolor and Gouache portrait by Margaret Giles, valued at 220,000 pounds ($ 280,000), was painted in 1843 when the young Dickens, in his early 30's, was writing a "Christmas Carol".

The painting shows the Victorian writer Pure Shaven, with long wavy hair, looking at his left shoulder, contrast to the more common image of a sticking dick, with long bushy beard and messy hair.

The portrait was lasted on public display in 1844 at the Royal Academy of Art in London, but then disappeared several times later, with Giles written in a letter in the 1860s that she was uninsured by his whereabouts. After a lucid search, she reported it for 1886.

The five-and-a-half-inch (14 cm) high oval portrait was found late last year in KwaZulu-Natal by an unknown buyer and has since been sounded.

London art dealers Philips Mold and Company now own the painting, which will go on display at the Charles Dickens Museum this week.

"Dickens was a celebrity, people walking down the street, and with that tricky twist of the head she caught that, she had caught the man who turned heads," Philip Mold told Reuters.

It is unknown, as exactly as the portrait moved from London to South Africa One theory offered by the dealers is that the portrait was taken to South Africa by family friends of the Dickens and Jilles family.

The Dickens Museum, situated at the former home of the author, is trying to raise funds to buy the portrait at a reduced price of 180,000 pounds.

"This must never escape again, this is an important, emotive face in such a crucial time in his career," Mold added.

($ 1 = 0.7825 point)

Reporting by Patrick Johnston. Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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