What the Dickens? Portsmouth-born writer's table could vanish from the UK

A STUDY table used by one of the world's greatest authors '“ who was born in Portsmouth '“ could be leaving UK shores.

Friday, 27th July 2018, 5:44 pm
Updated Friday, 27th July 2018, 5:49 pm
Charles Dickens

The table, estimated to have been made around 1835, is valued at £67,000.

Experts believe that the table was bequeathed to Dickens' eldest son Charley, before it was acquired by his younger brother Sir Henry Fielding Dickens at the sale of Gad's Hill Place in 1878. It remained in the possession of Dickens' descendants until it was sold at auction in December 2017.

Now, it could leave the UK unless a buyer here in Britain meets the asking price.

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Minister for arts, heritage and tourism, Michael Ellis, has even placed a temporary export bar on the William IV mahogany table to try and keep it in the country.

He said: '˜As one of Britain's most famous novelists, it is only right for there to be great expectations on us to protect Dickens' study table for the benefit of the nation.

'˜This substantial piece of furniture was a central feature in whatever household he lived in through most of his adult life.

'˜It is another significant item related to one of Britain's cultural icons.'

The decision on the export licence application for the William IV mahogany table will be deferred until 26 October 2018.

Anyone interested in saving the table and keeping it in the UK can call the RCEWA on 0845 300 6200.