‘To Be Read at Dusk: Dickens, Ghosts & the Supernatural’: London Exhibition with 3-D Viewer.

‘To Be Read at Dusk: Dickens, Ghosts & the Supernatural’: London Exhibition with 3-D Viewer.

The Charles Dickens Museum and The Brian May Archive of Stereoscopy have collaborated, and a stereoscope with digitised Victorian 3-D images from Dr. May’s collection is on show at the Museum’s special exhibition ‘To Be Read at Dusk: Dickens, Ghosts & the Supernatural.’

About the exhibition:

Spirits, phantoms and spectres, Dickens’s stories are full of ghostly apparitions. For over 30 years Dickens wrote, told and performed tales about the supernatural. To Be Read at Dusk examines Dickens’s interest in the paranormal, his ‘hankering after ghosts’, and how he became a master ghost story teller publishing over 20 spooky tales.

Image: Charles Dickens in 3-D, from The Brian May Archive of Stereoscopy Collection. Image hosted by Evening Standard.

The exhibition will explore Dickens’s famous ghost stories, including A Christmas Carol, and demonstrate Dickens’s significant influence on the ghostly genre. See beautiful editions of his haunting tales including a copy of The Chimes which he gifted to fellow author Hans Christian Anderson, and original sketches of Dickens’s ghosts of the past, present and future by John Leech. The display will showcase that Dickens not only wrote ghost stories but also performed them to friends, family and the paying public, as shown through original tickets and playbills. His ghostly tales, particularly those centred on Christmas, were a key part of Dickens’s public reading repertoire.

Dickens’s interest in supernatural and performance also spread into mesmerism and magic tricks. The display will explore Dickens’s own views on the supernatural, emphasising that he was a fascinated sceptic, as shown by correspondence asking about the location of a supposedly haunted house, which will be on display in the museum for the first time.

The exhibition will also touch on the enduring popularity of Dickens’s ghost stories and his influence on this prevalent genre. To Be Read at Dusk will also allow visitors to reflect on their views on ghosts and the supernatural as they explore Charles Dickens’s former home.

About the 3-D viewer:

The Brian May Archive of Stereoscopy‘s curators have delved into Dr. May’s vast Victorian 3-D photography collection, and have digitised some rare pictures of ghosts, Charles Dickens, and actors in A Christmas Carol. A stereoscope with the images has been loaned to the Charles Dickens Museum for the exhibition To Be Read at Dusk, where visitors can experience the immersive 19th Century 3-D photographs from Dr. May’s collection, in time for Halloween, and see for themselves why Dr. May has such a passion for stereoscopy.

Denis Pellerin, a curator from the Brian May Archive of Stereoscopy, said the images were “A true forerunner of virtual reality. Readers have been so captured by Dickens’s stories and characters that they have been adapting and reproducing them in film and television for many decades. The stereoscopic images on display here are another example of that initial fascination leading to artistic invention — in this case Victorian photographers combining a love of Dickens’s work with excitement at a new photographic medium to create the shining images that you will see.”

Dickens Museum curator Emily Dunbar said: “Dickens spent his whole writing life surrounding himself with ghosts. We believe he was a fascinated sceptic with a powerful talent for creating stories and images that resonated with, and entertained, people. Dickens’s own feelings about the supernatural probably followed Scrooge’s, considering ghosts to be ‘more gravy than grave’, but he recognised the power ghostly tales could wield and hugely enjoyed writing and performing them.”

To Be Read at Dusk: Dickens, Ghosts and the Supernatural runs from 5th October 2022 until 5th March 2023.

Charles Dickens Museum address: 48-49 Doughty St, London WC1N 2LX.

Details of the exhibition: https://dickensmuseum.com/blogs/all-events/to-be-read-at-dusk-dickens-ghosts-and-the-supernatural

Tickets for the Museum: https://dickensmuseum.com/pages/admissions

Press stories about the exhibition & stereoscopic viewer:

The Times


Evening Standard

Web Times

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