Lucinda Hawksley has written a beautiful chronological retelling of the life of Charles Dickens’s favorite daughter, Katey Dickens (29 October 1839 – 9 May 1929). The reader will meet her parents, writer Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine, her siblings, one of which is buried in Manhattan; her brother Alfred Tennyson Dickens. The reader will meet her two husbands, Charles Collins, brother of writer, Wilkie Collins and later painter Carlo Perugini better known by his Americanized name of Charles Edward Perugini. I was surprised to discover her affair with a man she was deeply in love with Val Prinsep and later the fact that she carried on a long term ‘friendship’ through letter writing with George Bernard Shaw. The reader will stay with her while she outlives her family and her loved ones and ages in to a reclusive Victorian cliché of the widowed lonely woman living with a female companion in a large mansion walled in a self-induced Victoriana, while the modern world of the nineteen twenties goes on outside around her.
Here are two of Kate Perugini's paintings.