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GREAT EXPECTATIONS

PUBLISHED: 16:19 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:51 23 August 2010

AUTHOR: Charles Dickens' famous furniture

AUTHOR: Charles Dickens' famous furniture

DALiM

A DESK and a chair from which Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations has been sold for more than £400,000 at auction. The furniture which was sold at Christie s auction house in London last Wednesday was used by the famous author to write some of his l

A DESK and a chair from which Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations has been sold for more than £400,000 at auction.

The furniture which was sold at Christie's auction house in London last Wednesday was used by the famous author to write some of his later works at Gads Hill Place in Higham, now the home to Gads Hill School.

Both items were passed on through family descent to Christopher Charles Dickens and his wife Jeanne-Marie Dickens, Countess Wenckheim, who donated it to Great Ormond Street children's hospital.

Originally priced at £80,000, the furniture sold for £433,250 and was bought by Irish collector Tom Higgins, a former journalist.

Countess Wenkheim said: "Charles Dickens was a champion of the poor and needy and an enthusiastic patron of Great Ormond Street hospital in its early days. My husband Charles shared his ancestor's desire to help the disadvantaged and when I became aware of the fundraising needs of Great Ormond Street children's hospital I knew that I had to give the desk and chair to them.

"Tt was Charles' wish, and it is an honour for me to fulfil this wish."

Charles Dickens bought Gads Hill Place in 1856, and it was his permanent home from 1859.

He converted a small bedroom on the ground floor of the house into a book-lined study and it was in this room that the desk and chair sat.

At the desk he wrote A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, Our Mutual Friend and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

It was also where he wrote his final written words, before his death in 1870.

The chair is made of walnut with a brass plaque on the reverse engraved 'Charles Dickens, Gads Hill, 1870' and the desk is made of mahogany.

Both date back to the mid nineteenth century.

Charles Denton, executive director at Great Ormond Street hospital said: "We are very grateful to Jeanne Marie Dickens for this hugely generous gift.

"The author was not only a formidable champion for Great Ormond Street but also a tireless fundraiser.

"We need to raise £50 million every year to help provide care to very ill children and their families, this gift will help us do just that."

ed.riley@archant.co.uk

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