After much speculation, it has recently been confirmed that the portrait of Catherine Dickens, the wife of Charles Dickens, currently on display at the Charles Dickens Museum in London, is in fact real. Dickens apparently commissioned his friend and well-renowned artist Daniel Maclise to paint the portrait, although the obvious sloppiness and crudeness of the painting in its current state led many to question its authenticity.
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With help of meticulous study, those looking into the legitimacy of the portrait have confirmed that the state of disrepair is due to attempts to paint over the original. Scans reveal that over 70% of the painting’s surface area has been repainted, in what has been hypothesized as an attempt to fix damage done during the portrait’s time in America. The relationship between Catherine and Charles was notoriously strained, what with them ultimately separating on not very good terms. This portrait harkens back to a time when the two were first falling for each other. The museum is currently raising funds so that they may restore the painting, now that they can rest assured the original lay somewhere under all the new paint.
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