Dickens characters in the windows of the Portsmouth City Council building in Guildhall Square. These are based on the Chris Riddell cartoons that ran in the Guardian.
Exhibit at the Portsmouth City Museum.
The same day I visited the museum, I managed to get over to the City Central Library and see the "Inimitable Dickens" art exhibit. It was well worth seeing, with a number of striking and creative portraits. No photos were allowed, but you can see some examples at the artist's blog. Particularly noteworthy, I thought, were The Young Dickens (done in boot polish, all the more poignant since we had heard a lecture on just how often the theme of blacking turns up in Dickens's work); The Local Dickens (done in stones and seaweed); The Christmasy Dickens (in which his whole face is created out of holly leaves and berries, done in acrylic paint); The Literary Dickens (created entirely out of scraps of pages from Hard Times); and The Colorful Dickens (in Jackson Pollock-like multicolored spatters of paint). There was even a dog Dickens. (The library staffer working on that floor told me this was her favorite.)
That night we had our Conference Banquet. Here I am with James Armstrong of New York City and Polina Petcova of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. As you can see from James's attire, some attenders, especially some of the men, went all out with the costuming!
Here's Mark Dickens -- great-great-grandson of Charles, cousin of Gerald and Ian, and president of the Fellowship -- getting up to speak.
I want to be sure to mention one particular lecture we heard the next day. We heard a number of excellent lectures during the conference, but this one was by Martin Jennings, the sculptor working on the statue of Dickens, and it was fascinating -- all about how and why he came up with his ideas and what the creation process was like. You can learn about the man and his work here, and this will give you a rough idea of how the Dickens statue is going to look. He promised that at some point a limited-edition maquette -- basically, a miniature version -- of the statue would be available for sale. I don't know how much he charges for these, but I'm afraid it may be a lot! Still, if you're interested in finding out, keep checking his site.
And finally, here's a picture of Gerald Dickens preparing to give a performance of his new show (it was only the third time he'd performed it) The Complete Works of Charles Dickens. That sounds a little more comprehensive than it really was! He gave us one scene from each, using similarities of plot and theme to go from one to the next; for instance, a scene from The Pickwick Papers that ended with preparations for dinner flowed into Fagin cooking the sausages in Oliver Twist, and that one, which ended with Oliver falling asleep, transitioned into Nicholas waking up at Dotheboys Hall in Nicholas Nickleby. It was a magnificent show -- Quilp's death gave me goosebumps, and the confrontation between Magwitch and Compeyson in the boats in Great Expectations literally made me forget to breathe!
And that, at long last, is all my Dickens Fellowship Conference pictures! I hope you've enjoyed them.