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V&A starts campaign to save Dickens manuscripts

8th November 2010

A new campaign has been launched by the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) to save handwritten manuscripts of some of Charles Dickens' most famous novels.

The museum owns 11 original manuscripts by the Victorian author, which were bequeathed to the National Art Library in 1876 by his literary agent John Forster, and has been working to conserve them.

Eight of the manuscripts have so far been preserved by the V&A, but it needs another GBP 25,000 to save the remaining novels - A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

Biographer and author Peter Ackroyd, who is supporting the fundraising campaign, commented: 'The manuscripts of Charles Dickens' novels are an invaluable treasure for the nation and its culture.'

The museum revealed that a donation of GBP 25 will allow it to purchase five sheets of special alkaline mounting paper that prevents the original manuscripts from rotting.

In addition, GBP 150 will pay for an expert conservator to release 20 pages from their old bindings, while GBP 500 funds a protective box to safeguard a manuscript from humidity fluctuations.

The campaign was launched as the museum prepares for Dickens 2012 - a series of national and international events to mark the bicentenary of the author's birth.
 

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