A fascinating letter about Charles Dickens by Charles Noke has just come to light. Noke writes, “I have had a very special interest in Dickens since I was a boy and at one time had nearly all the original editions of the books. You will understand therefore that it was a specially interesting job to model the Dickens Jug. I was so entirely familiar with his characters.’
As proof of his familiarity, Noke’s perceptive pencil sketch of Fagin appears in the margin. In his renditions of Dickens’ characters, Noke was inspired by the illustrations of Kyd and Phiz from the original editions of the books. The composition of the Dickens Dream jug, is also reminiscent of the painting by Robert W. Buss portraying Dickens dreaming up his characters in his study at Gads Hill. Noke modeled the handle as Poor Jo, the crossing sweeper from Bleak House, reminding us that Dickens’ writings awakened the social conscience of his Victorian readers.
In his letter, Noke goes on to say that he did not want the Dickens Dream jug to be a limited edition as he wanted it to go on over a long period. He claimed that the inscription ‘Keep my memory green’ on the jug had a double significance and he closes prophetically with the words, “I believe that in time to come it may be sought for by collectors.”