Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Charles Dickens statue design chosen for Portsmouth

The winning Dickens statue design
The design will be made into a full-size statue

The design for the UK's first statue of Charles Dickens, which will be erected in Portsmouth, has been chosen.

Four miniature versions were put forward for the 7ft (2.1m) monument of the writer, which will stand in the city's Guildhall Square.

A panel decided on a statue by Oxford sculptor Martin Jennings which shows Dickens reading in a chair.

The £120,000 statue will be erected next year to mark 200 years since the novelist's birth.

Oliver Twist creator was born in Portsmouth on 7 February 1812 and spent the first three years of his life in the city before moving to London and then Kent.

Number 1 Mile End Terrace, where he was born, has been a dedicated Dickens museum since 1904.

No statues

In his will the Victorian author requested that no statues or monuments of him should be built.

There are not believed to be any in the UK. The author has two known statues in his honour, in Philadelphia in the US and Sydney, Australia.

The project, by the Dickens Felllowship, has the backing of the Dickens family.

His great-great grandson Gerald Dickens said it was the "perfect time" to remember the author, despite the wording of Dickens' will, which he believed was a reaction to the over-elaborate memorials of Victorian times.

"I can't believe that he as a person wouldn't want people to be able to celebrate and remember his life and, much more importantly, his works and the work he did from those novels," he said.

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