The forgotten wife of Charles Dickens

Catherine Hogarth, wife of Charles Dickens
Image credit: Charles Dickens Museum

In February 1835, Charles Dickens had a party for his 23rd birthday. Catherine Hogarth, the daughter of his magazine editor, was one of the guests. “Mr Dickens improves greatly on acquaintance,” she wrote to her cousin after the party.

The improvement must have been dramatic: Catherine soon agreed to marry him. Their wedding took place in London on 2 April 1836.

It was a marriage that would be both very happy and desperately sad. Over the next 15 years, Catherine would go through 10 full-term pregnancies and at least two miscarriages. And they went from a well-matched couple in love, enjoying parties and holidays together, to a couple unable to live in the same house.

In addition to being a mother, Catherine was an author, a very talented actress, an excellent cook and, in her husband’s words, a superb travelling companion. But as the wife of such a famous figure, all of that has been eclipsed.

With its new exhibition The Other Dickens, London’s Charles Dickens Museum has given Catherine back her identity. […]

First published on 19th May 2016. Read full article on BBC Culture.