Writer reflects on Charles Dickens’ unknown obsession – interior decor

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Charles Dickens’ construction of a conservatory in the final days of his life was part of a relatively unknown interest in interior design.

According to author Hilary Macaskill, writing for The Guardian, the iconic novelist may be more celebrated around the world for his story-telling skill, but he was also hugely enthusiastic about interior design and even wrote about the topic.

She explained that two days before he died, Dickens showed off his new conservatory at Gad’s Hill Place in Kent to his younger daughter; claiming it would be the final of his many alterations to the Kent property.

After finishing the glass structure, he apparently sat and smoked a cigar whilst enjoying his creation – a powerful image that may inspire fans to add a conservatory to their own home, replete with conservatory blinds.

Ms Macaskill said: “It was only when I read his article on wallpaper that I realised a hitherto unappreciated aspect of Charles Dickens: his interest in interior decor. ‘Charles Dickens at Home’, the book I was writing about the houses and areas where he’d lived, took on a much more literal meaning.”

There is currently a great deal of discussion about the great English novelist, as 2012 is the 200th anniversary of his birth; he was born 7th February 1812. However Portsmouth News recently noted that while his books are world famous, people often know very little about what the author was like as a person.

Aside from his flair and passion for interior decor, reporter Mischa Allen noted that there is plenty of discussion among historians about his personality. While it is generally accepted that he was extremely intelligent, generous and tidy to the point of obsession, there was a dark side to his character that is rarely touched upon.