Charles James Mathews (1803-1878)


(Charles Dickens and Evans, Crystal Palace Press for)
Macmillan and Co., London: 1879
Two volumes. pp. (xii), 324; (xii), 336 + Several nice Lithographed portraits of Mathews. 8vo. 24 cm. Original cloth binding decorated in blind and lettered in gilt.
Mathews was the son of the celebrated stage entertainer Charles Mathews and his wife, the actress Anne Jackson. He evidently had no early desire for a stage career. He traveled in France and Italy, studied architecture under Augustus Pugin, and entered the London office of architect John Nash.
But in 1835, upon the death of his father, he took over the elder Mathews' part in the management of the Adelphi Theatre. Later that year he made his debut in his own play, 'The Humpbacked Lover' followed by 'The Old and Young Stager'. In 1838 he married the actress-dancer-singer known as Madame Vestris (Elizabeth Lucia Mathews). The newly married couple made an unsuccessful appearance in the United States. Upon their return to London they assumed the management of Covent Garden Theatre, where they produced many entertainments, including a highly popular but financially disastrous production of 'London Assurance' with Mathews playing one of his best roles - Dazzle. They moved to the Lyceum, producing light comedies that eventually cost them bankruptcy. Disheartened, Elizabeth retired, and she died a couple of years later.
Mathews continued acting and made a second and more successful tour of the U. S. He married the actress Lizzie Davenport in 1858. Together they lived a productive and financially stable life. In 1870 he began an extensive tour, which included appearances in Australia and India, returning once more to New York City in a remarkably popular six-week run (1871). He was one of the best high comedians ever to appear on the English stage.
This (auto)biography is, of course, often attributed to the great novelist, Charles Dickens... but since he died in 1870, it was certainly the work of his son Charles Dickens (1837-1896). The son was educated at King's College London and Eton. He entered Baring's Bank in 1855. He acted as sub-editor of the periodical 'All the Year Round' from 1869 and became the sole proprietor upon his father's death. He was the chief partner in printing firm of Dickens & Evans, and was famous as the publisher of a series of dictionary-guides (1879-84). In 1887 he came to America and gave readings from his father's work.
A fine copy of the first edition. Rather scarce.

"There is no class of society
whom so many persons regard with affection as actors"
-- William Hazlitt (1817)


Authors Descriptions Titles