Happy Birthday Charles Dickens!

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of the most well-loved storytellers of all time – Charles Dickens. The great 19th century English novelist and outspoken supporter of social reform will be remembered in a new set of British stamps to be issued by the Royal Mail in June this year featuring famous characters from some of his novels, including Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and A Tale Of Two Cities.

The Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

This is not the first time that characters from his books have been featured on British stamps – on 3 June 1970 four stamps were issued to commemorate the centenary of his death. The four 5d Dickens stamps pictured Mr. and Mrs. Micawber (David Copperfield); Mr. Pickwick and Sam (The Pickwick Papers); David Copperfield and Betsy Trotwood (David Copperfield); and of course, a scene showing Oliver asking for more (Oliver Twist).

David Copperfield and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
William Wordsworth stamp

The four stamps in the 1970 Charles Dickens Commemorative Set were issued alongside a single William Wordsworth stamp, which marked the 200th anniversary of the poet’s birth and depicted Grasmere, home of the Lake Poets.

Curiously, Britain was not the first country to issue a commemorative stamp celebrating Charles Dickens. That honour goes to Russia, or the Soviet Union as it was then called, which marked the 150th anniversary of his birth in 1962.