David Copperfield was published in 1850, and is Charles Dickensís semi-autobiographical novel.  Exhibited here is a copy of a portrait of Charlesí father, John Dickens. The original of the portrait was owned by Henry Fielding Dickens.  John Dickens was convivial and unselfish, but also improvident and a spendthrift.  These traits of character are also those of the novelís Wilkins Micawber.  John Dickens, like Micawber, lived beyond his income and was once imprisoned in the Marshalsea prison for debt.  On that occasion, Charles, only twelve, was withdrawn from school and sent to work in a blacking warehouse where, for a few shillings a day, he filled bottles with shoe blacking.