An interesting piece on the artist who painted a young Dickens then lost the portrait.
Both Southwood Smith and Gillies shared a desire to bring about changes in society. They were champions of the poor, and actively worked to alleviate suffering. Southwood Smith, who was 15 years older than Gillies, worked on the Poor Law Commission, wrote reports for the government on sanitation and poverty and sought to meet likeminded people who could help with his campaigns. One of those was Charles Dickens, and it was probably through this friendship that Gillies came to paint Dickens in the autumn of 1843. This was when Dickens was writing what would become his most famous book, A Christmas Carol.