Kate Dickens Perugini

The Black Brunswicker, Sir John Everett Millais


Kate Dickens Perugini, daughter of Charles Dickens, served as the model for The Black Brunswicker .  The Lady Lever Art Gallery has an extended study of this painting online.

Kate, one of the ten children of Dickens, married Pre-Raphaelite artist Charles Allston Collins.  Collins’ brother, Wilkie Collins, was the author of The Moonstone and The Woman in White.  Her life has recently been captured in a vivid and poignant biography by Lucinda Hawksley, herself a descendant of Dickens.  Hawksley is also the biographer of another Pre-Raphaelite beauty, Elizabeth Siddal.

Here’s a brief article Hawklsey has written about Kate, who later married Italian artist Carlo Perugini.

Kate Perugini
Portrait of Mrs. Perugini, Sir John Everett Millais
Millais painted Kate again in this stunning portrait, Portrait of Mrs. Perugini, which was his wedding gift to her.

Kate Perugini at ArtMagick

Her first husband, Charles Allston Collins, at ArtMagick

Valentine Cameron Prinsep, with whom Katey had an affair.

Her second husband, Charles Perugini, at ArtMagick

7 thoughts on “Kate Dickens Perugini”

  1. In the Black Brunswicker: I can’t help but notice the creases in the dress…as if it is new or recently unfolded. Look at the folds, creases that make the shapes of squares in the fabric. Millais had a wonderful attention to detail…

  2. I remember reading an article in which Lucinda Hawksley mentions that her family owned the portrait of Mrs. Perugini (wearing the black dress, with her back turned).
    It is a striking portrait. Can you imagine growing up and seeing that portrait on a daily basis? It has to inspire creativity…no wonder Hawksley has written such fantastic coverage of the pre-raphaelites…
    Thanks Stephanie. If it wasn’t for your sites I would have never discovered Lucinda Hawksley or purchased her books. And they have meant a great deal to me.

  3. Yes, I notice the folds in the dress fabric too. It really stands out. But what I really love is that Millais repainted and perfectly captured the painting in the background on the wall! Is it Napoleon?

    Margaret: Yes, isn’t it ironic that Dickens was so anti-preraphaelite and his daughter grew up to be so closely associated with them!

    Such is life.

  4. Hello, I’m wondering if you know anything about the pen and ink sketch by Kate called “An American Apple”. Particularly, I wonder the name of the person in the drawing.


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