Catherine Elizabeth Macready “Kate” <I>Dickens</I> Perugini

Photo added by Debra Polly

Catherine Elizabeth Macready “Kate” Dickens Perugini

  • Birth 29 Oct 1839
  • Death 9 May 1929
  • Burial Sevenoaks, Sevenoaks District, Kent, England
  • Memorial ID 98501965

Kate was an English painter of the Victorian era and the daughter of novelist, Charles Dickens. Dickens' named her after his friend, the actor, William Macready. She was baptised Catherine Elizabeth Macready Dickens, and known as Katey from childhood. She was also called, Kitty. She was Dickens' youngest surviving daughter, and according to her siblings her father's favorite child. Kate had nine brothers and sisters:

Charles Culliford Boz "Charley" Dickens, Jr. (1837-1896)
Mary "Mamie" Dickens (1838-1896)
Walter Landor Dickens (1841-1863)
Francis Jeffrey "Frank" Dickens (1844-1886)
Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson Dickens (1845-1912)
Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens (1847-1872)
Henry Fielding Dickens (1849-1933)
Dora Annie Dickens (1850-1851)
Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens (1852-1902)

Her first husband was the artist and author Charles Allston Collins, younger brother of Wilkie Collins; they married in 1860. After his death from cancer in 1873, Kate secretly married another artist, Charles Edward "Carlo" Perugini (born in Naples on 1st September, 1839) at a registry office on 11th September 1873. The witnesses, Henry Thomas Mitcham and Ernest Edward Earle, were strangers and friends and family did not attend the service. However, they did not live together after the wedding. It is assumed that the reason for this secret marriage was because Kate thought she was pregnant.

The official wedding of Carlo and Kate took place on 4th June 1874 at St. Paul's Church in Wilton Place, Knightsbridge. The only guests were Georgina Hogarth, Mamie Dickens, Francis Jeffrey Dickens, Henry Fielding Dickens and Sir John Everett Millais. Kate's mother, Catherine Dickens, was not invited because of her conflict with her sister, Georgina. John Forster gave them a wedding gift of £150 and John Everett Millais offered to paint Kate's portrait as a wedding present. However, it took six years to finish.

By the late 1870s Katey had established herself as a painter, and her pictures were accepted by the Royal Academy. She became a successful painter of portraits and genre paintings, sometimes collaborating with Perugini. She and Perugini had one child, Leonard Ralph Dickens Perugini born Dec 1875; he died on 24 July 1876, at the age of seven months.

During the First World War, her husband's health began to go into decline. He suffered from angina and a problem with his bladder. Charles (Carlo) Edward Perugini, aged 79, died at his home on 22nd December 1918. His funeral was held at St. Nicholas's Church in Sevenoaks and was buried in the same grave as his baby son.

Kate is buried beside her sister, Mary "Mamie" Dickens, and with her husband. Her death certificate, registered that one of the causes of death was "exhaustion". Storey published her book, "Dickens and Daughter" in 1939. Kate also has a memorial in Highgate Cemetery West in London. here.



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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Debra Polly
  • Added: 8 Oct 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 98501965
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Catherine Elizabeth Macready “Kate” Dickens Perugini (29 Oct 1839–9 May 1929), Find A Grave Memorial no. 98501965, citing St Nicholas Churchyard, Sevenoaks, Sevenoaks District, Kent, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) .