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William Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882), Novelist

Sitter in 9 portraits
Ainsworth was an author of popular historical romances. He initially studied law but left it for literature, publishing his first novel anonymously in 1826. His first success came with Rookwood (1834), featuring the highwayman Dick Turpin, which led many reviewers to hail him as the successor to Sir Walter Scott. Jack Sheppard (1839), the story of an eighteenth-century burglar, was equally successful, but its supposed glamorisation of crime proved controversial. From then on Ainsworth switched to historical novels based on places rather than criminals, including The Tower of London (1840),Old St. Paul's, A Tale of the Plague and the Fire (1841), and The Lancashire Witches (1849)

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William Harrison Ainsworth

by Daniel Maclise
oil on canvas, circa 1834
NPG 3655


William Harrison Ainsworth

by (George) Herbert Watkins
albumen print, late 1850s
NPG P301(15)


William Harrison Ainsworth

by Elliott & Fry
albumen carte-de-visite, 1860s
NPG Ax18231


William Harrison Ainsworth

by Hennah & Kent, for and published by William Henry Mason
albumen carte-de-visite, 1863
NPG x5151


William Harrison Ainsworth

by Southwell Brothers
albumen carte-de-visite, 1863
NPG Ax7510


William Harrison Ainsworth

by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company
albumen carte-de-visite, 1870s
NPG x20


William Harrison Ainsworth

by Lock & Whitfield
woodburytype on paper mount, 1881 or before
NPG x19


William Harrison Ainsworth

by William Greatbach, after Richard James Lane
lithograph, circa 1825-1850
NPG D21947


William Harrison Ainsworth

by Lock & Whitfield, published by Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington
woodburytype, published 1881
NPG Ax17628