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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)