William Makepeace Thackeray
William Makepeace Thackeray
by Unknown photographer
ninth plate daguerreotype in case with lock of hair, 1852-1853
11 1/8 in. x 6 1/8 in. (284 mm x 157 mm) overall
Sitterback to top
- William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863), Novelist. Sitter in 44 portraits, Artist of 2 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This is one of only three Daguerreotypes known of the novelist William Thackeray, and the only Daguerreotype of Thackeray that survives in England. This example was made during Thackeray’s lecture tour of the United States in late 1852 into 1853, during which he visited New York and Boston. While there, he lectured on English humorists and the following year published The English Humorists of the Eighteenth Century. He was disturbed by slavery but generally reported a positive impression of the United States. During this tour, he is known to have been photographed at Jeremiah Gurney’s Daguerrean Saloon at 349 Broadway in New York City, although given its size and composition, it is doubtful that Gurney produced this portrait. A variant pose appearing to be from the same sitting is held in the Graphic Arts Collection of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University Library. This variant pose was later engraved by H. Davidson and published in The Century Magazine (1911), where it was indicated to have belonged to a Miss Amy Weeks. The frame was made later, in the 1880s, when the Daguerreotype was removed from its original case and combined with a lock of hair. It was common in the nineteenth century for hair to be enclosed with photographic portraits, as a token of remembrance.
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Photography: A Public Art, 1840-1939 (4 November 2017 - 14 October 2018)
Events of 1852back to top
Current affairsThe Peelites, a breakaway group who had supported Peel during the Corn Law reforms, join the Liberals. The Conservative Edward Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, becomes Prime Minister after Lord John Russell's Liberal administration collapses. The administration is short-lived and replaced by a new Liberal-Peelite coalition, under the leadership of former Tory George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen.
Art and scienceStart of spiritualism craze in England.
London physician Peter Mark Roget first publishes his thesaurus.
American author Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes the hugely successful anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin
Scottish physicist William Thomson formulates the second law of thermodynamics, demonstrating that a rapidly expanding gas cools.
InternationalIndependent Boer republics north of the Vaal and Orange rivers are recognised by Britain following the Sand River Convention. Later, the Bloemfontein Convention (1854) formally recognises the independence of Boer republics between the Vaal and Orange rivers, resulting in the Boer Republic of the Orange Free State.
Tension escalates in Crimea as France demands that Turkey end Russia's exclusive control of the Christian Holy Places in the Ottoman empire.
Recommended Exhibitions & displays
- Photography: A Living Art - Then and Now
Until 29 September
- Mad, Bad and Dangerous: The Cult of Lord Byron
- George Augustus Sala
- The Royal Ballet at 75
- Lives and Letters
- Lillah McCarthy
- Portraits of John Nash
- Joseph Conrad
- Before Windrush: Images of Black and Asian Figures
- The Beautiful and the Damned
- Centenaries and Centenarians
- Keep The Home Fires Burning
- Rupert Brooke: War Poet
- Reaching for the stars: Astronomers in focus
- Jean Simmons: a life in pictures
- Shakespeare: Stage and Screen
- Rebel women