William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863)

Image credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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A novelist known for his satirical works, Thackeray studied law and art before taking up writing professionally as a journalist for a variety of publications, including 'Fraser's Magazine' and 'Punch'. His feature, 'Jeames' Diary', for 'Punch' attracted much attention with its focus on the theme of English snobbery. He achieved more widespread success with 'Vanity Fair', published between 1847 and 1848, which told the story of social climber Becky Sharp and satirised London's nouveau riche and upper-class society. 'Pendennis', published between 1848 and 1850, and 'The Newcomes' from 1855 confirmed his status as a major novelist. Following his unexpected death at the age of 52, an estimated 7,000 people attended his funeral.

National Portrait Gallery, London



William Makepeace Thackeray (1811–1863)






H 76.2 x W (?) x D (?) cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased, 1878

Work type



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