Chapter 5

Photograph Photograph Photograph

Charlotte Brontë to William Smith Williams, 11 March 1848. MS Eng 871.

Charlotte Brontë’s admiration for Thackeray, 11 March 1848.

When William Smith Williams, Charlotte Brontë’s literary advisor at Smith, Elder & Co., wrote to herin 1848 suggesting she illustrate Jane Eyre, she politely refused, thinking her drawings not equal to writer-artists she admired. One such author was Thackeray, who she felt could “render with a few black lines and dots shades of expression so fine, so real, traits of character so minute, so subtle…I can only wonder and admire. Thackeray may not be a painter, but he is a wizard of a draughtsman; touched with his pencil, paper lives…All is true in Thackeray. If truth were again a Goddess, Thackeray should be her high priest.”

MS Eng 871. Purchased with the Amy Lowell Fund, 1953.