Explore the exhibits:
Proofs for the introductions to The Works of William Makepeace Thackeray (1899) Eton College Library [Id4.1.01]
Biographical editions of Thackeray’s works were accompanied by introductions written by Annie, drawing on her own memories as well as letters in her possession. Ever mindful of protecting the Thackeray reputation, she took great pains in writing them, subjecting them to a number of revisions.
Virginia Woolf, Night and Day (London: Duckworth and Company, 1919) Eton College Library [Lkk.4.01]
Published in the year that Annie died, Woolf’s second novel included the character of Mrs Hilbury who, much like Woolf’s step-aunt, was committed to ensuring her father’s literary reputation and legacy.
Memorials of The Thackeray Family part I: ed. J.T. Pryme and A. Bayne, extra illustrated by Constance Thackeray, 1912 (for private distribution, 1875) Eton College Library [Knn.2]
Annie’s key role in preserving the Thackeray legacy did not go unnoticed. Alicia Bayne, Thackeray’s second cousin, dedicated these Memorials of the wider Thackeray family to the woman whose genius ‘conferred distinction’ on the Thackeray name.
Memorial to Anne Thackeray Ritchie in The Cornhill Magazine (April 1919) Eton College Library [Yd.4.10]
After her death, numerous obituaries and memorials to Anne Thackeray Ritchie appeared in the press to praise her literary pursuits, including this one in The Cornhill Magazine, in which she had made her first appearance as a published author nearly 60 years earlier.
The Works of William Makepeace Thackeray (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1899) Eton College Library [Icc4.2.01]
Biographical editions of Thackeray’s works, which were published monthly.
Cartoon of William Makepeace Thackeray and Charles Dickens from Punch (c.1911) Eton College Library [MS 430/01/05/04]
Anne Thackeray Ritchie’s papers, represented in this exhibition, show her central place to the late-Victorian literary scene, while her descendants’ role in preserving these papers, which are now entrusted to Eton College, ensures that the writer and her world will never be completely forgotten.
‘The end of my life is happier than I dared hope’
Extract from Anne Thackeray Ritchie’s diary, 1907
Image: Anne Thackeray Ritchie at her writing desk, [1900s] Eton College Library MS 430 01 05 01
Memories from Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf, the daughter of Leslie Stephen through his second marriage, was extremely fond of her step-aunt Anne Thackeray Ritchie. Woolf used Annie as an inspiration for her second novel Night and Day, loosely basing the character of Mrs Hilbery on her.
Woolf also wrote one of the most balanced views of Annie’s life, in a lengthy obituary for The Times Literary Supplement. Acknowledging that none of her novels were a masterpiece, Woolf maintained that ‘each one is indisputably the work of a writer of genius’.