Anne Thackeray Ritchie—known to friends and family as Annie—is mostly remembered as a novelist and the eldest daughter and biographer of William Makepeace Thackeray. Based on an extensive archive of over 1000 letters, family albums and personal papers in Eton College Library, ‘A Victorian Legacy: Anne Thackeray Ritchie’s life and writings’ was the first exhibition dedicated to her in her own right.
From her childhood in Paris and her role as her father’s companion and amanuensis, to her own career as a writer, Annie moved in a high-profile Victorian literary scene that included Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot, Henry James and Rudyard Kipling.
Anne Thackeray achieved an international reputation through her early literary ventures as a novelist, before turning to biography. Initially reluctant to write about her father, when she eventually did so, she enshrined the family reputation and is responsible for much of how we remember the Thackeray name.
Set against the backdrop of a wide and high-profile social circle and the ever-changing landscape of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain, this exhibition was a journey through the colourful life of a woman her step-niece Virginia Woolf described as ‘the unacknowledged source of much that remains in men’s minds about the Victorian age’. An online version is now available.