Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Collins, William Wilkie

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910991Men of the Time, eleventh edition — Collins, William WilkieThompson Cooper

COLLINS, William Wilkie, eldest son of the late William Collins, R.A., the well-known painter of rustic scenes, was born in London in Jan. 1824. His mother was a sister of Mrs. Carpenter, one of the best female portrait-painters of the time. After being educated at a private school, and spending two years with his parents in Italy, he was articled for four years to a firm in the tea-trade. Exchanging commerce for law, he was a student of Lincoln's Inn at the time of his father's death, and his earliest literary performance was an admirable biography of his father, with selections from his journals and correspondence, published in two vols. 1848. From this time Mr. Collins devoted himself entirely to literature, and published successively, "Antonina; or the Fall of Rome; a Romance of the fifth century," 1850; "Rambles beyond Railways; or Notes in Cornwall, taken afoot," 1851; "Basil: a Story of Modern Life," 1852; "Mr. Wray's Cash Box; or the Mask and the Mystery: a Christmas Sketch," 1852; "Hide and Seek," 1854. Soon afterwards he became a contributor to Household Words, and his "After Dark," 1856, and "The Dead Secret," 1857, are reprints of tales which originally appeared in that periodical. The later productions of his pen are "The Queen of Hearts," 1859; "The Woman in White," 1860; "No Name," 1862, which, as well as the preceding novel, originally appeared in the columns of All the Year Round; "My Miscellanies," 1863; "Armadale," 1866; "The Moonstone," 1868; "Man and Wife," 1870; "Poor Miss Finch," 1872; "Miss or Mrs? and other Stories in Outline," 1873; "The New Magdalen," 1873; "The Law and the Lady," 1875; "Two Destinies," 1876; "The Haunted Hotel," 1878; "The Fallen Leaves," 1879; "A Rogue's Life from his Birth to his Marriage," 1879; and "Heart and Science," 1883. Mr. Collins' principal works have passed through several editions both in this country and the United States, and have been translated into French, Italian, German, Dutch, Danish, and Russian. He is a member of the Guild of Literature and Art, and took a prominent part in the amateur performances which were got up for its benefit. He wrote the "Lighthouse," first played in private at Tavistock House, and afterwards produced at the Olympic Theatre. In 1857 his unpublished drama, entitled "The Frozen Deep," was first produced at Tavistock House, Mr. C. Dickens and other amateurs performing it with great success. It was afterwards brought out with the same cast at the Gallery of Illustration, for the benefit of the "Jerrold Fund," the Queen having previously witnessed a private representation at that place. A dramatic version, by himself, of "The Moonstone," in four acts, was brought out at the Olympic Theatre in Sept. 1877. His play, "Rank and Riches," produced at the Adelphi Theatre on June 9, 1883, was a complete failure.