Thackeray Chronology


1811 Born in Calcutta, India, to Richmond and Anne (Becher) Thackeray (18 July)

1815 Death of father

1817 Arrives in England with servant; mother marries Captain Henry Carmichael-Smyth in India

1819 Mother and stepfather return to England

1822 Enters Charterhouse School in London (leaves in 1828)

1829 Matriculates at Trinity College, Cambridge; vacations in Paris


1830 Leaves Cambridge without a degree; has lost £1500 gambling; travels in Germany (July 1830-March 1831)

1831 Admitted to Inner Temple to study law

1833 Becomes part owner of and Paris correspondent for The National Standard; studies art in Paris; loses most of his money in an Indian bank failure

1834 Begins contributing pieces to Fraser’s Magazine

1836 Marries Isabella Shawe in Paris (20 August); Paris correspondent for The Constitutional, which fails the following year; publishes Flore et Zéphyr

1837 Birth of daughter Anne Isabella (Anny); publishes The Yellowplush Correspondence in Fraser’s Magazine (November 1837-August 1838)

1838 Birth of daughter Jane

1839 Death of daughter Jane (aged 9 months); publishes Catherine in Fraser’s Magazine (May 1839-February 1840)


1840 Birth of daughter Harriet Marian (Minnie); wife attempts to drown herself; publishes A Shabby Genteel Story in Fraser’s Magazine (June-October 1840)

1841 Wife considered insane and entrusted to a private nurse; publishes The Second Funeral of Napoleon (January) and The Great Hoggarty Diamond (September)

1842 Wife placed in an asylum near Paris; meets Mrs. Jane Brookfield

1843 Publishes The Irish Sketch Book (May)

1844 Publishes Barry Lyndon in Fraser’s Magazine (January-December 1844); tours the Near East (August 1844-February 1845)

1846 Publishes Notes of a Journey from Cornhill to Grand Cairo (January); publishes The Book of Snobs in Punch (March 1846-February 1847); publishes Mrs. Perkins’s Ball (December)

1847 Publishes Vanity Fair in 19 monthly parts (January 1847-July 1848); publishes Our Street (December)

1848 Publishes Pendennis in 23 monthly parts (November 1848-December 1850); publishes Dr. Birch and His Young Friends (December)

1849 Publication of Pendennis suspended due to serious illness (October-December); publishes Rebecca and Rowena (December)


1850 Publishes The Kickleburys on the Rhine (December)

1851 Lectures in London on The English Humorists; begins writing Henry Esmond (August)

1852 Publishes Esmond in 3 volumes (October); lectures in New York (November-December)

1853 Lectures in eastern U.S. (January-April); returns to London; publishes The Newcomes in 23 monthly parts (October 1853-August 1855)

1854 Illness while in Rome; publishes The Rose and the Ring (December)

1855 Lectures in the U.S. on The Four Georges

1856 Returns to London (May); lectures in Scotland and north England (November 1856-May 1857)

1857 Runs unsuccessfully for MP of Oxford; publishes The Virginians in 24 monthly parts (November 1857-October 1858)

1858 The “Garrick Club Affair” alienates him from Dickens

1859 Accepts editorship of Cornhill Magazine


1860 First number of Cornhill Magazine; publishes Roundabout Papers (January 1860-November 1863) and Lovel the Widower (January-June) in Cornhill Magazine

1861 Begins publishing Philip in Cornhill Magazine (January 1861-August 1862)

1862 Resigns editorship of Cornhill Magazine

1863 Begins publishing Denis Duval in Cornhill Magazine (May; remained unfinished); dies (24 December); is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery (29 December)