George Murray Smith (1824-1901)

"From the portrait painted by G. F. Watts, RA"


Source: Wood 208

George Smith, along with another man of Scottish background, Alexander Elder (1790–1876), and with William Smith Williams (1800–1875) as literary adviser, ran what became the most successful firm of London publishers in Victorian England. Early on, his acceptance of Jane Eyre in 1847 "arguably made his reputation as a publisher overnight" (Bell). Smith's relationship with its author developed, to the extent that he inspired the character of Dr John in Villette. Clearly "not displeased" about this (Barker 705), he published the novel in 1851. Charlotte, for her part, remained loyal to the firm throughout. [Commentary continues below.]

Image acquisition and text by Jacqueline Banerjee.

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