- Robert Smith Surtees
Robert Smith Surtees (
May 17, 1803- March 16, 1864) was an English editor, novelistand sporting writer. He was the second son of Anthony Surtees of Hamsterley Hall, a member of an old County Durhamfamily.
Surtees attended school at
Ovinghamand Durham Schoolbefore being articled in 1822 to Robert Purvis, a solicitor in Market Street, Newcastle upon Tyne.
He left for London in 1825, intending to practise law in the capital but had difficulty making his way, and began contributing to the "Sporting Magazine". He launched out on his own with the "New Sporting Magazine" in 1831, contributing the comic papers which appeared as "Jorrocks' Jaunts and Jollities" in 1838. Jorrocks, the sporting cockney grocer, with his vulgarity and good-natured artfulness, was a great success with the public, and Surtees produced more Jorrocks novels in the same vein, notably "Handley Cross" and "Hillingdon Hall", where the description of the house is very reminiscent of Hamsterley. Another hero, Soapey Sponge, appears in "Mr Sponge's Sporting Tour", possibly Surtees best work. All Surtees' novels were composed at Hamsterley Hall, where he wrote standing up at a desk, like Victor Hugo.
In 1835, Surtees abandoned his legal practice and after inheriting Hamsterley Hall in 1838, devoted himself to hunting and shooting, meanwhile writing anonymously for his own pleasure. He was a friend and admirer of the great hunting man Ralph Lambton, who had his headquarters at
SedgefieldCounty Durham, the 'Melton of the North'. Surtees became Lord High Sheriff of Durham in 1856. He died in Brighton in 1864 and was buried in Ebchesterchurch.
Though Surtees did not set his novels in any readily identifiable locality, he uses North East place-names like Sheepwash, Howell (How) Burn, and Winford Rig. His memorable
Geordie, James Pigg in "Handley Cross" is based on Joe Kirk, a Slaley huntsman. The famous incident, illustrated by Leech, when Pigg jumps into the melon frame was inspired by a similar episode involving Joe Kirk in Corbridge. As a creator of comic personalities, Surtees is still very readable today. Thackerayenvied him his powers of observation, while William Morrisconsidered him 'a master of life' and ranked him with Dickens. The novels are engaging and vigorous, and abound with sharp social observation, with a keener eye than Dickens for the natural world. Perhaps Surtees most resembles the Dickens of Pickwick Papers, which was originally intended as mere supporting matter for a series of sporting illustrations to rival Jorrocks.
Most of Surtees's later novels, were illustrated by John Leech. They included "Mr Sponge's Sporting Tour" (1853); "Ask Mamma" (1858); "Plain or Ringlets?" (1860)and "Mr Facey Romford's Hounds" (1865). The last of these novels appeared posthumously.
In 1841 Surtees married Elizabeth Jane Fenwick, daughter of Addison Fenwick of
Bishopwearmouth, by whom he had one son and two daughters. His younger daughter Eleanor married John Vereker, afterwards 5th Viscount Gort. Their son was Field Marshal Lord Gort, commander of the BEF in Francein 1940.
*R.S. Surtees, "Jorrocks's Jaunts and Jollities" (London, 1869), containing a biographical memoir of the author
*W.P. Frith, "John Leech, His Life and Work" (2 vols, London, 1891)
*Samuel Halkett and J Laing, "Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous Literature of Great Britain" (4 vols, Edinburgh, 1882-1888).
*Anthony Steel, "Jorrocks's England: On the Works of Robert Smith Surtees" (London: Methuen & Co., 1932).----
*gutenberg author|id=Robert_Smith_Surtees|name=Robert Smith Surtees
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Surtees, Robert Smith — born May 17, 1803, The Riding, Northumberland, Eng. died March 16, 1864, Brighton, Sussex English novelist. Passionately addicted to riding to hounds from his youth, Surtees devoted nearly all his writings to horses and riding. In 1831 he… … Universalium
Surtees, Robert Smith — (17 may. 1803, The Riding, Northumberland, Inglaterra–16 mar. 1864, Brighton, Sussex). Novelista inglés. Apasionado desde su juventud a la caza con perros, Surtees dedicó casi la totalidad de sus escritos al tema de los caballos y la monta. En… … Enciclopedia Universal
Surtees, Robert Smith — (1802 1864) Sporting novelist, a country gentleman of Durham, who was in business as a solicitor, but not succeeding, started in 1831 the Sporting Magazine. Subsequently he took to writing sporting novels, which were illustrated by John Leech … Short biographical dictionary of English literature
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smith — /smith/, n. 1. a worker in metal. 2. a blacksmith. v.t. 3. to forge on an anvil; form by heating and pounding: to smith armor. [bef. 900; (n.) ME, OE; c. G Schmied, ON smithr, Goth smitha; (v.) ME smithen, OE smithian; c. ON smitha, Goth… … Universalium
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