Reference > Cambridge History > The Victorian Age, Part Two > Caricature and the Literature of Sport > John Thomas Smith
  The English Spy James Catnach  


The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two.

VI. Caricature and the Literature of Sport.

§ 11. John Thomas Smith.

Among the books on life in London during the end of the eighteenth and the early years of the nineteenth centuries, one other demands notice, A Book for a Rainy Day, or Recollections of the Events of the Years 1766–1833, by John Thomas Smith. John Thomas Smith, who was born in a hackney coach on the way from Earl street, Seven Dials, to Great Portland street, on a June evening in 1766 and died in April, 1833, was an artist, a writer and a Londoner, and wrote a life of his father’s master, the sculptor Nollekens, which is unmatched for malicious candour and vivid detail. Art-student, portrait-painter, sightseer, writer, gossip, and keeper of the prints in the British museum, Smith spent his sixty-seven years in close touch with the artistic and literary life of London. He had a keen curiosity about things and people past and present, a retentive memory and a gift for gossip; and his book is one of the most entertaining and most trustworthy memorials of his period. Published twelve years after his death, it forms a valuable corrective to the flashy fictions of Egan and his like.   17

  The English Spy James Catnach  
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