WILKIE COLLINS'S FAMILY

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WILLIAM COLLINS (SENIOR) (c1740 - 1812)

Wilkie Collins's paternal grandfather.  From an impoverished Irish Protestant background in County Wicklow, he came to London as a young man and made a precarious living as a picture dealer and restorer.  He had literary ambitions, publishing a number of works including a poem attacking the slave trade.  Memoirs of a Picture (1805), a lively if incoherent novel, combined fiction with a biography of his friend, the painter George Morland.  Its account of faking and shady dealings in the art world together with the improvident and scandalous life of Morland inspired his grandson's A Rogue's Life in 1856.  William Collins Senior died bankrupt in 1812, leaving almost destitute his Scottish wife Margaret and their two surviving children, William and Francis Collins.

 

MARGARET COLLINS (d. 1833)

Wilkie Collins's formidable paternal grandmother, a Scotswoman from near Edinburgh.  In her later years, increasingly senile and dependent, she lived with her son William Collins and daughter-in-law Harriet Collins during much of Wilkie's early childhood, first at New Cavendish Street and then at 30 Porchester Terrace where she died on 29 December 1833.  She is buried in the churchyard of St Mary's Paddington.

 

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