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Suspected assassin had a creative expertise Get hold of US

There is no such thing as a grave for Thomas Griffiths Wainewright. No manner for future generations to know he existed, apart from from his physique of inventive works and a darkish historical past of homicide and greed.

Thomas was born into an prosperous household in London, in October 1794. Sadly, his mom died in childbirth and his father adopted quickly after. He was raised by his aged grandparents in Chiswick, on the outskirts of London city. He turned a properly educated younger man.

Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, self portrait, 1825. Courtesy Wikipedia

In 1814 Thomas purchased an officer’s fee within the yeomanry regiment, nevertheless it solely lasted for a 12 months. It was believed a psychological sickness was the explanation for the brief service, a attainable warning of issues to return.

By 1819 Thomas had taken on a literary profession writing for publications reminiscent of The Literary Pocket-Ebook, Blackwood’s Journal, The International Quarterly Overview and The London Journal. He contributed tales from 1820 to 1823 below the pen names Janus Weathercock, Egomet Bonmot and Cornelius van Vinkbooms.

Thomas married Eliza Frances Ward in 1817 after receiving an inheritance of over 5,000 kilos from his grandfather. Nevertheless, he obtained the cash in small dividends, and as his life-style noticed him residing past his means, he began forging signatures so he may entry the majority of his cash till the account was empty.

Quickly the Wainewrights have been with out cash and needed to transfer again dwelling to stay with Thomas’ uncle, George Griffiths, who mysteriously died in agony a short while later. When Eliza’s mom settled her will in favour of her daughter, she died shortly afterwards.

Debt nonetheless hounded Thomas, so he and Eliza got here up with the concept of insuring her sister, Helen’s life for 16,000 kilos. In December of the identical 12 months, Helen died displaying indicators of strychnine poisoning. The insurance coverage firms investigated and though Thomas was by no means charged with any murders, his financial institution forgeries have been found.

Thomas was charged and despatched to Hobart in Van Diemen’s Land for financial institution forgery, arriving on the convict ship Susan in November, 1837. He turned properly generally known as an artist within the younger colony, having accomplished greater than 100 portraits on paper utilizing colored wash, pencil and ink throughout his years in Hobart.

Whereas he was given a conditional pardon in 1846, he died of apoplexy in November 1847. A lot of his works are held in non-public collections and a few public museums.


  • ‘Thomas Griffiths Wainewright’, Wikipedia, accessed 2nd June, 2023,

  • ‘Thomas Griffiths Wainewright’, Nationwide Portrait Gallery, accessed 4th June, 2023,

  • V. W. Hodgman, ‘Wainewright, Thomas Griffiths (1794–1847)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Nationwide Centre of Biography, Australian Nationwide College, printed first in hardcopy 1967, accessed on-line 5 June 2023.

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