|The earliest published mentions of Wilkie Collins are to be found in the biography he wrote of his father, the artist William Collins (1788-1847) which was published in 1848. The extracts below are from family memories, letters and diaries recorded in that book. The portrait of William Collins is by John Linnell.
[SIR DAVID WILKIE ON WILKIE COLLINS'S CHRISTENING DAY 17 February 1824]
On the birth of his first son, at the beginning of this year, the painter requested Sir David Wilkie to become one of the sponsors for his child. The great artist's first criticism on his future godson is worth recording, from its originality. Sir David, whose studies of human nature extended to everything but infant human nature, had evidently been refreshing his faculties for the occasion, by taxing his boyish recollections of puppies and kittens; for, after looking intently into the child's eyes, as it was held up for his inspection, he exclaimed to the father, with serious astonishment and satisfaction, "He sees!" [I p235]
[WILLIAM COLLINS TO SIR DAVID WILKIE 17 April 1828]
Your godson grows a strapping fellow, and has a little blue-eyed red-haired bonny bairn, as a brother, about three months old. [I 299]
[WILLIAM COLLINS'S JOURNAL]
JOURNAL OF 1844.
January 1st, 1844.—As I think it quite possible that my dear son, William Wilkie Collins, may be tempted, should it please God to spare his life beyond that of his father, to furnish the world with a memoir of my life, I purpose occasionally noting down some circumstances as leading points, which may be useful. [II 247]
From Memoirs of the Life of William Collins, Esq., R.A. by Wilkie Collins, London 1848
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