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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Thomas Terrell

Author: Thomas Terrell (1852–1928)

Biography: Thomas Terrell was born in 1852 in Paris, the son of judge Thomas Hull Terrell and his mistress (later wife) Elizabeth (or Isabella) Spry. Terrell's four brothers also served in the legal profession. Terrell was educated at the School of Mines and intended to become an engineer, but instead he moved to London where he edited a pottery magazine and wrote articles for newspapers. In 1879, he was called to the bar by Gray's Inn and the Middle Temple. Terrell began in the divorce courts, serving as junior counsel in the Colin Campbell case of 1886. He was a friend and colleague with fellow attorney and novelist F. C. Philips: from him, Terrell may have gotten the idea to write novels and he wrote three: the successful Lady Delmar (1891) (co-authored with a Miss T. L. White [i.e., "Tiny" Lilian White (1869–1958)]), The City of the Just (1892) about financial fraud, and the romance A Woman of Heart (1893). In 1895 Terrell moved into patent law (aided, no doubt, by his scientific education), became a Queen's Counsel, and wrote the leading book on patents. Interested in politics, he unsuccessfully contested seats in Parliament in 1885, 1892, 1895, and 1900 as a Gladstonian Liberal. Terrell married Emma Jane Spooner and the couple had three children. The marriage was unhappy and Terrell had a French mistress Clementine Bouriel by whom he had seven children. When Emma died in 1924, Terrell married Clementine. He retired shortly before he died in 1928.

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References: British Census (1871, 1881, 1891, 1901); Times (30 April 1928); Christopher Wadlow, "New Life and Vigour at Terrell?," Rev. of Terrell on the Law of Patents, Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice (2011)

Fiction Titles:

  1. Lady Delmar: A Novel.  1 vol.  London: Trischler, 1891.
  2. The City of the Just.  1 vol.  London: Trischler, 1892.
  3. A Woman of Heart.  2 vol.  London: Ward and Downey, 1893.
  4. An M.P.'s Wife.  1 vol.  London: Ward and Downey, 1895.