William Gilbert Snr. (1804 - 1890), father of W. S. Gilbert was born in Bishopstoke, Hampshire on 20th May 1804 and died in Salisbury on 30th January 1890.
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William, an ex-surgeon, did not begin to write until the age of 59, by which time his son was already regarded as a promising author and playwright.
The elder Gilbert’s novels have been out of print for many years although recently some of his work has started to be republished and many of his books are entertaining and easy to read. Two in particular, are worthy of note, The Magic Mirror and King George’s Middy, as not only are they good stories, but they contain numerous drawings by W. S. Gilbert within the body of the text.
The Last Lords of Gardonal has always been regarded as a classic Gothic Horror vampire story which, of course, pre-dates Bram Stoker and Dracula.
The list from which the titles below are taken has been supplied by Brian Jones, Librarian to the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, to whom I am indebted. Mr Jones himself would not claim that it is exhaustive.
Where possible I have added links to possible sources for these titles. Some may be booksellers, some may be to digital downloads or scanned copies of the original volumes.
- Margaret Meadows, A Tale for Pharisees (1858)
- The Weaver’s Family (1860)
- Shirley Hall Asylum, or, The Memoirs of a Monomaniac (1863).
The 1863 edition of this book is available for download now from Google Books.
- Christmas Tale: The Rosary, a Legend of Wilton Abbey (1863).
The original 1863 edition of this book is available for download now from Google Books.
- The Magic Mirror, A Round of Tales for Young and Old (1865) - Illustrated by W. S. Gilbert
There was also a second edition, first published in 1907, with new colour illustrations by John Menzies. This quite often can be found through second-hand outlets. The original 1865 edition with W. S. Gilbert’s illustrations is available for download now from Google Books.
- Dr. Austin’s Guests (1866) - Two volumes.
Volume One of the original 1866 edition is available for download now from Google Books.
Volume Two of the original 1866 edition is available for download now from Google Books.
- The Wizard of the Mountain (1867) - Illustrated by W. S. Gilbert.
- The Washerwoman’s Foundling (1867)
The original 1865 edition with W. S. Gilbert’s illustrations is available for download now from Google Books.
- The Doctor of Beauweir, An autobiography in Two Volumes (1868)
- King George’s Middy (1869) - Illustrated by W. S. Gilbert.
The original 1869 edition is available for download now Google Books.
- The Landlord of ‘The Sun’ (1871) - Three volumes.
- Martha (1871)
- Clara Levesque (1872) - Three volumes.
- James Duke, The Costermonger, A Tale of the Social Aspects (1879)
- Memoirs of a Cynic (1880) - Three volumes.
Again, the following list may not be exhaustive and some of the stories may actually appear as individual chapters in longer works. ‘The Sacristan of St. Botolph' for example is one of the tales included in The Magic Mirror.
- The Sacristan of St Botolph (1866)
- The Doctor Onofrio (1867)
- Don Bucefalo And The Curate (1867)
- Fra Gerolamo (1867)
- The Innominato’s Confession (1867)
- The Last Lords of Gardonal (1867) This rather gruesome tale of vampires was published in Argosy (1867), and was reportedly much admired by Bram Stoker.
- The Magic Flower (1867)
- The Physician’s Daughter (1867)
- The Robber Chief (1867)
- Tomaso And Pepina (1867)
- The Two Lovers (1867)
- Friar Peter’s Confession (1869)
- How Brother Ignatius Became A Monk (1869)
- How Brother Jonas, The Sub-Cellarer, Was Haunted By An Evil Spirit (1869)
- The Shrine Of Santa Clara (1869)
- Walter, The Sub-Steward (1869)
- Dives And Lazarus, or, The Adventures of an Obscure Medical Man in a Low Neighbourhood (1858). The 1858 edition is available for download now
- A Tale for the Pharisees (1859)
- Gilbert Warminster: a ghost story (1860)
Issue 1 of Temperance tales
- De Profundis, A Tale of the Social Deposits (1864)
Volume two of the 1864 edition is available for download now from
- The Goldsworthy Family or, The Country Attorney (1864)
Volume One of the 1864 edition is available for download now from
- Lucrezia Borgia, Duchess of Ferrara (1869) A biography.
Volume One of the 1869 edition is available for download now from
- Disestablishment From a Church Point of View
- Facta Non Verba (1874)
- The Inquisitor (1870)
- Legion, or, The Modern Demoniac
- The City, an Enquiry into the Corporation.
- Modern Wonders of the World
- Contrasts; Dedicated to the ratepayers of London (1873)
- Them Boots (1877)
- ‘Nothing But The Truth’, an unvarnished picture of the effects of intemperance (1877)
- The Abuse of Charity in London (1878)
- Mrs Dubosq’s Bible (1879)
- Sir Thomas Branston
- The Struggles in Ferrara