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Smiles studied medicine in Edinburgh, during which time he became involved in the campaign for parliamentary reform, contributing articles on the subject to the Edinburgh Weekly Chronicle and the Leeds Times. In 1838, he became the editor of the Leeds Times, a position he held until being appointed secretary first to the Leeds and Thirsk Railway and then the South Eastern Railway. Smiles is best remembered as the writer of books extolling virtues of self-help, and biographies of 'heroic' engineers.
oil on canvas
H 62.2 x W 45.7 cm
Given by members of the sitter's family, 1904