Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Jenkin, Henrietta Camilla

JENKIN, HENRIETTA CAMILLA (1807?–1885), novelist, only daughter of Robert Jackson, custos rotulorum of Kingston, Jamaica, and of Susan Campbell, a Scotchwoman, was born in Jamaica about 1807, and married in 1832 Charles Jenkin, midshipman (afterwards commander) R.N. Their son, Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin, is separately noticed. An accomplished and personally attractive woman, Mrs. Jenkin was long a favourite in society. Without having natural literary tastes, she began to write under pressure of poverty. Her first novel, ‘Violet Bank and its Inmates,’ 1858, had little success; but she acquired a reputation by ‘Cousin Stella,’ 1859, a West Indian novel showing both power and cleverness, and ‘Who Breaks, Pays,’ 1861, a skilful delineation of an English coquette. Her later novels were: 1. ‘Skirmishing,’ 1862. 2. ‘Once and Again,’ 1865. 3. ‘Two French Marriages,’ 1868 (republished in New York as ‘A Psyche of To-day,’ 1868, and ‘Madame de Beauprés,’ 1869). 4. ‘Within an Ace,’ 1869. 5. ‘Jupiter's Daughters,’ 1874. She lived in Paris in 1847–8, and from 1848 till 1851 in Genoa. At Genoa she was intimate with the Ruffinis and leading liberals, and supported enthusiastically all liberal movements. After 1868, when her son was appointed to an Edinburgh professorship, she lived in Edinburgh. Her health began to fail in 1875. She died on 8 Feb. 1885, three days after her husband. An attractive portrait of Mrs. Jenkin, by her son, taken at Genoa, is given in Mr. Stevenson's ‘Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin.’

[Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin, by R. L. Stevenson.]

G. T. B.