Jane Brookfield

Jane Octavia Brookfield

Jane Octavia Brookfield (1821–1896) was a literary hostess and writer, best known for her platonic friendship with William Makepeace Thackeray, and the four indifferent novels she wrote.


Jane was the daughter of Sir Charles Abraham Elton (a former soldier, and a published author who was friends with Charles Lamb and Samuel Taylor Coleridge), and the aunt of Charles Isaac Elton, M.P.

Jane married William Henry Brookfield (1809–1874), twelve years he senior, on 18 November 1841.

Jane maintained an influential literary salon, which included among others Thackeray and her husband's old college friend Alfred Tennyson. It was her close friendship with Thackeray for which she is best remembered and in the mid-1840s they were interment terms. D. J. Taylor in here biography in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states "the relationship between him and Jane was almost certainly not sexual (there may have been a chaste embrace or two ...)". Thackeray incorporated some of her characteristics in to two of his characters: Amelia Sedley in Vanity Fair (1848), and Laura Bell in Pendennis (1850).


The couple were survived by their two sons Arthur Montagu Brookfield (1853–1940) who became a British army officer, diplomat author and Conservative politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1903; and (1857–1913) an actor.



  • Taylor, D. J. (2004). "Brookfield , Jane Octavia (1821–1896)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/56277.

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