George C. Virtue,
Esq. (c. 1793 – 8 December
) was a 19th century London publisher
, well-known for printing engravings. His publishing house was located at 26 Ivy Lane, Paternoster Row
, London, EC
Virtue selected accomplished artists, employed the best engravers, and produced books that were rarely surpassed in elegance and correctness for the period. Chief among his publications were the following, all illustrated by William Henry Bartlett
, by William Beattie, 2 vols. 1836; Scotland
, by W. Beattie, 1838; The Waldenses
, by W. Beattie, 1838; American Scenery
, 2 vols. 1840; Description of the Beauties of the Bosphorus
, by Julia Pardoe, 1840; and The Danube, its History and Scenery
, by W. Beattie, 1844. Virtue created a prodigious business, issuing upwards of twenty thousand copper and steel engravings through his career.
In 1848, Virtue purchased two magazines. One was an art publication, The Art Union
, which had been founded in 1839 by Hodgson & Graves, then purchased in 1847 by Chapman & Hall. The second purchase was controlling interest in Sharpe's London Magazine
, a literary and cultural magazine, Arthur Hall publisher. In 1849, Virtue renamed the art magazine The Art Journal
and, in time, it became known as the premier art publication of Great Britain. Also in 1849, he created a new firm with Arthur Hall called "Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co.".
- George Virtue
- 26 Ivy Lane, London
- 25 Paternoster Row, London
- 26 John Street, New York
- Arthur Hall, Virtue & Co.
Virtue's wife was named Helen.
Their oldest son, George Henry Virtue (d.1866), FSA, Esq., was Treasurer of the Royal Numismatic Society for several years.
When Virtue retired from his publishing business in 1855, his second son, James Sprent Virtue, took over the business, having spent many years in the United States overseeing the Virtue's New York publishing house.
In 1861, the youngest son, William Alexander Virtue (d.1875), was promoted to Lieutenant, vice Turney, with the 39th Middlesex Rifle Volunteer Corps.. In
1865, he became a partner in the Virtue's City Road and Ivy Lane publishing houses before moving to the United States and taking over the Virtue's New York publishing house, including "Virtue and Yorston" with Charles H. Yorston.
Virtue's daughter, Frances Virtue (d.1878), married the English essayist and historian, James Augustus Cotter Morison in 1861. They had one son, Theodore Morison, a principal from 1899–1905 of the college of Aligarh and member of the Council of India from 1906; and daughters Helen Cotter, and Margaret.
Virtue was a common councilman for the ward of Farringdon Within
, and later was the Deputy of his ward. He was a member of the court of the Stationers' Company
and a director of the Great Central Gas Company.
Virtue retired in Oatlands
Park. He died in 1868 at the home of his daughter, Frances Morison, on Porchester Square, London. Much of his correspondence and other family records are archived in the Smithsonian
through a donation of documents by Virtue's great-great-grandson, Michael Virtue.