Sir Walter Besant (1836-1901) was a novelist and historian from London. His sister-in-law was Annie Besant. In 1855, he was admitted to Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1859. He settled in London in 1867 and took the duties of Secretary to the Palestine Exploration Fund. In 1868 he published Studies in French Poetry. Three years later he began a collaboration with James Rice. Among their joint productions were Ready-Money Mortiboy (1871) and The Golden Butterfly (1876). Thereafter Besant continued to write voluminously at his own hand, his leading novels being All in a Garden Fair (1883), Dorothy Forster (1884), Children of Gibeon (1886), and All Sorts and Conditions of Men (1882). In addition to his work in fiction, Besant wrote largely on the history and topography of London. His books on this subject include: London in the Eighteenth Century (1902), and several of the 10-volume Fascination of London series originally published by A & C Black.