Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) was the third son of a barrister, who ruined his family by giving up the law for farming, and an industrious mother. After attending Winchester and Harrow, Trollope scraped into the General Post Office, London, in 1834, where he worked for seven years. In 1841 he was transferred to Ireland as a surveyor's clerk, and in 1844 married and settled at Clonmel. His first two novels were devoted to Irish life; his third, La Vendée, was historical. All were failures.
After a distinguished career in the GPO, for which he invented the pillar box and travelled extensively abroad, Trollope resigned in 1867, earning his living from writing instead. He led an extensive social life, from which he drew material for his many social and political novels.
The idea for The Warden (1855), the first of the six Barsetshire novels, came from a visit to Salisbury Close; with it came the characters whose fortunes were explored through the succeeding volumes, of which Doctor Thorne is the third.