Born into a Huguenot family in Neuruppin, Theodor Fontane grew up in Berlin and initially trained as an apothecary under his father. In 1849 he left the profession and became a full-time journalist and writer, working during the 1850s as a London-based correspondent. He wrote a number of books about Britain and, on returning to Germany, published works on Prussia's military campaigns and on Brandenburg. He also participated in the Franco-Prussian war and spent a short time in French captivity. From 1875 onwards he devoted himself largely to novel-writing.