"The Life and Reminiscences of E.L Blanchard
*With notes from the Diary of W.M Blanchard"
compiled by Clement Scott and Cecil Howard
12th August 1864. Hear of F. Robson's death as having occurred late last night: write the memoir.
Born at Margate in 1821 ; was apprenticed to a copper-plate engraver, but chose the stage, and first appeared at the Amateur Theatre, Catherine Street, as Simon Mealbag in Grace Huntley. He then went to Whitstable, Uxbridge, etc., and then joined the Grecian in 1844, and remained there five years; in 1850 he went to the Queen's Theatre, Dublin, and stayed there, and at the other principal house, three years. At Easter 1853 he succeeded Mr. Compton at the Olympic, where he made his first appearance, March 28th, in Catching an Heiress. His Jem Baggs, Macbeth, Shylock, Fouche, Medea, Yellow Dwarf, will always be spoken of as extraordinary performances. He was joint lessee with W. S. Emden of the Olympic from 1857 to the time of his (Robson's) death. He was, without doubt, the actor who could alternate extravagance of farce with the most powerful tragedy, and be equally successful in both. He had been ill for a considerable time before his death.
22nd August 1864. -Grieved to hear of the death of my old associate James Howe, who, had he lived till October 23rd, would have been forty-four. Another gone of a group that I little thought I should have outlived.
He was a first chorister at Westminster, and later at the Temple, and was a good buffo singer; many of his songs he arranged himself. E. L. B. was a kind friend to him.
8th January 1865 Hear by American mail that James Wallack 3 died at New York ; write memoir.
James Wallack was born in Hercules Buildings, Lambeth, August 17th, 1794. His father, William Wallack, belonged to Astley's company, and married Mary Johannot, who became one of the favourite actresses on the minor boards. James Wallack made his first appearance as a child actor in 1804 at the German Theatre in Leicester Square, and, at twelve years of age was engaged at Drury Lane. He played the Negro-boy in the pantomime of Furibond; or, Harlequin Negro, in 1807. October lOth, 1812, on the opening of the New Theatre, though only eighteen he played Laertes to Elliston's Hamlet, and from that time was a prominent member of the company, appearing with Edmund Kean. In 1817 he married the daughter of John Johnstone, the Irish comedian, and took his new-made wife to America. Made his debut at the Park Theatre, New York, in September 1818, as Macbeth. Lester Wallack, his eldest son, was born in 1819. James Wallack only stayed a year in America, then returned to Drury Lane to appear as Hamlet, and made his great success as Rolla. Re-visited America in 1821, and on the journey to Philadelphia the stage carriage broke down and he received a compound fracture of the leg, from which he never thoroughly recovered. He returned to England in about two years' time, and was received with acclamation. July 14th, 1823, he played Roderick Dhu in The Knight of Snowdon, at the Opera House. On the 28th of the same month he played Faust in Presumption; or, The Fate of Frankenstein, and in the autumn of that year became stage-manager at Drury Lane, appearing as Doricourt, Lovemore, and Harry Dornton. His great parts were: Allessandro Massaroni in Planche's The Brigands, Drury Lane, 1829; Martin Heywood in Douglas Jerrold's The Rent Day, January 25th, 1832. Soon after this he went to America again, became manager of the National Theatre, New York, in 1837. August 31st, 1840, he played Don Felix, in The Wonder, at the Haymarket in London. In 1841 again went to New York, and on May 21st of that year the National Theatre was burnt down, by which he suffered considerably. He then starred in the States, and, returning to England first appeared at the Princess's, October 8th, 1844, as Don Cesar, also made a name in The Rent Day and Wild Oats. He then returned in 1845, and re-appeared at the Park Theatre, New York, and in September became associated with the Arch Street Theatre, Philadelphia. Made a success throughout the States, and in May 1852, opened what had been Brougham's Lyceum as Wallack's Theatre, remaining in America until his death, and appearing frequently in Shakespearean parts.
E. L. B, states that Gustavus Vaughan Brooke was born on April 25th, 1819, at Hardwick Place, Dublin, and as a child was a great favourite of the novelist, Maria Edgeworth, by whose brother Lovell he was educated; and was noted for his love of, and skill in, athletic sports. He was then placed under the tuition of the Rev. William Jones, to be prepared for college, with a view of his joining the Irish Bar. He went to see Macready when he was fourteen years of age, and this decided his future career. He called the next day on the great actor, and told him that he wished to join the profession, and Macready pointed out to him all its perils, dangers, and hardships. This did not alter Brooke's determination, for he soon after called upon J. W. Calcraft, manager of the Theatre Royal, Dublin, and requested to appear in the character of William Tell, and recited to him one or two pieces. Calcraft and his wife were very much struck with his recitation, but told him that they could do nothing at present. Almost immediately afterwards, Edmund Kean, who had been engaged to appear, was unable to do so through illness. The manager was in a fix, and thought of Gustavus Brooke, and allowed him to appear on Easter Tuesday, 1833, as William Tell. The result was sufficiently satisfactory to obtain for him an engagement, and he appeared as Virginius, Frederic in Lover's Vows, Douglas and Rolla. He then went to Limerick and Londonderry, and was engaged for twelve nights for Glasgow. From thence to Edinburgh, where he was engaged for the rest of the season, and earned the title of "The Hibernian Roscius." He then came to London to the Victoria and joined the Kent circuit. After considerable work in the provinces he appeared as Othello at the Olympic Theatre, January 2nd, 1848, and was at once acknowledged as one of the greatest tragedians of the age, and had the most liberal offers, but he returned to the provinces, and after a tour went to America, and made his debut at the Broadway Theatre, New York, December 15th, 1851, as Othello. His first appearance in Philadelphia was on January 5th, 1852, as Sir Giles Overreach. He had made a considerable sum of money, but he invested it in taking the Astor Place Opera House, New York, which he opened in 1852, but lost everything, and became deeply involved in debt; but, to his honour be it remembered, he paid every shilling afterwards. On September 6th, 1852, he recommenced touring through the States as a star, and his progress was triumphant. He returned to England and reappeared at Drury Lane, September 5th, 1853. In 1854 he took his farewell of the London public, and sailed for Australia. He became lessee of the Theatre Royal, Melbourne, but the speculation was unsuccessful, so after seven years' absence he returned to Drury Lane, October 28th, 1861, appearing as Othello.
G. V. Brooke was tall, dignified, and graceful; his features were eminently expressive, and on the stage his walk and presence were majestic. As a tragic artist he stood at one time in the highest rank. His style was perfectly natural, from no school, but fresh from the hand of Nature. He possessed a voice of great power, which he used effectively. He was almost absurdly generous. The unfortunate steamer, London, had left Plymouth on January 6th, and had been battling with fearful weather until the 11th, when she went down with two hundred and twenty souls. Only sixteen of the crew and three passengers survived. Gustavus V. Brooke set an example of courage and fortitude to all on board--working at the pumps; and appears to have accepted his coming doom with resignation. The last words he was known to have uttered were, “If you succeed in saving yourselves, give my farewell to the people at Melbourne."
23rd May 1866 Death of Miss Cottrell of Olympic, who died on Monday aged only twenty-five.
At a very early age she had appeared as an actress at the Olympic and St. James's Theatres, and had made her mark; but possessing a considerable knowledge of music, she thought it advisable to turn it to account on the operatic stage, and only the week before her death was appearing at Her Majesty's Theatre, as Mdlle. Edi. She married John Haines, the violoncellist.
4th August 1866 Poor Charles Ball, the original editor of
Illustrated London News, Lloyd's Weekly News, 'Censorius' of the Despatch, died, aged, I should think, over seventy.
September 1866 My old friend Bob Souter of The Advertiser, the oldest
leader of the 'Gallery', died this week, aged seventy.
15th November 1866 Record death of Mrs. Chatterly
Maiden name, Louisa Simeon. Born October 16th, 1797; made her first appearance at the old Lyceum, July 1816, as Harriet in Is He Jealous? Soon after married William Chatterly, a favourite comedian at that theatre. In July 1821 she played Julia, in The Rivals, at the opening of the Haymarket Theatre. First appeared at Covent Garden as Miss Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer; in the November following also played there-Letitia Hardy, Edmund in The Blind Boy and Lady Teazle. She was afterwards married to Mr. Place, February 13th, 1830, and left the stage; but, again being left a widow, joined Mr. Alfred Wigan's company when he was manager of the Olympic. Her last engagement was at the Adelphi Theatre. She died Sunday, November 4th.
March 4th 1867 Record death of James Bruton; died this day, aged about sixty
Born at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1815, was apprenticed to a silversmith, but turned his attention to literature, and became celebrated as a comic lyrist. Though self-educated, his work was excellent, and he turned out several charming ballads. He was a great humourist and punster.
6th March 1867 Charles Browne (Artemus Ward) died this day at Southampton, aged thirty-three. Saddened by having the usual luck of writing memoirs of those I have known.
Waterford in America in 1836, was a printer by trade, and travelled
New England until he settled down in Boston, and eventually became
forte consisted in comic stories and essays. He afterwards turned his
to lecturing, and from the quaintness of his delivery he became a great
favourite, And earned considerable sums of money. He lectured in all
extraordinary places, and before some very extraordinary audiences
the miners, Mr. Hingston, his agent, having piloted him well. He was
captured by Indians, and in crossing the Rocky Mountains he and his
attacked by wolves. After travelling in America, from about 1863, he
to New York in 1864. He came to London in 1866, wrote for Punch, and
lectured in the Egyptian Hall. He will always be remembered at least by
work : " Artemus Ward, his Book.". T. W. Robertson
of his, and with E. P. Hingston was appointed his executor. After
for his mother he left a considerable number of legacies to children,
his mother's death her legacy to be devoted to the foundation of an
aged and incapacitated printers.
2nd April 1867 Alfred Mellon buried this day at Brompton Cemetery; nearly a thousand people attend.
Was born at Birmingham in 1822, the youngest of fifteen children, and was the only one who showed an inclination for music, and by the time he was fifteen had acquired such proficiency on the violin as to be admitted a member of the orchestra at the Birmingham Theatre, where he soon rose to be leader, which post he held for seven years. He was also possessed of an excellent voice. His Figaro, Dulcamara, and Count Rodolpho were most efficient. Became conductor of the Adelphi in 1844. In 1847 appointed leader of the ballet music at the Royal Italian Opera, and was also conductor of the Italian Opera in the provinces. In 1857 conducted the Pyne-Harrison English Opera Company at Covent Garden, where was produced his opera of Victorine. His Promenade Concerts were the best, perhaps, that were ever given. He married Miss Woolgar. Died March 27th, 1867.
4th April 1867 Sorry to see announced the death of Charles H. Bennett, a clever young artist (The Owl), aged thirty-seven.
12th April 1867 Robert Bell, journalist and dramatist, died this day, aged sixty-four.
Well known on the Atlas newspaper, and by his novel, " The Ladder of Gold," also by a remarkable article which appeared in the Cornhill Magazine on modern spiritualism, entitled "Stranger than Fiction." He wrote two good comedies, ‘Marriage’ and ‘Temper’, played at the Haymarket Theatre.
7th May 1867 Forage for memoir of my old friend John Povey, who died last Thursday, aged sixty-nine.
John Povey was born at Birmingham in 1799; was the son of James Povey, known as the "Warwickshire Incledon." John Povey appeared at Drury Lane in 1817, with Edmund Kean, Elliston, Munden, Tom Cooke, Fanny Kelly, etc. In 1821 was at the English Opera House. He went with his sister, the well-known ballad-singer, to America, and appeared at the Park Theatre, New York, as Hawthorne, in Love in a Village. Remained in America for twenty years. He was manager and agent to Mrs. Fitzwilliam, Miss Philips (formerly of Drury Lane Theatre), Charles Mathews, and Buckstone; and from his straightforward conduct was known as "Honest John Povey." Was buried by the side of his sister, who died in 1861.
7th May 1867 Madame Persiani’s death is recorded.
Fanny Persiani was the daughter of the distinguished tenor Tacchinardi, and was born at Rome, October 4th, 1818. First appeared as Francesca at Leghorn in 1832; soon after married the composer Persiani. First great success was in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor at Naples, in 1835. Was great in La Sonnambula. Came to London in 1837, and was an operatic star here for ten years. Retired from professional life in 1849.
14th May 1867 Poor William McConnell, the young and clever artist, dies this day.
18th May 1867 Clarkson Stanfield dies this day, aged seventy-four.
Born at Sunderland in 1793, and died at 6, Belsize Park Road, Hampstead, after a few weeks' illness. Was the son of James Field Stanfield, who in early life had been a sailor, which probably led to the son following the same profession for a time; but in 1822 he first appeared as a painter, and exhibited at the Society of British Artists, and was engaged as scene-painter at the Coburg in 1824. Went to Drury Lane, and from that time his scene-painting became celebrated, He particularly enriched the pantomimes. For Harlequin and the Queen Bee, in 1828, he painted a diorama of Spithead, Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight, etc.; in 1829, for Jack in the Box., a diorama of Windsor and its neighbourhood; in 1830, a diorama illustrative of Swiss and Italian scenery; in 1832, Harlequin Traveller, of American scenery; in 1833, St. George and the Dragon, of Egyptian, with the cataracts and pyramids ; in 1837, Peeping Tom, of Coventry, of Italy, Savoy and French Flanders. This was his last pantomime scene-painting. In 1839, out of friendship for Macready, he painted the scenery for the revival of Henry V., and in 1842, for the same reason, some Sicilian views for the production of Acis and Galatea. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1832, and was celebrated for his seascapes.
18th July 1867 Saddened by seeing in the Times obituary the death of Leicester Buckingham, who died at Margate on Monday, aged forty-two.
Was the son of James Silk Buckingham, the traveller and journalist, and at one time Member for Sheffield. He had travelled a great deal with his father, and was well known as a lecturer. He delivered the explanatory description at the Panopticon, later the Alhambra, when it was a scientific institution, and also described the places of interest in Hamilton's Tour in Europe. A great many of Leicester Buckingham's farces, and indeed comedies, were taken from the French. He was a dramatic and musical critic of the Morning Star, as well as a writer on general subjects.
10th August 1867 Death of Ira Aldridge this day recorded.
He died on August 7th, at Lodz, in Poland; having been born in 1804. Was the son of a chief in Senegal, and was intended for the pulpit. He was not allowed to appear in New York for long, on account of his colour, as his appearance produced disapprobation; but in 1833 he made his debut in London under the name of Keene, at the Victoria Theatre, and subsequently at Covent Garden on April 10th 1833, as Othello to Warde's Iago and Ellen Tree's Desdemona. He made a splendid continental reputation, and was well liked in the provinces. Was decorated by the Emperor of Russia. His last appearance in London was in August 1865, at the Haymarket, as Othello, to the Iago of Walter Montgomery.
5th September 1867 Write a few lines about Oscar Byrne, who died yesterday, aged seventy-one.
Appeared at a very early age in a ballet called Oscar, arranged by his father, a well-known dancer, a contemporary of Garrick, at Drury Lane, where for some years he remained the stock "Cupid." He then travelled in the United Kingdom and on the Continent. In 1850 joined the Princess's, under Charles Kean's management, for whom he arranged all the ballets and dances introduced into the Shakespearean revivals and the pantomimes. Subsequently was at Drury Lane under Falconer and Chatterton, and his last engagement was at Her Majesty's, November 1866.
September 1867 saddened much
by hearing of the death of my old
G. Tomlins, aged sixty-three; I shall greatly miss him.
23rd September 1867 Very sad, writing a tributary paragraph in memory of dear old Tomlins.
Frederick Guest Tomlins had been for many years connected with journalism, for, in January 1814, he criticised Edmund Kean's Shylock at Drury Lane. Was for some time acting editor and afterwards proprietor of Douglas Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper. Was political editor of The, Weekly Times, and wrote under the name of “Littlejohn". Was dramatic and then art critic to the Morning Advertiser, and was the author of the tragedy, " Garcia; or, The Noble Error, produced at Sadlers Wells, December, 1849. He was clerk to the Painter-Stainers Company, and died at his town residence, Painters Hall, Little Trinity Lane, City. He was buried at St. Peter's Church, Croydon.
19th October 1867. This week record the death of Avonia Jones
Avonia Jones, Mrs. G. V. Brooke, was born at Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A., in 1836. Was the daughter of George Jones, well known at the'Bowery Theatre from the year 1831. Avonia Jones made her debut in London at Drury Lane, November 5th, 1861, as Medea, and also played at the Adelphi and Surrey Theatres; she had made a good reputation in Australia. She died October 4th, 1867, in New York, of rapid consumption. She never completely recovered the sad loss of her husband in the London.
27th December 1867 Miss Foote (Dowager Countess of Harrington) dies, aged sixty-nine.
Maria Foote was descended from Samuel Foote the dramatist, and was born at Plymouth, June 1798. Her father originally in the army, became manager of the Plymouth Theatre, where she made her debut as Juliet, July 1810, and in 1814 as Amanthis in The Child of Nature at Covent Garden. Her parts were Maria Darlington in A Roland for an Oliver, Rebecca in Ivanhoe, Virginia and Miranda, and Letitia Hardy in the Belle's Strategem. Her only son Charles, Viscount Petersham, predeceased her; her daughter, Lady Jane St. Maur Blanche, married the Earl of Mount Charles. She married Charles, fourth Earl of Harrington, April 1831.
31st December 1867 Miss Sally Booth dies, aged seventy-six.
Was born at Birmingham in 1793, appeared when only eleven years old, at the Manchester Theatre under the elder Macready's Management as Duke of York and Prince Arthur. From thence she went to the Surrey under Elliston, and made her debut at Covent Garden, November 23rd, 1810, as Amanthus in The Child of Nature. Was the original Claudine in The Miller and His Men. Played Juliet and Cordelia. Was a member of most of the better London theatrical companies. Made her last appearance at the Marylebone in 1841 for the benefit of Mr. Attwood, when she played Kate O'Brien in Perfection, and Lisette in The Sergeant's Wife.
Charles John Kean was born January 18th 1811, at Waterford, in Ireland, and was the son of the celebrated Edmund Kean. He first went to school at Greenford near Harrow. In 1824 entered Eton as an oppidan. His teacher was the Rev. Mr. Chapman.
his first appearance as Young Norval in Douglas, at Drury Lane, October
1827. He was very coldly received, so he took to the provinces, and
success in Dublin and Glasgow. His first hit was in October 1829, at
Haymarket, as Sir Edward Mortimer in The Iron Chest. In September 1830
appeared at the Park Theatre, New York, as Richard III, and remained in
United States for two years.
The only time he acted in London with his father was on March 25th, 1833, at Covent Garden, when he played lago to his father's Othello, and to the Desdemona of Ellen Tree. Edmund Kean was so ill that he had to be led off the stage by his son after the third act, and never appeared again. He died May 15th, 1833.
After four years' persistent practice Charles Kean appeared under Alfred Bunn's management at Drury Lane, January 8th, 1838, as Hamlet, and from that time took the lead in the profession. He was paid at the rate of £50 a night for twenty nights.
He married Ellen Tree, January 29th, 1842, in Dublin, and on the day of their wedding they appeared together in The Honeymoon.
From part of 1845 to the summer of 1847 he was in America; then returned to the Haymarket in 1848. He was selected to conduct the royal performances at Windsor Castle. His mother died March 30th, 1849, at Horndean in Hampshire, where her son had established her in comfort for some years.
Charles Kean became joint manager with Keeley of the Princess's, September 28th, 1850. The partnership began with the play of Twelfth Night, and closed October 17th, 1851. Charles Kean was now sole manager, and prepared for those revivals which became so celebrated. The first production was King John, followed by Macbeth, Sardanapalus, Richard III, Louis XI, Henry VIII, Winter's Tale, Pizarro, Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard II, King Lear, Merchant of Venice, Henry V., Faust and Marguerite, Corsican Brothers, and Much Ado about Nothing. The closing night at the Princess's was Monday, August 29th, 1859, when he played Cardinal Wolsey to the Queen Catherine of Ellen Tree.
During his nine years' management at the Princess's he is said to have expended £400,000 in the production of plays. He then toured until January 28th, 1861, when he appeared at Drury Lane with Mrs. Kean, under E. T. Smith's management. The engagement was renewed the following year, and it was in March, 1862, that he was presented with a testimonial in the form of a silver vase, valued at two thousand guineas. In July 1863 the Keans sailed for Australia. They
took leave of the Melbourne stage April 20th, 1864, in Richard II, and The Jealous Wife; then visited California, the United States, and Canada, and reappeared at the Princess's, May 1866. On the 28th of the same month, at the new Prince of Wales's, Liverpool, Kean played Louis XI
It was his last appearance on the stage for on the 29th a medical certificate was issued stating that he must relinquish his profession for some considerable time. It was heart-disease from which he was suffering, and he never completely rallied. He was a good son, a good husband, and a good father. His acts of charity were numerous, but unostentatious; he raised the character of the stage, and did much for the welfare of those who at various times were members of his company, and was, in the best acceptation of the term, a gentleman. He was buried at Catherington, near Rowland's Castle Station, in Hampshire, in the same grave where reposed the remains of his mother. The esteem in which he and Mrs. Kean were held by Her Majesty was proved by the Queen writing to the widow a long letter of nearly five hundred words in her own hand, commencing, " My dear Mrs. Kean."
28th January 1868 Hear, to my great regret, that my old friend James H. Tully died this day.
At the time of his death he was the musical conductor at Drury Lane, and died from bronchitis. He first appeared, when about thirteen years of age, at the Surrey, with Henry Russell and others that have become famous, in a piece performed entirely by children. Later he joined Madame Vestris at the Olympic, where in 1833 he played and sang several small parts. His earliest composition, a comic opera founded on "Don Juan" was produced in 1833 at the Wilson Street private theatre, and from that time he began assiduously to compose.
For the Bower Saloon, in which he was associated with Phillips, he composed The Swiss Village and other operettas, but the speculation was a failure. Madame Vestris then engaged him at Covent Garden as chorus master. He afterwards filled the same position for Bunn at Drury Lane. His opera, The Forest Maiden, was a success at the Surrey. He was also the author of several burlesques produced at the Strand and Lyceum. He was buried at Brompton Cemetery.
Edward Peron Hingston was about fifty-three years of age at the time of his death. Was intended for the medical profession. As early as 1841 he began a literary career, and soon was recognized as a valuable contributor to magazines, one of which was Chambers’ London Journal, which in 1842 was edited by E. L. B. He was for a long time connected with, and was most useful in inventing various illusions for, Professor Anderson, " The Wizard of the North," and remained with him for several years, travelling all over Europe and America, until Anderson took Covent Garden Theatre in 1855.
When the theatre was burnt down Mr. Hingston again
accompanied the Professor to
Mr. Hingston was manager for Spiers & Pond at
Messrs. Spiers & Pond when they opened the Criterion Theatre, March 1874.
He had a complimentary benefit given to him at
8th February 1879.- Mrs. Naylor calls to tell me of the death of poor Henry Naylor, late prompter at the Vaudeville, and of old Rosherville memories
Sixty years of age when he died on
6th. He was pantaloon at Sadlers Wells