Jarman, Frances Eleanor (DNB00)
|←Jarlath (fl.540)||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 29
Jarman, Frances Eleanor
JARMAN, FRANCES ELEANOR, subsequently Ternan (1803?–1873), actress, the daughter of John Jarman and Maria Mottershed, whose acting name before her marriage was Errington, is said to have been born in Hull in February 1803. Her mother, a member of Tate Wilkinson's company in York and an actress of merit, made her first appearance in Bath as Lady Lucretia Limber in ‘Policy,’ 10 Dec. 1814. In the same season the name of Miss Jarman appears on 23 May 1815 to the character of Edward, a child, in Mrs. Inchbald's ‘Everyone has his fault.’ Genest, who mentions Miss Jarman's name only in the cast, says ‘she acted very well.’ She had previously for her mother's benefit recited Southey's ‘Mary, the Maid of the Inn.’ Many juvenile parts, including the Duke of York, Myrtilla in the ‘Broken Sword,’ &c., succeeded. On 12 Dec. 1817 she was Bellario in ‘Philaster,’ and ‘acted very prettily,’ according to Genest, who adds that she was still very young and ‘the part was rather too much for her.’ Agnes in the ‘Orphan of the Castle’ followed on 7 Nov. 1818, Selina in the ‘Tale of Mystery’ on 12 Dec., and Betsey Blossom in the ‘Deaf Lover’ on 6 Jan. 1819. During this and following seasons she played among other parts Cicely Copsley in ‘The Will,’ Miss Neville in ‘Know your own mind,’ Juba in ‘The Prize,’ Orasmyn in ‘The Æthiop,’ Perdita, Marchesa Aldabella in ‘Fazio,’ Lady Grace in the ‘Provoked Husband,’ Jacintha in the ‘Suspicious Husband,’ Jeanie Deans, Tarquinia in ‘Brutus,’ Statira in ‘Alexander the Great’ (to the Alexander of Kean), Lady Teazle for her benefit, Geraldine in the ‘Foundling of the Forest,’ Rebecca in ‘Ivanhoe,’ Miranda, Julia in ‘The Rivals,’ Ophelia, Juliet, Louison in ‘Henri Quatre,’ Cordelia to the Lear of Young, Virginia, Mrs. Hardcastle, and Cherry in the ‘Beaux' Stratagem.’ During the season of 1820–1 she was ill, which fact, Genest says, ‘cast a damp on several plays,’ and she only recommenced to act for her and her mother's benefit on 19 March 1821, when she played Violante in ‘The Wonder’ and Fiametta in the ‘Tale of Mystery.’ In the following season she was quite recovered, and added to her repertory Amy Robsart in ‘Kenilworth,’ Sophia in the ‘Road to Ruin,’ Letitia Hardy, Julia in ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona,’ and was the original Lady Constance Dudley in Dr. Ainslie's ‘Clemenza, or the Tuscan Orphan,’ 1 June 1822. On 20 Oct. 1822 she made, under Harris of Drury Lane, as Letitia Hardy in the ‘Belle's Stratagem,’ her first appearance at Crow Street Theatre, Dublin. She is said to have possessed a pleasing and expressive countenance, a graceful and dignified carriage, and a voice remarkable for its sweetness and exquisite modulation. She was a good singer, and sprang into immediate popularity. She acted in various Irish towns, and had a narrow escape from an abduction. On 7 Feb. 1827, as Juliet to the Romeo of C. Kemble, she made at Covent Garden her first appearance in London. So disabled by nervousness was she that her performance was almost a failure. Lady Townley, Mrs. Oakly, Mrs. Beverley in ‘The Gamester,’ and Juliana in ‘The Honeymoon’ followed, and did little to enhance her reputation. The critic of the ‘New Monthly Magazine,’ presumably Talfourd, devotes two columns to her performance of Juliet, Lady Townley, and Mrs. Beverley, praises her appearance, notes an absence of provincialisms and mannerisms, and calls her in tragedy picturesque rather than passionate. As Imogen, 10 May 1827, which proved her best tragic character, she advanced in public favour. On 22 May 1827 she was the original Alice in Lacy's adaptation, ‘Love and Reason.’ In the following seasons she was seen as Lady Amaranth in ‘Wild Oats,’ Desdemona, Beatrice, Belvidera in ‘Venice Preserved,’ Leonora in ‘The Revenge,’ Portia, Lady Anne in ‘Richard III,’ Camilla in ‘Foscari,’ Perdita, Isabella, Fanny in the ‘Clandestine Marriage,’ Lydia Languish, Mrs. Haller, and Mrs. Sullen, and enacted original characters in various now-forgotten plays. As Amadis in Dimond's ‘Nymph of the Grotto,’ 15 Jan. 1829, she made a success such as induced Madame Vestris, by whom the part had been refused, vainly to reclaim it.
Miss Jarman's first appearance in Edinburgh took place on 3 Nov. 1829 as Juliana in ‘The Honeymoon.’ She was, in Scotland, the original Isabella in Scott's ‘House of Aspen,’ 17 Dec. 1829, and also played Desdemona and other parts. By Edinburgh literary society she was well received. Christopher North, in the ‘Noctes Ambrosianæ,’ besides praising her acting, says that she was ‘altogether a lady in private life.’ In Edinburgh she met Ternan, an actor ‘forcible rather than finished,’ a native of Dublin, who in 1833 had played in Dublin Shylock and Rob Roy. She married him on 21 Sept. 1834, and the following day started with him for America. In the course of a three years' tour she visited with success the principal cities from Quebec to Mobile. She afterwards played in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Liverpool, Dublin, and Birmingham, and was engaged in 1837–8 by Bunn for Drury Lane. In 1843 she was with her husband in Dublin. In October 1855 she played at the Princess's Paulina in Charles Kean's revival of the ‘Winter's Tale,’ and soon afterwards took part, with Charles Dickens and other literary celebrities, in the representation at Manchester, in the Corn Exchange, of the ‘Frozen Deep’ of Wilkie Collins. After quitting the stage about 1857–8 she returned to it again in 1866 to take the part of blind Alice in the representation by Fechter at the Lyceum of the ‘Bride of Lammermoor.’ She died at Oxford in the house of one of her married daughters in October 1873. More than one of her daughters obtained reputation as actress or vocalist. On 10 June 1829, for Miss Jarman's benefit, a sister, Miss Louisa Jarman, made, as Eglantine in the ‘Nymph of the Grotto,’ her first appearance.
[Information from private sources; Oxberry's Dramatic Biography, new ser. vol. i.; Actors by Daylight; Genest's Account of the Stage; Dibdin's Hist. of the Edinburgh Stage; Hist. of the Theatre Royal, Dublin, 1870; Forster's Life of Dickens.]