Jerrold, William Blanchard (DNB00)

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JERROLD, WILLIAM BLANCHARD (1826–1884), journalist and author, born in London on 23 Dec. 1826, was the eldest son of Douglas Jerrold [q. v.] After attending the Brompton grammar school and a school at Boulogne-sur-Mer, he joined the living-model class at the Royal Academy, his easel being next that of William Etty. At sixteen he illustrated a paper by his father, entitled ‘A Gossip at the Reculvers,’ in the ‘Illuminated Magazine’ for July 1843 (i. 143). But soon afterwards defective sight led him to abandon all thought of art as a profession. Devoting himself to literature, he wrote at nineteen in his father's ‘Weekly Newspaper’ a series of articles on emigration, under the title of ‘The Old Woman who lived in a Shoe.’ When the ‘Daily News’ was started in 1846 he contributed to it a succession of papers on ‘The Literature of the Poor.’ In 1848 he published his maiden work, ‘A Story of Social Distinction,’ 12mo (reissued as vol. clxxxvii. of the ‘Parlour Library’); in 1851 a ‘Guide to the first Great International Exhibition,’ 8vo; in 1852 a ‘Guide to the British Museum,’ 18mo; and in 1853 ‘The Threads of a Storm-sail,’ 8vo, an exposition of the advantages of life assurance. After travelling through Norway and Sweden during the autumn of 1853 as the Crystal Palace commissioner, he brought out in 1854 ‘A Brage Beaker with the Swedes, or Notes from the North,’ 8vo. In 1855 he went to Paris to describe the exhibition there for the ‘Daily News,’ the ‘Illustrated London News,’ and the ‘Athenæum.’ Thenceforward until the close of his life he was as much a Parisian as he was a Londoner, spending half of each year in the French and half in the English capital, and writing for English newspapers or in volume form a large number of papers on French politics and society. At Paris he came to know Gustave Doré, with whom he collaborated in several works, and was on good terms with Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie, whose régime he consistently defended.

As a playwright Jerrold achieved some distinction. On 24 March 1851 was produced at the Lyceum Theatre his successful farce ‘Cool as a Cucumber,’ which supplied Charles Mathews the younger, in Plumper, with one of his most delightful impersonations. On 11 April 1859 he brought out at the Lyceum Theatre his drama in two acts of ‘Beau Brummell the King of Calais.’ On 30 Nov. 1859 he produced at the St. James's Theatre his two-act drama the ‘Chatterbox,’ in which Mrs. Frank Matthews vivaciously played the title-rôle. His fourth and last contribution to the stage, a three-act comedy of ‘Cupid in Waiting,’ was performed for the first time at the Royalty Theatre on 17 July 1871.

On the death of his father in June 1857 Jerrold succeeded to the editorship of ‘Lloyd's Weekly London News,’ and worked hard on the paper until his death. In politics he was an ardent liberal, strenuously advocating the interests of the working classes. On the outbreak of the American civil war, he adopted from the first the cause of the north, and several of his leading articles in ‘Lloyd's’ were ordered by the American government, as the contest went on, to be placarded on the walls of New York. One of the last acts of his life was to found the English branch of the International Association for the Assimilation of Copyright Laws, of which he was president, and which led to his obtaining the palmes académiques, with the rank of officer of public instruction from the French government, besides receiving the knighthood of the order of Christ from the government of Portugal. Jerrold was writing the biography of his intimate co-worker, Gustave Doré, when, on 10 March 1884, he died, in his fifty-eighth year, at his residence in Victoria Street, Westminster. He was buried in Norwood cemetery. He married in 1849 Lillie, only daughter of his godfather, Samuel Laman Blanchard [q. v.]

Jerrold's chief work, completed between 1874 and 1882, was ‘The Life of Napoleon III, derived from State Records, from unpublished Family Correspondence, and from Personal Testimony, with Portraits and Facsimiles of Letters of Napoleon I, Napoleon III, and Queen Hortense,’ 4 vols. 8vo. The materials were confided to him by the widowed empress. It is an apology for the Second Empire throughout.

Jerrold obtained some reputation as a gourmet. He published in 1867 the ‘Epicure's Year-Book;’ and, under his assumed name of ‘Fin-Bec,’ two series in folio entitled ‘Knife and Fork,’ 1871, a gastronomic manual; ‘The Dinner Bell,’ 1878, 8vo; and ‘The Cupboard Papers,’ 1881, 8vo, a collection of contributions to ‘All the Year Round.’ His other works were:

  1. ‘The English Official Guide to the Exhibition,’ Paris, 1855, 12mo.
  2. ‘Imperial Paris,’ London, 1855, 8vo, papers originally contributed to ‘Household Words.’
  3. ‘The Story of the Legion of Honour,’ London, 1855, 8vo.
  4. ‘Life and Remains of Douglas Jerrold,’ London, 1859, 8vo.
  5. ‘The Chronicles of the Crutch,’ London, 1860, 8vo, a collection of papers on the sick poor in France, from ‘Household Words,’ the ‘Lancet,’ and the ‘Examiner.’
  6. ‘The French under Arms,’ London, 8vo.
  7. ‘The History of Industrial Exhibitions,’ London, 1862, 8vo, in 12 parts.
  8. ‘Two Lives,’ a novel, London, 1862, 2 vols. 8vo.
  9. ‘Up and Down in the World,’ a novel, London, 1863, 8vo, which quickly ran into a second edition.
  10. ‘Signals of Distress,’ London, 1863, 8vo, pp. 309, papers from the ‘Morning Post’ concerning refuges, homes of charity, and the like.
  11. ‘A Book for the Beach,’ London, 1863, 2 vols. 8vo, including ‘The Story of a Hero, by his Valet,’ the valet being Santini and the hero Napoleon at Saint Helena.
  12. ‘At Home in Paris, with a Trip through the Vineyards to Spain,’ London, 1864, 8vo, pp. 350.
  13. ‘The Children of Lutetia,’ London, 1864, 8vo, 2 vols., inscribed to the Empress Eugénie.
  14. ‘Passing the Time: a Story of some Romance and Prose in the Life of Arthur Newlands,’ a novel, London, 1865, 8vo, 2 vols.
  15. ‘On the Boulevards; or, Memorable Men and Things drawn on the spot, 1853–1866. Together with Trips to Normandy and Brittany,’ London, 1867, 2 vols. 8vo.
  16. ‘The Gavroche Party, being Literary Estimates,’ London, 1870, 8vo.
  17. ‘Story of Madge and the Fairy Content,’ London, 1870, 8vo.
  18. ‘Cent. per Cent.: a Story told upon a Bill Stamp,’ London, 1871; 3rd edition, 1874; a denunciation of London west-end bill-discounters, originally issued in the ‘Illustrated London News’ as ‘The Progress of a Bill.’
  19. ‘The Cockaynes in Paris, or Gone Abroad,’ London, 1871, 8vo, with sketches by Gustave Doré.
  20. ‘At Home in Paris: at Peace and at War,’ London, 1871, 2 vols. 8vo.
  21. ‘The Best of all Good Company,’ London, 1871–3, 8vo, in six parts, charming descriptions, with portraits and facsimiles of handwriting, of six imaginary days spent respectively with Dickens, Scott, Lytton, Disraeli, Thackeray, and Douglas Jerrold.
  22. ‘London,’ London, 1872, fol., letterpress for Doré's illustrations.
  23. ‘The Christian Vagabond,’ London, 1873, sm. 4to, an account of a religious vagrant, suggested partly by Montyon's ‘Bienfaiteur des Pauvres,’ partly by Dragonetti's ‘Traité des Vertus et des Récompenses,’ papers collected from the ‘Gentleman's Magazine.’
  24. ‘Black-eyed Susan's Boys,’ a novel, London, 1876, 8vo.
  25. ‘Egypt under Ismail Pacha,’ London, 1879, 8vo.
  26. ‘The Belgium of the East’ (meaning Egypt), London, 1882, 8vo.
  27. ‘The Life of George Cruikshank,’ London, 1882, 2 vols. 8vo. Jerrold also collected in 1870 ‘The Final Reliques of Father Prout.’

[Personal recollections; the present writer's biography of Jerrold in the Illustrated Review of March 1873, v. 268–73; Times, 11 March 1884; Men of the Time, 11th ed. 1884; Ann. Reg. 1884, p. 124.]

C. K.