BLANCHARD, William. 13785



Autograph Letter Signed, to I.Smith, Theatre Royal, Ipswich, wondering “whither I shall bend my steps”, now that the House is closed for the season, maybe Birmingham, certainly Liverpool. 1 page 9 x 7 inches, integral address leaf, folds, complete seal in red wax. 77 Long Acre, 30 June 1827. “… next week I intend passing quietly at home in the Bussum of my Family. If, after that, we can do anything together, ‘tis well. If not, no harm done.” William Blanchard (1769–1835), comedian. His first appearance in London was made at Covent Garden on 1 October 1800 as Bob Acres, in which he succeeded remarkably, and as Crack in the musical farce of the ‘Turnpike Gate.’ By the middle of his second season Mr. Harris cancelled the original arrangement for five years by re-engaging him for seven, with an increased salary. In certain classes of character he secured a position of recognised preeminence. Oxberry (p. 278) calls him ‘unquestionably the best drunken man on the stage.’ At Covent Garden Theatre, saving only for a brief professional visit to America in 1832, Blanchard remained continuously for thirty-four years. He was especially noted for his Shakespearian impersonations of Fluellen, Sir Hugh Evans, Menenius, and Polonius. According to Leigh Hunt, his best performance was the Marquis de Grand-Château in the musical toy show of the ‘Cabinet.’ Leigh Hunt also praises highly his Russett in Colman’s ‘The Jealous Wife.’ Similar testimony to his skill is borne by all the best dramatic critics of the time. The last character created by him was that of Counsellor Crowsfoot in Douglas Jerrold’s comedy of ‘Nell Gwynne,’ produced at Covent Garden Theatre on 9 January 1833, which was warmly spoken of in the ‘Athenæum,’ 12 January 1833.