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Blanchard, William

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Born at York on 2 January 1769, he was orphaned at a young age and was cared for by his uncle William Blanchard, publisher of the “York Chronicle”. He joined a company of strollers, playing under the name of Bentley for four years as he acted in various provincial theatres. His first London appearance was on 1 October 1800 at Covent Garden Theatre, playing Bob Acres in “The Rivals”. Blanchard’s talent secured him a long engagement and higher salary, and a position of recognised eminence in the Covent Garden company. Except for a brief visit to America in 1832, he remained for many years at Covent Garden until his death. The critics wrote warmly of many of his characterizations and especially praised his portrayals of Polonius, Fluellen, Pistol and Sir Andrew Aguecheck. Among the best pictures of him are De Wilde’s portrait as the Marquis de Grand Château (G0073) and Clint’s scene for “Love, Law, and Physic” (G0477). De Wilde also pictured him as Andrew Aguecheek and Ralph in “The Maid of the Mill” (see Burnim and Highfill, “John Bell”). Blanchard’s last character was Counsellor Crowsfoot in Jerrold’s comedy “Nell Gwynne” at Covent Garden on 9 January 1833. He died on 8 May 1835, at age 66, and was buried in the graveyard of St Luke’s, Chelsea.
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