Le Petit Blondin

Le Petit Blondin

A carte-de-visite portrait of a child tightrope walker billed as ‘Le Petit Blondin,’ an attempt to piggyback on the fame and success of the great tightrope walker Francois Gravelet, known as Blondin.

According an advertisement for the Crystal Palace, ‘for the next five days of this week, LE PETIT BLONDIN, six years of age, the most astonishing Juvenile Rope Dancer, will display his wonderful feats daily at 4 o’clock’ (London City Press, 18 June 1864).

Numerous more advertisements appeared over the following twelve years. The last was placed in the London Evening Standard on 4 July 1876, at which time Le Petit Blondin was appearing once again at the Crystal Palace.

For several yeas he appeared with another child performer, supposedly his sister, who was billed as either Mademoiselle Blanche or La Petite Blanche. In May 1873 they were appearing at the Alhambra Palace. ‘Le Petit Blondin and La Petite Blanche on the corde elastique are the chief attraction here. They are deservedly cheered’ (The Era, 18 May 1873). One provincial newspaper gave a brief description of their act: ‘Le Petit Blondin turns sommersaults, fires pistols while in the act of turning, and runs to and fro on the rope with the agility of a cat, while the young lady (presumably his sister) also goes through a graceful and pleasing entertainment, which always wins the loudly expressed applause of her audience’ (Hull Packet, 16 May 1873).

Photographed by the London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company.


Code: 127462
© Paul Frecker 2022