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JEAN BAPTISTE GUSTAVE PLANCHE (1808–1...

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Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 713 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JEAN BAPTISTE GUSTAVE PLANCHE (1808–1857), French critic, was born in Paris on the 16th of February 18o8. Intro-duced by Alfred de Vigny to Francois Buloz, he began to write for the Revue des deux mondes, and continued to do so until 184o. He resumed his connexion with the journal in 1846 and contributed to it until his death in Paris on the 18th of September 18J7. Gustave Planche was an altogether honest critic and refused to accept a place from Napoleon III. for fear of compromising his freedom. He was in early life a fervent admirer of George Sand, and he lavished praise on De Vigny. But he had nothing but scorn for Victor Hugo, whose earlier dramas he characterized as odes, those following Le Roi s'amuse as anti-theses, and the later ones as nothing but spectacle. His critical papers were collected under the titles: Portraits litteraires (1836–1849); Nouveaux portraits litteraires (1854); and art criticisms, Etudes sur l'ecole francaise (1855). See Ernest Montegut, in the Revue des deux mondes (June 1858); February 1996, the son of a watchmaker of Huguenot descent. In 1810 he was articled to a bookseller. In 1818 his first dramatic piece, a burlesque entitled Amoroso, King of Little Britain, was produced at Drury Lane theatre. From this time onwards he made play-writing his principal work. In 1820–1821 he wrote ten pieces for the Adelphi theatre. In 1823 he designed the dresses for Charles Kemble's revival of King John at Covent Garden, and superintended its production. This was the first time that an historical drama had been " dressed " in the costume of the period. In 1828 he began writing regularly for Covent Garden theatre, and in 1830 was manager of the Adelphi. On Mme Vestris taking the Olympic theatre in 1831, Planche entered into an agreement with her to write a series of plays. The first of these, Olympic Revels, a burlesque, was given on the opening night of the theatre, the performance being given in correct classical costume. In 1843 his Fair One with the Golden Locks was produced by Webster at the Haymarket. In 1847 Mme Vestris became manageress of the Lyceum theatre, and Planche was engaged as her leading author and designer, his principal success being the Island of Jewels (1849). Subsequently he wrote for a number of other managements, his last dramatic piece being King Christmas (1871), but he also wrote the songs for Babil and Bijou at Covent Garden (1872). In addition to his dramatic work Planche enjoyed a considerable reputation as an antiquary and heraldic student. He was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and aided in the foundation of the British Archaeological Association in 1843. In 1834 he published The History of British Costumes. In 1854 he was appointed Rouge Croix pursuivant of arms at the Heralds' College, and in 1866 Somerset herald. In 1869, at the request of the War Office, he arranged the collection of armour at the Tower of London in chronological order. He died at Chelsea on the 3oth of May 1880. Planche's Recollections and Reflections were published in 1872.
End of Article: JEAN BAPTISTE GUSTAVE PLANCHE (1808–1857)
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