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Henry Vizetelly (1820 - 1894)

RA Collection: People and Organisations

Publisher and writer. Son of the printer James Henry Vizetelly (1790-1838) and brother of Frank Vizetelly (1830-1883) and James Thomas Vizetelly (1817-1897). He was early apprenticed as wood engraver.

In 1843, with his brother James Thomas Vizetelly and Andrew Spottiswoode (1787–1866), he started the publications Pictorial Times. In 1855, in partnership with the bookseller David Bogue (1812-1856), he started a three-penny paper called the Illustrated Times, which four years later was merged in the Penny Illustrated Paper.

Vizetelly wrote several books while working in Paris and Berlin as correspondent for the Illustrated London News, and in 1887 founded a publishing house in London, Vizetelly and Company.

In 1865 Henry took up the post of Paris correspondent with the Illustrated London News, and spent the following six years in France. He continued to publish throughout this period.

Henry returned to London, where his publishing activities focussed on translations of French authors such as Flaubert, Droz, Daudet, Cherbuliez, and Hugo. In 1884, Henry began to publish translations of the works of Emile Zola, which proved popular with the public. In 1888, the literal translation of graphic scenes in Zola’s La Terre ( The Soil) led to prosecution for obscene libel, which was fined. Vizetelly, undeterred, reissued Zola’s works the following year and was imprisoned for three months.


Born: 30 July 1820 in London

Died: 1 January 1894

Nationality: British

Gender: Male

Associated books

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