Jennifer Carnell

An engraving of George Augustus Sala from 1859.

George Augustus Sala was a journalist, artist, editor and a talented cook. He was a friend of Mary Braddon's for many years and was the first editor of Temple Bar magazine.


This letter is Sala's reply to a collector of celebrity autographs and photographs in 1868. Sala claimed to be horrified at the idea of the Public being able to acquire carte de visites of their favourites, but he must have got over this shyness, as most of his later books (and even the 1859 edition of Twice Round the Clock) have a frontis portrait of the author. Despite his 'earnest' hope, the collector was able to triumphantly paste a photo of him at the end of the letter.

Reform Club: Pall Mall. London
Sixth January 1868

Dear Madam
I never for one moment intended either to "take you down", or "make you appear small", and if I have unwittingly done so I tender you my very humble apologies.

With regard to your practice of affixing photographs to the autographs in your book - a practice sufficient to raise a cold shudder in the properly constituted mind - I beg to observe that I have always endeavoured to keep out of circulation any photographs which may have been taken of myself, and that I earnestly trust you will not be able to obtain any portrait of me.

I do not recognise any right on the part of the public to enquire into the habits, manners, or personal appearance of an author. He publishes a book, and the public may have it or let it alone precisely as the public choose. There is no obligation conferred: nor, very often, is there any benefit derived on either part. If the writer puts his name to his book, instead of publishing it anonymously, he does so merely on the principle of a trader who affixes a trade-mark to his wares, as in the instance of Kirby's Needles or Bass's Pale Ale; but ? and ? are not thereby called upon to ? cartes de visites of Mr. Kirby or Mr. Bass.

Very faithfully yours
G.A. Sala


George Augustus Sala by Alfred Thompson in 1868.

George Augustus Sala wearing a fur coat in 1884.

A photograph of George Augustus Sala taken in about 1894.


How I Tamed Mrs Cruiser published in London by James Blackwood and illustrated by Phiz. A volume in the Blackwood's London Library series and, according to Sadleir, published as a yellowback in 1858 or 1859.

Accepted Addresses, published by Tinsley Brothers in 1862.

Robson: A Sketch published by Hotton in 1864). A paperback written by Sala on the death of the actor Frederick Robson, known as Robson of the Olympic. The front cover shows him in the role of Jem Bags.

Twice Round the Clock; Or, The Hours of the Day and Night in London.
Paperback or yellowback reprint edition published by John and Robert Maxwell in 1878.
An edition priced at half a crown.
This copy belonged to the book collector J. Maundy Gregory (Arthur Maundy Gregory) - a former spy, best remembered today as the first (and only so far) person to be prosecuted for selling peerages.
Internally the book is exactly the same as earlier and later editions, and contains the illustrations by William M'Connell.

Echoes of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Eighty Three published by Remington & Co. in 1884

Things I Have Seen and People I Have Known published by Cassell in 1894.

The Thorough Good Cook: A Series of Chats on the Culinary Art and Nine Hundred Recipes, published by Cassell in 1895.

The Literary Lives of Mary Elizabeth Braddon by Jennifer Carnell (Biography)



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