Page 6 - The 16th Percy French Festival: Our Great Disconnect
P. 6

audience, which can best be summed up as Ireland’s ‘polite soci ety’: the upper
           middle classes and the landed class. Unfortunately we don’t know the circulation
           f gures for The Jarvey, but it seems that it struggled to gain a wide readership.
           According to French, ‘We started with no capital whatso ever, and the idea was to
           pay the artists and writers out of the prof ts of the f rst month. At the end of the f rst
           month there were no prof ts, at the end of the second month there were no writers
                                                                 7
           or artists–except my very great friends, Dick Orpen and Eddy Radclif e’.  Two years
           after The Jarvey ceased publi cation, French explained why he thought the news paper
           failed: these inclu ded the title itself, which he felt ‘was not a good one’, and he also
           stated that ‘we had barriers of preju dice to beat down’. He felt that a comic paper in
           Dublin was doomed to fail because ‘it is impossible to get it properly pushed. Local
                                                                          8
           shopkeepers much prefer induc ing their customers to buy a London publication’.

           Nevertheless, French made a game ef ort
           to not only keep The Jarvey af oat but also
           to popularise it. This included run ning

           sev eral prize competitions for readers,
           with win ners receiving 10s. for the best joke
           or best humorous pen and ink sketch sub -

           mit ted. The longest-run ning contest was a
           weekly picture con un drum compe ti tion, in
           which readers had to correctly guess the
           caption which summed up each draw ing’s
                  9
           con tents.  In another comp e ti tion readers
           could nomin ate whom they consid ered to
           be the f ve best-looking women in Ireland.
           The most popular choice, Miss Armytage-
           Moore, was either Priscilla Cecilia, the future
           Countess of Annesley, or her sister, Ethel
           Kathleen (Ettie), whom Percy French mar -
           ried in June 1890. A happy coin cidence
           or possible ‘f x’: it’s impossible to say!

           To try to further broaden the newspaper’s
           appeal French also started a ladies’ column
           on 26th January 1889. The f rst of these,
           unimag inatively headed ‘The Ladies’
           Column’, was run by ‘Mary Maguire’. Later
           versions had dif erent titles and were run
           by dif er ent writers, includ ing ‘Our Ladies’


           above Illus. 2.   The Jarvey kiosk on South George’s Street, Dublin.  Advertisement in The Jarvey, 7th September 1889.
                              facing Illus. 2.  Advertisement for a Jarvey Concert to be in held Cork in May 1889.



     •4•                                       THE PERCY FRENCH FESTIVAL 2024
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11