Vizetelly, Henry (1820-94)
A remarkable Englishman, whose books are as charming for their illustrations as they are valuable for their accounts of wines in his time. A journalist and publisher, he later became the Paris correspondent for The Illustrated London News and lived in the city throughout the siege. However he also spent much time in the vineyards and in 1873 was appointed juror for Great Britain at the Vienna Exhibition, when he wrote his first book on wine. In 1876 he wrote Facts about Sherry; and in 1882/1 History of Champagne, a great achievement with exquisite illustrations. In 1880 came Facts about Port and Madeira; this, like his other books, was beautifully illustrated.
The latter part of his life was devoted to publishing and he was not only fined for one translation of Zola (described as ‘bestial obscentity’) but also, in 1887, he was sent to prison for 3 months for publishing an expurgated version of Zola’s works. Finally he wrote his autobiography. His wine writing is characterised by scrupulous attention to detail and admirable reporting: he never says that something Ms’ so if, in fact, somebody only ‘informed him that’. The drawings of details in winemaking and vine-growing are meticulous.