Jean Hugo was the great-grandson of Victor Hugo. A talented artist and theatre designer, he was a schoolboy at Elizabeth College in Guernsey and made later visits to the island, of which he was very fond, including attending the inauguration of Jean Boucher's celebrated statue of the poet in 1914. The Library has a signed copy of his autobiography, Le Regard de la mémoire, which he gave to Roger Martin, the curator of Hauteville House at the time of his visit in 1977; Roger Martin's ancestor was, coincidentally, one of Victor Hugo's 'poor children.' The photograph is courtesy of the Guernsey Press.
Georges Victor-Hugo (1868-1925) was the son of Victor Hugo’s eldest son, Charles, and the young Alice Lehaene, an orphan who had been under the guardianship of family friend and political activist Jules Simon. Hugo doted on Georges and his sister Jeanne and after the tragic and unexpected death of their father at the age of only 44 Hugo became their guardian and played a large part in their upbringing. They are the subject of his immensely popular poetry collection, L’Art d’être grand-père (1877). Georges was a genial man and a talented artist, who was fond of Guernsey and spent…
This account of the wreck of the Pourquoi Pas, an event greeted with immense dismay in Guernsey, where Commander Jean-Baptiste Charcot was a great favourite, was kindly written by Cédric Bail, assistant curator at Hauteville House, for the Priaulx Library 'Hauteville House and the Hugo family' exhibition of summer 2018. His original French text is included below.
Jean-Baptiste Charcot, ‘the Polar Gentleman.’ Doctor, sportsman, Olympic medallist, polar explorer, friend of Captain Scott, and husband of Victor Hugo's grand-daughter Jeanne, this admirable French hero reserved a special place for Guernsey.
Once a magnificent farm house with 15 bedrooms, made of the best blue granite, said to be haunted, the old house of the La Marche family in St Martin's saw highs and lows. Its story ended with demolition by the Occupying Forces in 1944, and the memory of the house itself and a reputed connection with Victor Hugo became shrouded in mystery. It is quite possible that Victor Hugo admired the house - he certainly would have admired its wonderful situation, and is quoted as saying (in the advertisement above from a 1915 tourist brochure), 'Live at Icart, live forever!,' but there is no evidence he ever set foot in it. His family, however, were indeed intimately connected with it.
Biography of Mrs Curtin, from the Gazette de Guernesey, May 1914
The Vimeira estate. An article from the Morning Advertiser, January 18, 1951, by Basil C de Guerin. From his Scrapbook K, p. 10 (Staff.)
Guernsey ghost: weird tale of a haunted house. From the Daily Express, March 31, 1903. Starring local eccentric and humanitarian, Victor Hugo's bookbinder, Harry Turner.
From Guernsey Life, June 1967, in the Library. 'Looking at Life,' by Michael Geraghty, concerning amongst other things an application for the transfer of a licence to run this well-known wine-bar and public house. The advertisment is from a 1934 tourist brochure in the Library collection.
The obituary of a learned and popular priest, who had spent 50 years in Guernsey. From The Guernsey Press, 16th December 1954. Anslem Bourde de la Rogerie was an erudite man who wrote learned articles on the history of the island. He gathered together invaluable information about Victor Hugo and the time he spent in Guernsey and published it in 1944 as Victor Hugo à Guernesey.