NEWS OF THE WORLD PROPRIETOR/EDITOR
BELL, John William (Browne), (1807-1877), newspaper proprietor and solicitor. An oval daguerreotype (c.36 x 46mm) mounted in an oval brooch, in turn mounted within a moulded gilt oval frame (165 x 244mm) with red velvet and card window mounts. On the reverse is an old piece of brown backing paper with the following ink inscriptions: “Miniature set in gold of John William Browne Bell, solicitor, born 1807, died 1877” and below “Gr[eat] grandfather of St John Fancourt Bell born 12th Dec 1900. Son of George Fancourt Bell born 1874, died 1952”. Frame with shrinkage cracks and worn gilding, and oval card insert discoloured. Reverse of frame and paper backings showing wear and tear. Comes with a copy of John William Browne’s death certificate, resident of 7 Stanley Gardens, Kensington, 20th November 1877, with signature of informant H.C.Johnson, his sister in law of 59 Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush.
John William Bell was the son of newspaper proprietor John Browne Bell (1779-1855) founder in 1843 of the News of the World, whose father in turn had been a successful publisher and bookseller. By the time John William took over the News of the World as editor in chief (following his father’s death in 1855) the paper claimed to have the largest circulation in the world. Despite reducing the price of the paper to 2d, the removal of stamp duty in 1861 put great pressure on the News of the World being competitive with other Sunday newspapers who sold their papers at 1d. In response to the competition the paper was redefined under John William as a more upmarket Sunday newspaper, more work was put into attracting advertising revenue, and the paper did much aimed at attracting more female readers. Upon John William’s death in 1877 the ownership of the News of the World passed to his son Adolphus William Bell (1841-1903) who sold the paper to Henry Lascelles Carr in 1891.