1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Allan-Despréaux, Louise Rosalie

ALLAN-DESPRÉAUX, LOUISE ROSALIE (1810–1856), French actress, was “discovered” by Talma at Brussels in 1820, when she played Joas with him in Athalie. At his suggestion she changed her surname, Ross, for her mother’s maiden name, and, as Mlle. Despréaux, was engaged for children’s parts at the Comédie Française. At the same time she studied at the Conservatoire. By 1825 she had taken the second prize for comedy, and was engaged to play ingénue parts at the Comédie Française, where her first appearance in this capacity was as Jenny in L’Argent on the 8th of December 1826. In 1831 the director of the Gymnase succeeded in persuading her to join his company. Her six years at this theatre, during which she married Allan, an actor in the company, were a succession of triumphs. She was then engaged at the French theatre at St Petersburg. Returning to Paris, she brought with her, as Legouvé says, a thing she had unearthed, through a Russian translation, a little comedy never acted till she took it up, a production half-forgotten, and esteemed by those who knew it as a pleasing piece of work in the Marivaux style—Un Caprice by Alfred de Musset, which she had played with success in St Petersburg. Her selection of this piece for her reappearance at the Théâtre Française (1847) laid the corner-stone of Musset’s lasting fame as a dramatist. In the following year his comedy Il ne faut jurer de rien was acted at the same theatre, and thus led to the production of his finer plays. Among plays by other authors in which Mme. Allan won special laurels at the Théâtre Française, were Par droit de conquête, Péril en la demeure, La joie fait peur, and Lady Tartuffe. In the last, with a part of only fifty lines, and playing by the very side of the great Rachel, she yet held her own as an actress of the first rank. Mme. Allan died in Paris, in the height of her popularity, in March 1856.