Blondin had thrilled American audiences in the summers of 1859 and 1860 with his performances at Niagara Falls. In the autumn of 1860 he also performed numerous times in New York City.
As the United States entered the Civil War in the spring of 1861, the nation was no longer in the mood for Blondin's performances. He returned to Europe, and boosted by his fame from Niagara Falls, he drew enormous crowds on the continent and in Britain.
In 1861 and 1862 he performed at the Crystal Palace, the building originally constructed for the Great Exhibition of 1851. In this illustration he is depicted at the Crystal Palace, standing beside his coiled tightrope.
Blondin later returned to the United States and continued to perform fairly regularly until his death in England in 1897.
He was always best remembered for his famous crossing of the Niagara River.