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Nellie Souray, who in 1910 married Viscount Torrington

January 27, 2013

Eleanor (Nellie) Souray (1880-1931),
English actress (photo: probably Bassano, London, circa 1902)

This real photograph cigarette card of the English actress Eleanor Souray was issued in England about 1902 as no. B 180 in Ogden’s Guinea Gold New Series 1.

Eleanor Souray’s modest theatrical career, which endured for less than a decade, began in 1899 as an extra in Sydney Grundy’s play, The Black Tulip (Haymarket, London, 28 October 1899), starring Cyril Maude and Winifred Emery. She was next seen as one of Bluebeard’s Wives in the pantomime Blue Beard (Drury Lane, London, 26 December 1901), starring Dan Leno, Herbert Campbell, Elaine Ravensburg and Madge Girdlestone. She subsequently appeared as Mabel Macdonald in the musical play, The Girl from Kay’s (Apollo, London, 15 November 1902), starring Louis Bradfield, Aubrey Fitzgerald, Willie Edouin, Letty Lind, Ella Snyder and Ethel Irving. Miss Souray then became a member of the cast of the first production of J.M. Barrie’s play, The Admirable Crichton (Duke of York’s, London, 4 November 1902), succeeding Sybil Carlisle in the part of Lady Catherine Lasenby. Afterwards she appeared as Lady Brabasham in the musical play, The Blue Moon (Lyric, London, 28 August 1905), in a cast headed by Courtice Pounds, Fred Allandale, Walter Passmore, Willie Edouin, Florence Smithson, Billie Burke and Carrie Moore. Miss Souray’s final London appearance was as Dioné in the comic opera, Les Merveilleuses, which was produced at Daly’s on 27 October 1906, starring Robert Evett and Evie Greene.

Miss Souray was also engaged in several touring productions, one of which was in 1904 with H.B. Irving and Irene Vanbrugh in A.W. Pinero’s play, Letty.

* * * * * * * * * *

On 29 September 1910 Eleanor Souray was married in Paris to George Byng, 9th Viscount Torrington, from whom she obtained a divorce in 1921. In 1924 Lady Torrington published Over the Garden Wall; a story of racing and romance (Hutchinson & Co). She died by suicide on 8 December 1931.

Eleanor Souray

Eleanor Souray as Dioné in
Les Merveilleuses, Daly’s, London, 27 October 1906
(photo: Rita Martin, London, 1906)

‘A marriage that attracted much attention in England and Europe was that of Viscount Torrington, a descendant of Admiral Sir George Byng, and Eleanor Souray, and English actress. The wedding took place in Paris, and was celebrated in the presence of relatives of both persons. Tod Sloan the former jockey, also was a witness of the ceremony. The friendship of the couple started through their mutual interest in horse racing. Both own strings of horses, and they have pitted their horses against each other on all the famous tracks in England and France. Lady Torrington is tall, graceful, a clever horsewoman who rides astride, an excellent shot, a clever golfer, and fond of outdoor sports generally. She met Lord Torrington last summer at Ostend. He inherited his title when 3 years old. He has abundant wealth, is a keen sportsman, fond of motoring and riding. The couple will spend the winter hunting in England. Next summer they will be at the racing centers, where they will take a house near the training stables.’
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, 12 October 1910, p.7e)

‘London, Feb. 25 [1911] … The Viscountess Torrington is making desperate efforts to break into the select set of the peerage, and to that end is contemplating leaving the turf for the more aspiring pursuit of aviation. Last October Lady Torrington, who was then Miss Eleanor Souray, one of [George] Edward[e]s’ show girls, met the young viscount – he is only 23 – by accident in the paddock at Epson, when her horse Darrars, a 9 to 1 shot, won over Torrington’s Abelard Second, the favorite. The courtship was of the wildfire variety, and they were married a few days after the meeting.
‘Their happiness has been the subject of much comment, as the match was considered ideal, both having a common interest amounting to a passion in racing. Lady Torrington, both before and after her marriage, has had a strong love of race horses. She contested many events, both at home and abroad, with conspicuous success. But now she has apparently abandoned these and a few days ago made a splendid flight over Salisbury plain with M. Tetard in his biplane.
‘She is so enthusiastic over her new pursuit that her friends intimate that it is her intention to sell out her stables. The marquis, however, frowns on aviation, and the mutuality of their pursuits seems on the point of breaking.’
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Sunday, 26 February 1911, p.13b.)

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