Archive for May, 2013

h1

The Royal Hand Bell Ringers and Glee Singers

May 27, 2013

The Royal Hand-Bell Ringers and Glee Singers (fl. 1868-1902), English campanologists, in the costume of the time of Edward IV, circa 1470
(cabinet photo; Elliott & Fry, London, probably 1887)

The Royal Hand-Bell Ringers was the brainchild of Charles J. Havart, secretary to the Poland Street Young Men’s Teetotal Society, Soho, London, who recruited Duncan Septimus Miller (1839-1906), who since boyhood had been an enthusiastic hand-bell ringer. Under the name of the Poland Street Hand-Bell Ringers, they made their first appearance in 1866.

Miller stands at the centre of the above photograph; he is surrounded by his colleagues, J.H. Williams, A. Berridge, and two of C.J. Havart’s sons, Walter John Havart (1844-1904), a former warehouseman, and Henry Havart (1846-1905), a former woollen draper’s assistant. While Miller and the Havart brothers were permanent members of The Royal Hand-Bell Ringers, others joined and left over the years, the unusual number being five.

Osborne, Isle of Wight, Thursday, 14 April 1870
‘TEMPERANCE HAND-BELL RINGERS AT OSBORNE. Mr. Duncan S. Miller and his friend, who have, for the benefit of various philanthropic institutions, given a great number of entertainments in London and the provinces on their 50 hand-bells, attended at Osborne yesterday, in obedience to her Majesty’s command. They are to be at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on Tuesday next to illustrate a lecture by Mr. Spurgeon on the subject of ”Bells,” when Mr. Thomas Hughes, M.P., is to preside.’
(The Morning Post, London, Friday, 15 April 1870, p. 5f)

‘GREAT INTERNATIONAL TEMPERANCE EXHIBITION.
‘Under the patronage of the Right Hon. the Earl of Shaftesbury, K.G., the Right Hon. the Lord Mayor, M.P., and many others.
‘The first ever held in any country, Agricultural-hall, Islington.
‘Soda water, ice making, cocoa and coffee machinery in motion, new novel beverages.
‘Floral arcade and fountains, drum and fife band, organ recitals, Royal Hand Bell Ringers, in the evening.
‘Admission 1s.; evening 6d. Open from 10 to 10.’
(The Times, London, Tuesday, 23 August 1881, p. 1b, advertisement)

‘AS BEFORE the CZAR and CZARINA, the King and Queen of DENMARK, T.R.H. the Prince and Princess of WALES, at Fresdensborg Castle last September, the ROYAL HAND BELL RINGERS and GLEE SINGERS for Garden Parties, at Homes, Receptions, &c., in brilliant Old English Costumes. Programme submitted by DUNCAN S. MILLER, Conductor, 16, The Terrace, Kennington-park, S.E.’
(The Morning Post, London, Monday, 28 May 1888, p. 4 d)

‘THE ROYAL HAND-BELL RINGERS and CONCERT PARTY, Duncan S. Miller’s original, and by far the most proficient party. The bells are manipulated to produce a melodious and charming softness for the drawing room or an effective fortzando [sic] suitable for the garden. Five performers. Costume temp. ”Queen Bess.” Write for programme of special music and Jubilee Chimes to Secretary, 17, Kennington-terrace, S.E. Accept no others.’
(The Times, London, Tuesday, 15 June 1897, p. 1c, advertisement)

‘THE ROYAL HAND BELL-RINGERS.
‘Last evening the above clever company of hand bell ringers, consisting of Mr. Duncan S. Miller, the conductor, Mr. Havart, Mr. W.J. Havart, Mr. A. Berridge and Mr. G. Kendall opened a three nights’ visit at St. Julian’s Hall. Notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather the attendance was large. After a few introductory remarks from Mr. Miller the performance commenced with a number of selections on the handbells which were beautifully played. Amongst these were ”The Huntsman’s chorus, Der Freischuitz,” ”Memories of Elsinore,” and ”The village bells and chimes, introducing several hymn tunes.” These were very warmly applauded. During the first part four of the bell-ringers, accompanied on the pianoforte by the firth, sang the old Georgian glee, ”The tinker,” in capital style. Mr. George Kendall, who has a most pleasing voice, sang the humorous song ”The human hand.’
(The Star, St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Tuesday, 6 February 1900, p. 2d)

For further information, see, Clifford B. Anderson, ‘The Vampire Squid: Abraham Kuyper on Public Entertainment,’ Gordon Graham, editor, The Kuyper Center Review, vol. III, ‘Calvinism and Culture,’ Michigan, 2013.

h1

Mary Godsall

May 26, 2013

Mary Godsall (1844-1922), English actress, as she appeared as Meenie during the run of Dion Boucicault’s dramatization of Rip Van Winkle at the Adelphi Theatre, London, first produced there on 4 September 1865, with Joseph Jefferson in the title role
(Window & Bridge’s patent Diamond Cameo Portrait carte de visite, photos: Adolphe Beau, London, 1865)

The Cabinet Theatre, London, Wednesday, ‘The little building in Liverpool-street, King’s cross, which was formerly used as a lecture hall, &c., has been fitted up and licensed under the above name for dramatic performances by Mr. J. Dryden. On Wednesday night last was played a new drama by Mr. G. Wood in three acts, entitled The Sisters; or, The Rovers of Salee. both the piece and the acting were below the range of criticism of any kind. The most ordinary knowledge of the English language on the part of the author must have sufficed to have shown him the absurdity of the combinations of words in which the piece abounds. Anything more absolutely ridiculous and farcical than the parts intended to be serious it would not be easy to imagine. The repetition of the sentences by the actors and actresses, of whom there was a long list, was quite as bad, or worse, than the matter, in those cases where they knew what they had to say, which was a very rare occurrence. Consequently the stage was continually kept ”waiting.” We left at the close of the second act, when, after a ”wait” of longer duration than usual, the curtain descended on the emotional, impromptu exclamation of a father to the two sisters, ”Well, come my dears, we’ll be off.” It is just possible that with training and education Mr. Bingley and Miss Mary Godsall might learn to make a passable use of what natural qualifications they possess. The others have none… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 13 March 1864, p. 10c)

F.C. Burnand’s English version of La Belle Hélène, produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 30 June 1866
‘Miss Godsall’s beauty of feature and remarkable grace of movement and expression make Glauce a very attractive personage.’

‘MISS GODSALL, of the Theatres Royal, St. James’s, and Adelphi, London, and New Prince of Wales and Theatre Royal, Liverpool, will be Disengaged at Easter, and will be happy to treat with responsible managers for Juvenile and Burlesque Business. Address, 98, Brownlow-hill, Liverpool.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 31 March 1867, p. 1b)

From 1867 little or nothing appears to have come Mary Godsall’s way in the form of theatrical engagements. Instead she seems to have pursued a career as an artist, describing herself in the 1901 Census as an ‘artist, painter, sculptor.’ Long before that, however, she was commissioned by the British Museum to make drawings of certain ancient Roman coins in the Department of Coins and Medals, which were published as Autotypes in 1874. Miss Godsall’s painting entitled ‘Jacqueline,’ ‘a pretty, bright-eyed girl, in blue-trimmed mob cap’ was shown at the Dudley Gallery Exhibition, London, in 1877. (The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 3 February 1877, p. 118b). And at The Royal Academy Exhibition, London, 1879, ‘… Of the rank and file whose works seem especially worthy of notice we may mention ”Cinderella” (668), [by] Mary Godsall.’ (Nottinghamshire Guardian, London, Friday, 16 May 1879, p. 7c). This watercolour, wrote The Portfolio: An Artistic Periodical, ‘is tender in colour, the deep old-fashioned hearth, with its crouching figure of the melancholy maiden, make a charming picture.’ Another of her paintings, a ‘lifesize half-length of a little girl,’ was shown at the Dudley Gallery in 1880. (The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 28 February 1880, p. 203b).

On 24 October 1880, at St. Barnabas’s Church, Pimlico, London, Mary Godsall was married by the Bishop of North Queensland to Robert Christison (1837-1915), a native of Scotland, who had gone to Australia at the age of 15. The couple were together in Australia from about 1883 to 1887 but Mary disliked the country so much that she returned to England with their three surviving children (two girls and a boy) and subsequently enrolled to study with Charles Augustus C. Lasar (1856-1936) in Paris, who had opened his studio for students in 1886. Mr Christison finally returned to England permanently in 1910; he died at Foulden, Scotland, in 1915. For reasons unknown, Mary Christison returned to Australia where she died of heart failure on 14 November 1922 (The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, Tuesday, 14 November 1922, p.8).

A photograph of Mary Christison and her three children, taken in the late 1880s, is in the John Oxley Library at the State Library of Queensland.

h1

May 25, 2013

Dorothy Vane (née Gertrude Amy Mackenzie,1870-1947), English actress and singer in the role of Pitti-Sing in a D’Oyly Carte touring production of The Mikado, mid 1890s
(photo: unknown, mid 1890s)

This real photograph cigarette card of Dorothy Vane in the role of Pitti-Sing in a D’Oyly Carte touring production of The Mikado was issued in England about 1900 with Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes.

h1

Dorothy Vane as Pitti-Sing in a D’Oyly Carte touring production of The Mikado, mid 1890s

May 25, 2013

Dorothy Vane (née Gertrude Amy Mackenzie,1870-1947), English actress and singer in the role of Pitti-Sing in a D’Oyly Carte touring production of The Mikado, mid 1890s
(photo: unknown, mid 1890s)

This real photograph cigarette card of Dorothy Vane in the role of Pitti-Sing in a D’Oyly Carte touring production of The Mikado was issued in England about 1900 with Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes.

h1

Dorothy Vane

May 25, 2013

Dorothy Vane (née Gertrude Amy Mackenzie,1870-1947), English actress and singer in the role of Pitti-Sing in a D’Oyly Carte touring production of The Mikado, mid 1890s
(photo: unknown, mid 1890s)

This real photograph cigarette card of Dorothy Vane in the role of Pitti-Sing in a D’Oyly Carte touring production of The Mikado was issued in England about 1900 with Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes.

h1

Anna Hiles

May 25, 2013

Anna Hiles (fl. 1857-1875), English soprano, as she appeared in the title role of William Vincent Wallace’s opera Maritana at Covent Garden Theatre, London, 13 December 1862
(carte de visite photo: published by T.H. Lacy, 89 Strand, London, probably 1862)

ROYAL ENGLISH OPERA.
‘Mr. W. Wallace’s ”Maritana,” one of the ”stock” works of the Royal English Opera, has been performed so often this season that it would scarcely seem to be a subject for criticism, especially as the same performers are constantly appearing in the same parts. The racy humour of Mr. W. Harrison, as Don Caesar de Basan; the manly vigour, softened by courtly grace, of Mr. W.H. Weiss, who so ably represents Don José; the musicianly skill and histrionic talent displayed by Miss Susan Pyne as Lazarillo; the promising talent of Mr. Patey as exemplified by his clever singing in the arduous and somewhat ”uphill” part of the King, are all perfectly well known and justly appreciated by the public. But from time to time the ”cast,” so far as regards the principal female character, is altered.
‘Miss Louisa Pyne, with her lovely voice and surpassing artistic powers, plays the famous Gitana, we need not say, to the delight of the public. The accomplished Madlle. Parepa, with her rare physical gifts and genuine dramatic feeling, assumes the same character to the complete satisfaction of her audience. But the changes are not limited to the alternate display of these celebrated singers’ conceptions of Mr. Wallace’s most popular creation. On Saturday last, for instance, Miss Anna Hilles, who has won considerable reputation by her very promising efforts as Arline, in the ”Bohemian Girl,” was put forward for the first time as Maritana, and, despite the fresh recollections of her renowned predecessors, made a very satisfactory impression. An incontestable succès d’estime was won by the young lady, and, taking into consideration the very reasonable expectations of a public accustomed to very high excellence in the portrayal of the same character, this is no small praise. As an actress Miss Hiles has yet much to learn, and her Maritana can scarcely be regarded, from a histrionic point of view, as an improvement upon her Arline; but she sang much of the music with real taste and expression, eliciting throughout hearty applause, and unanimous encores for the popular ”Scenes that are brightest,” and (aided materially by Miss Susan Pyne) for the duet ”Sainted mother.” hearty redemands were likewise elicited by the renderings of ”Turn on, old Time,” by Mr. W. Harrison, Mr. Weiss, and Miss Susan Pyne; the airs, ”Let me like a soldier fall,” ”Hear me, gentle Maritana” and ”In happy moments,” respectively by Mr. W. Harrison, Mr. W. Patey, and Mr. W.H. Weiss.
‘The band and chorus, under the masterly direction of Mr. Alfred Mellon, were, as usual, quite irreproachable.’
(The Morning Post, London, Monday, 15 December 1862, p. 6b)

‘ROYAL ENGLISH OPERA. – Miss Anna Hiles has appeared in Wallace’s ”Maritana.” Her singing in the part of the heroine of this pretty opera, differs in no respect from that which characterized her performance in ”The Bohemian Girl.” It is smooth and pleasing, but of very little volume. Miss Hiles, however, will doubtless be found useful upon what are technically called the ”off nights.”’
(The Observer, London, Sunday, 22 December 1862, p. 3d)

h1

Irene and Bobbie Smith

May 25, 2013

Irene and Bobbie Smith (fl. circa 1912-1920s), American duettists and entertainers
(photo: White, New York, 1915)

Temple Theatre, Fort Wayne, Indiana, December 1913
‘Big audiences greeted the new bill at the Temple and were convinced before the show had gotten well under way that the bill was up to the usual high standard for which the Temple is so well known. As a ventriloquist, the Great Lester is without a peer. What he can’t make that dummy of his do, simply can’t be done. And the “Gee Whiz” of the dummy keeps the audience in one continual uproar. It is the best act of its kind ever seen here. Florence Modena & Co., in a great comedy sketch entitled, “A Lesson in Reform,” pleased greatly. There is much good comedy in it and it is cleverly handled. The Misses Irene and Bobbie Smith, two beautiful young girls just out of their teens, held the audience intensely interested during their act, which consists of singing and some mighty good comedy by one of the girls. Everything the Clemenso Bros. touch turns to music. It is one of the best novelty acts seen here in some time, and just enough comedy acrobatic work is interspersed to make the act a big circuit one. The Delfinos troupe of Chilian wonders close the show with an acrobatic offering that is way above the ordinary one.’
(The Fort Wayne Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Monday, 15 December 1913, p.7d/e)

‘Irene and Bobbie Smith. Two girls have established themselves as one of the big time vaudeville’s favorite “sister” combinations. They are playing the United time at present, under the direction of Ed. S. Keller.’
(New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 25 December 1915, p.51b)