Archive for November, 2013


Violet Grey, English actress and singer, circa 1918

November 20, 2013

Violet Grey (active circa 1908-1925), English actress and singer
(postcard photo; Wrather & Buys, 27 New Bond Street, London, W, circa 1918)

Violet Grey appeared at various variety theatres, such as the Wood Green Empire, north London, during December 1915 when The Stage described her as ‘a dainty lady with a pleasing voice and manner.’ She was also seen in a number of revues and pantomime, both in London and the UK provinces, including Harry Grattan’s revue, Tabs, produced at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, on 15 May 1918.


Saharet in London, 1897

November 18, 2013

Saharet (24 March 1879-?1942), Australian acrobatic dancer
(photo: The Fine-Art Photographers’ Publishing Co, 46 Rydevale Road, London, SW, circa 1897)

‘Another fair artist from Australia, Saharet, acrobatic dancer, will make her first appearance in London at the Palace Theatre on Monday [2 August 1897].’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 31 July 1897, p. 17c)

The Palace Theatre, London, week beginning Monday, 2 August 1897
‘The holiday programme at the Palace Theatre of Varieties is an attractive one. The old favourites have been judiciously retained, and several new ”turns” have been added to the pleasing and varied programme at the house ruled over so judiciously by Mr. Charles Morton. First let us deal with the artists whose names are less familiar to the London music hall patron. One of these if Saharet, described as the ”celebrated Australian dancer.” Saharet is a pretty girl with a profusion of jet-black hair, which, either by accident or design, falls on her shoulders in glossy masses in the efforts of her dancing, which is of the semi-acrobatic sort. She does the ”splits” with ease; and, standing on one leg, elevates the other to a perpendicular position, maintaining it in place without the help of a hand. This feat is, we imagine, an extremely difficult one. Her whirlings on one extremity, her somersaults, and her high-kickings are very vivacious. Altogether, she has made an excellent impression at the Palace… .’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 7 August 1897, p. 16a)


José Collins heads the cast of The Merry Countess, Casino Theatre, New York, 1912

November 17, 2013

a scene from The Merry Countess, a comic opera based on Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, book by Gladys Unger, lyrics by Arthur Anderson, which was produced at the Casino Theatre, New York, on 20 August 1912. Members of the cast in this photograph are (left to right) José Collins (1887-1958) as Countess Rosalinda Cliquot, Forrest Huff (1876-1947), Maurice Farkoa (1864-1916) as Gabor Szabo, Claude Flemming (1884-1952) and Martin Brown (1885-1936).
(photo: White, New York, 1912)

The London version of this production was seen at the Lyric Theatre on 30 December 1911, with Constance Drever as Countess Rosalinda Cliquot and Maurice Farkoa as Gabor Szabo. Both the London and New York productions featured the striking black and white gown allotted to the character of the Countess, seen here worn by Miss Collins. This gown was the inspiration for a similar black and white outfit designed by Cecil Beaton for one of the ladies of the Ascot scene chorus in the film, My Fair Lady (1964).


song sheet featuring Eugene Stratton singing Leslie Stuart’s ‘My Little Octoroon,’ 1899

November 16, 2013

colour lithograph song sheet cover for Leslie Stuart’s popular song, ‘My Little Octoroon, with a portrait of its original singer, Eugene Stratton (1861-1918), American-born British music hall star, minstrel and negro delineator
(original artwork by W. George, published by Francis, Day & Hunter, London, 1899)
Eugene Stratton recorded ‘My Little Octoroon’ for the Gramophone & Typewriter Co Ltd in London on 7 December 1903. It was issued as a 10” black label G&T (catalogue number 3-2013) in March 1904. Rather more accessible among his relatively few recordings is his 1911 version of Leslie Stuart’s ‘Lily of Laguna,’ a song which he first recorded in 1903.
Leslie Stuart wrote a string of hit songs, a few of which are featured on a medley recorded in London in 1930.


The Hess Sisters featured on the song sheet cover of ‘My Brown Eyed Baby Boy,’ 1911

November 15, 2013

Hess Sisters (active circa 1907-1915), American vaudeville singing comediennes and dancers, featured on the cover of the song ‘My Brown Eyed Baby Boy,’ with words by Stanley Murphy and music by Henry I. Marshall, published by Charles K. Harris, New York, Chicago, Toronto, 1911
(photo: unknown, USA, circa 1911)


Seymour Hicks, Ellaline Terriss and Zena Dare in The Beauty of Bath, London, 1906

November 14, 2013

(above) a Rotary Photographic Co Ltd postcard photograph (1597Q) of Mr and Mrs Seymour Hicks (Ellaline Terriss) as they appeared respectively as Lieut. Richard Alington and the Hon. Betty Silverthorne in the musical play, The Beauty of Bath, which opened at the Aldwych Theatre, London, on 19 March 1906.
(below) a Rotary Photographic Co Ltd postcard photograph (4040Z) of the same taken at the same sitting but with Zena Dare‘s face replacing that of Miss Terriss.
(main photos: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1906; artwork by the Rotary Photographic Co Ltd)

The second postcard may be explained by the fact that Zena Dare succeeded Ellaline Terriss in the part of the Hon. Betty Silverthorne during the run, which, the production having transferred to the Hicks Theatre on 27 December 1906, ended on 23 February 1907.


Ada Neilson as Queen Elizabeth I in The Armada, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, 1888

November 13, 2013

Ada Neilson (1846-1905), English actress, specialising in ‘leavy leads,’ as she appeared as Queen Elizabeth I in Henry Hamilton and Augustus Harris’s romantic play, The Armada, produced at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, on 22 September 1888.
(cabinet photo: Elliott & Fry, 55 Baker Street, London, W, and 7 Gloucester Terrace, London, SW, 1888)

‘DRURY LANE. – AUGUSTUS HARRIS, Lessee and Manager.
‘Will REOPEN on SATURDAY, 22d September, with a New Grand Spectacular Drama, entitled
‘THE ARMADA: A Romance of 1588.
‘Winifred Emery, Edith Bruce, Kate James, Ada Neilson, and Maud Milton; Leonard Boyne, Luigi Lablache, Edward Gardiner, Victor Stephens, A Beaumont, Mervin, Dallas, Stanislaus, Calhaem, B. Robins, F. Dobel, Basil West, W. Wridge, F. Harrison, W. Winter, S. Dawson, FitzDavis, Parkes, H. Denvil, F. Thomas, and Harry Nicholls.’
(The Morning Post, London, Thursday, 6 September 1888, p. 4a, advertisement)

‘… Miss Ada Neilson was made up, with uncompromising realism, to Knoller’s picture, and acted just as Elizabeth Tudor may have been supposed to have acted in real life. Her sumptuous dress in the third act was one mass of gold embroidery and blaring gems… .’
(Reynold’s Newspaper, London, Sunday, 23 September 1888, p. 8d)

‘… Miss Ada Neilson, as Queen Elizabeth, looked the part to perfection; but her efforts to be impressive were too painfully marked… .’
(The Pall Mall Gazette, London, Monday, 24 September 1888, p. 6a)

‘Queen Elizabeth, in the reddest hair I ever saw, may be dressed – indeed, is dressed – in the costume of the period.
‘The gods, however, accept it as burlesque.
‘And when the red-headed monarch exclaims –
”’Play heaven my hair turn not grey.”
The aspiration is accepted as a very fine joke indeed… .
‘Elizabeth, Queen of England, has frequently been made the subject of burlesque.
‘No one who has yet attempted the character has been so successful as the present author.
‘However, ”no scandal about Queen Elizabeth.”
‘Miss Ada Neilson played the part.
‘And as she no doubt played to order it would be unfair to criticise her too severely… .’
(‘Flashes from the Footlights,’ The Licensed Victualler’s Mirror, London, Tuesday, 25 September 1888, p. 418c)