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Ethel Matthews, English actress

January 3, 2015

Ethel Matthews (1869-1957), English actress
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, circa 1895; postcard published by A.P.P.S. Ltd, Rickmansworth, circa 1900)

Ethel Garland Matthews, who was born at Le Harvre, France, on 12 October 1869, was the eldest child of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Garland Matthews (1838-1908) of the 44th and Manchester Regiments and his wife, Emily Thérèse (née Johnson, 1845-1905). Her parents were subsequently divorced (1883-1885).

On 24 November 1892, Miss Matthews was married at Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone, London, to Philip Edward Ellissen (1864-1915), a stockbroker, the eldest son of Adolf Philipp Ellissen (1830-1900) and his wife Pauline Elizabeth (née Leveson [Levyssohn], 1835-1908). The name Ellissen was eventually changed to Ellison, the name in which Ethel Matthews died in the Bayswater area of London on 5 January 1957.

Marriages, November 1892
‘ELLISSEN – GARLAND-MATTHEWS. – On the 24th inst., at Holy Trinity Church, Marylebone-road, by the Rev. H.C. Strickland, Philip Ellissen, eldest son of Adolf Ellissen, Esq., of Maida-hill West, to Ethel, only daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel Garland-Matthews, Manchester Regiment.’
(The Morning Post, London, Monday, 28 November 1892, p. 1a)

One of Philip Ellissen’s sisters was the actress Isabelle Pauline Ellissen (1862-1923) who, as the wife of the actor and playwright Cecil Raleigh (Abraham Cecil Francis Fothergill Rowlands, 1856-1914) became well known as Mrs Cecil Raleigh or Saba Raleigh.

* * * * *

‘A SUMMER SURPRISE.
””YOU!” This was the remark that jumped (fell would be too weak a term, and leapt perhaps a better one) from my lips and those of pretty Miss Ethel Matthews the other afternoon (writes a Sketch representative), when I met her on the Boulevard Montmartre.
”’What are you doing in Paris – Ah, Howdy, B.?” as I noticed her [elder] brother [Basil Garland Matthews, 1874-1945], who accompanied her. Lucky brother!
”’What do most women do in Paris? I’m buying frocks, of course, and being photographed.”
”’Who are going to clothe your charms, and who to portray them, Miss Matthews?” I asked.
‘Now you are at your interviewing tricks again, and I won’t be interviewed. It’s too hot, and I haven’t anything to tell you that The Sketch would care to print. You may come up to Reutlinger’s with me, if you like, though, and we’ll see whether the photos are ready.”
‘As we went up in the lift, I profited by the slow progress of the vehicle to extract the information from Miss Matthews that she was soon to appear at the Comedy in London in a lever de rideau which Charles Brookfield is writing for her, and which is to go on at once before ”Lord and Lady Algy.” I also learned, to my great delight, that she has some idea of appearing in Paris before very long in an entirely new kind of play without many words; but with regard to what it was, and where it is to be, even as to whether there was any certainty of the escapade taking place at all, I could learn nothing.
”’You may sent my photo to The Sketch, if you like,” she said, ”and you may tell them that Reutlinger has flattered me a little.”
‘This I do under protest, for I think myself that the well-known artist has never turned out a more masterly likeness. He certainly never had a prettier model.’
(The Sketch, London, Wednesday, 17 August 1898, p. 161b, with photograph of Ethel Matthews by Reutlinger, Paris)

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