Posts Tagged ‘Alfred Ellis (photographer)’

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Charles Lauri junior as the monkey in The Sioux, a mimetic sketch at the Canterbury music hall, London, 1894

May 22, 2015

The front cover of The Amusing Journal, published in London, Saturday, 22 September 1894, features ‘A Photograph from Life on One Negative. From a Photo specially taken for the “A.J.” by Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, N.W.’ The caption further states, ‘EXCITING INCIDENT AT THE CANTERBURY. – Mr. Chas. Lauri attacked by a Gorilla.’

Charles Lauri junior (1860-1903), English pantomimist and animal impersonator, whose repertoire had long included apes of one sort or another, devised an ‘Indian pantomime ballet divertissement’ for the Alhambra, Leicester Square, entitled The Sioux, which was produced on Monday, 12 October 1891. According to The Era (London, Saturday, 17 October 1891, p. 16a), the music was by Walter Slaughter, ‘costumes by M. and Madame Alias, and incidental dances arranged by Francis Wagner. The scene is a picturesque settlement in the “Wild West.” Here the settler (Mr H. Plano) and his daughter (Miss Hooton) and his little son (Miss Taylor) and his Nigger slave (Mr H. Ewins) seem to be very happy notwithstanding that some murderous Indians are prowling about, and they become happier still with the appearance of the settler’s eldest son (Mr F. Kitchen), a gallant and and handsome young middy, who has been sailing the seas. Of course, he is welcome for himself alone, but he is doubly welcome seeing that he has brought along some very pretty present and one very ugly one in the shape of a man-monkey (Mr Charles Lauri). It is to that monkey we have to look for the principal fun, for, although the settle is very vigorous when it comes to fighting, and the middy can dance very nimbly, and the Nigger servant is exceedingly active, and when occasion calls can double himself up in a tale in less than no time, the man-monkey claims all the attention, and it is not diverted even when a section of the Alhambra corps de ballet, with their beauty concealed by Indian disguises and hideous “war paint,” come on headed by their chief (Mr H. Kitchen), and, armed with formidable knives and axes, proceed to dance their grotesque dances, and finally to set fire to the settler’s house. The man-monkey is not to be denied. He will drag a “go-cart,” or play at ball, or spoil the dinner and set everybody sneezing by playing too freely with the pepper-box, or outdo the middy in dancing, or cut funny antics before a mirror, or pelt the Indian enemy with bricks, or masquerade as a soldier, or walk a perpendicular rope with all the skill of a Japanese funambulist. This rope ascent and descent by Mr Charles Lauri is the most notable thing in connection with The Sioux, and on Monday evening it called for a hurricane of applause. There is much leaping through windows, and many strange disappearances through trick boxes and sacks, and in the end, when the man-monkey has assisted the settler’s youngest daughter to escape from the burning house, and has been shot, the artist give a remarkable illustration of pantomimic skill in the realisation of the animal’s death.’

Charles Lauri subsequently adapted The Sioux ballet as a mimetic sketch for the music hall stage, giving the first performance at the Canterbury, Westminster Bridge Road, London, on 10 September 1894. The piece ran for a week or so before setting out on a UK tour. The part of the daughter was played by 9 year old Maud Violet Street, for whom a special license was granted.

Police Intelligence, Lambeth, south London, before Mr. Andrew Hopkins, magistrate
‘Mr. W.H. Armstrong, solicitor, applied on behalf of the manager of the Canterbury and Paragon Music-halls for a licence for a child named Maud Violet Street, not in her ninth year, to appear in a play without words called The Sioux. he explained that she would be on the stage only about half an hour. – Mrs. Street, the mother of the child, said her daughter simply had to play on the stage with a ball, and run about as a child would do in the garden. – Mr. Hopkins: Is there anything else she has to do? – Mr. Armstrong: she has to get into a swing. – Mr. Hopkins: How does she get off the stage? – Mrs. Street: she is brought off by a lady supposed to be her sister. – Mr. Hopkins: What is the play about? – Mrs. Street: It’s an Indian play, but there is nothing to cause any harm to the child. – Mr. Hopkins: does she get carried off by Indians? – Mrs. Street: No, nothing of that sort. – Mr. Armstrong explained that the piece was one in which Mr. Charles Lauri played the part of a monkey. – Mr. Hopkins: there is nothing in which the child is exposed to danger. She is not saved by an animal or anything of that sort? – Mrs. Street: No, sir. – Mr. Hopkins: Very well, then, she shall have the licence.’
(The Standard, London, Wednesday, 22 August 1894, p. 3d)

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Fay Davis as Monica Blayne in The Tree of Knowledge, St. James’s Theatre, London, 1897

February 1, 2015

Fay Davis (1869-1945), American actress, as Monica Blayne in R.C. Carton’s play, The Tree of Knowledge, produced by and starring George Alexander at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 25 October 1897.
(cabinet photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, NW, negative no. 23806-1a, which appears to be a cropped version of negative no. 23806-1, which is described in the copyright registration form submitted by Alfred Ellis on 29 April 1897 as ‘Photograph, panel [i.e. 8 ½ x 4 in.] of Miss Fay Davis … Three quarter length standing figure, with hat on, leaning against cabinet.’)

Fay Louise Davis was born in Houlton, Maine, Massachusetts, on 15 December 1869, the youngest child of Asa T. Davis (1830-?), the proprietor of an express line, and his wife, Mary F. (nèe Snell, 1835-?). She visited England for the first time in 1895, arriving at Southampton on board the S.S. Columbia on 16 May. Introduced to London society by Edith Bigelow (first wife of the noted American journalist and author, Poulteney Bigelow), she soon received an offer from Charles Wyndham to join his company at the Criterion Theatre, London. Her first appearance was there as Zoë Nuggetson in The Squire of Dames, a comedy adapted by R.C. Carton from the French, produced on 5 November 1895. Her immediate success brought further offers, including the part of Fay Zuliani (photographed by Alfred Ellis) opposite George Alexander in A.W. Pinero’s comedy, The Princess and the Butterfly; or, The Fantastics, produced at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 29 March 1897.

Miss Davis was married at the home of Mrs Frank M. Linnell, 61 Columbia Road, Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, on 23 May 1906, to the English actor manager, Gerald Lawrence (1873-1957). The latter’s first wife, whom he had married in 1897, was the actress Lilian Braithwaite, who obtained a divorce from him in November 1905.

Fay Davis’s final professional appearance was as Mary Dawson in Vivian Tidmarsh’s ‘unusual comedy,’ Behind the Blinds, produced at the Winter Garden Theatre, London, on 10 October 1938, in which her husband played Richard Dawson.

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Alexandra Dagmar as Dandini in the pantomime Cinderella, Drury Lane Theatre, Christmas 1895

December 24, 2014

Alexandra Dagmar (1868-1940), English music hall vocalist and pantomime principal boy as Dandini in the Ballroom Scene of the pantomime Cinderella, produced at Drury Lane Theatre on Boxing Night, 26 December 1895.
(cabinet size photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, W, negative no. 20706-7, early 1896)

‘Miss Alexandra Dagmar, the Dandini, is an accomplished vocalist, and her singing adds much to the general effect.’
(The Standard, London, Friday, 27 December 1895, p. 2b)

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Alexandra Dagmar, whose real name was Dagmar Alexandra Heckell, was born in Polar, east London, on 13 March 1868, one of the daughters of her Danish-born parents, Charles Heckell (1828?-1889), a ship’s chandler (bankrupt, 1868) and later a wholesale provision merchant, and his wife, Christine (1833?-1898).

Miss Dagmar first came to general notice on 8 November 1884 under the management of ‘Lord’ George Sanger at his Grand National Amphitheatre, Westminster Bridge Road, London. Sanger, who billed her as ‘First appearance in England of the celebrated American actress Miss Grant Washington,’ cast her as Richard, Duke of Glo’ster to appear in ‘the Fifth Act of ”Richard III.,” portraying the Battle of Bosworth Field and Death of White Surrey – a scene of unparalleled effect.’ (The Era, London, Saturday, 1 November 1884, p. 16b) ‘… and then the last act of ”Richard III.” was given, an especial novelty being the representation of the chief personages by ladies. It had certainly a comic effect when Miss Grant Washington appeared as the crook-backed tyrant with beard and moustache, fighting and declaiming in the most ”robustious” manner. If Shakespeare was shaky it could not be denied that Miss Grant Washington was a handsome young lady with a fine figure and a good voice, and her rendering of Richard was vigorous in the extreme.’ (The Morning Post, London, Monday, 10 November 1884, p. 2f)

Miss Dagmar subsequently toured the United States under the auspices of the Boston Redpath Lyceum Bureau. Here she met Edmond DeCelle (1854?-1920), a tenor, and the couple were married in New York in 1888; their son, Edmond Carl DeCelle (1890-1972), became an artist and costume designer. Mr and Mrs DeCelle subsequently appeared for a few years together on both sides of the Atlantic, billed as Dagmar and DeCelle, before Miss Dagmar resumed her solo career. She appears to have retired on the outbreak of the First World War, after which she and her family resided exclusively in America.

Alexandra Dagmar died in Mobile, Alabama, on 8 December 1940.

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Florence St. John, star of burlesque and comic opera, photographed in 1893

December 2, 2014

Florence St. John (née Margaret Florence Greig, 1855-1912), English actress and vocalist
(photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, NW, negative no. 13721-14, early 1893; see the National Archives, London, COPY 1/412/470)

This photograph was taken during the run of the musical farce, In Town, following its transfer in December 1892 from the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, to the Gaiety Theatre, London, in which Miss St. John played the part of Kitty Hetherton.

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December 2, 2014

Florence St. John (née Margaret Florence Greig, 1855-1912), English actress and vocalist
(photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, NW, negative no. 13721-14, early 1893; see the National Archives, London, COPY 1/412/470)

This photograph was taken during the run of the musical farce, In Town, following its transfer in December 1892 from the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, to the Gaiety Theatre, London, in which Miss St. John played the part of Kitty Hetherton.

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An incident in the original production of H.A. Jone’s play, The Masqueraders, London, 1894

November 30, 2014

an incident from the original production of Henry Arthur Jones‘s play, The Masqueraders with, left to right, Mrs Edward Saker as Lady Crandover, Beryl Faber as Lady Charles Reindean, W.G. Elliott as Montagu Lushington and Irene Vanbrugh as Charley Wisranger. The play opened at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 28 April 1894.
(cabinet photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, NW, negative no. 16228-2)

Emily Mary Kate Saker (1847-1912) was the widow of the actor manager, Edward Sloman Saker (1838-1883); before her marriage she was known on the stage as Marie O’Berne (or O’Beirne).

Beryl Crossley Faber (1872-1912) was the first wife of the playwright and novelist, Cosmo Hamilton (1870-1942). She was also the sister of the stage and film actor, C. Aubrey Smith.

Irene Vanbrugh (née Irene Barnes) (1872-1949) was married in 1901 to the actor and director, Dion Boucicault junior.

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Marie Tempest

May 9, 2013

Marie Tempest (1864-1942), English actress and vocalist, as O Mimosa San in The Geisha: A Story of a Teahouse, Daly’s, London, 25 April 1896.
(photo: Alfred Ellis, London, 1896)

500th performance of The Geisha, Daly’s Theatre, London, September 1897
’ By the way, the 500th performance of The Geisha, at Daly’s Theatre, last week – albeit there was no distribution of souvenirs, and Mr. George Edwardes refrained from making one of his characteristic speeches – was memorable if only by reason of the stirring ovation accorded by the overflowing audience to each of the prominent members of the cast now happily returned from well-deserved holidays. Miss Tempest, who resumed her part after a short visit to Aix-les-Bains, received a welcome on her home-coming which visibly affected her. Later on in the play, when Miss Letty Lind tripped across the bridge with her ‘riskha, there was another burst of applause, which prevented her from beginning her dialogue for some moments. For the rest the popular enthusiasm was pretty evenly distributed among Mr. Hayden Coffin, Mr. Huntley Wright, and Mr. Rutland Barrington. At the close a galleryite summed up the situation in a terse sentence which nobody seemed inclined to dispute, “Good old George [Edwardes] always gives us good value!” Amongst the artists who are still filling their original parts in The Geisha at Daly’s is Miss Mary Collette, the original O Kamurasaki San.’
(The Bristol Times and Mirror, Bristol, Tuesday, 14 September 1897, p.3g)