Posts Tagged ‘Alfred Ellis (photographer)’

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Harry Monkhouse

March 1, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Harry Monkhouse (1854-1901), English actor,
as Duvet in the comic opera Captain Thérèse,
by Alexandre Bisson and F.C. Burnand, with music by Robert Planquette,
which was produced at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 25 August 1890.
The cast also included Hayden Coffin, Joseph Tapley, Tom A. Shale,
Attalie Claire (in the title role), and Phyllis Broughton
(photo: Alfred Ellis, London, 1890)

‘Monkhouse, Harry. (John Adolph McKie.) – there is no more general favourite than Mr. Harry Monkhouse, who is a native of Newcastle-on-Tyne, where he was born in 1854. Of course he was never intended for the stage – actors and actresses never are – and his parents, who were Presbyterians, gave him a liberal education at Newcastle Grammar School, which they intended should fit him either for a clergyman or a doctor. From acting in amateur theatricals and assisting behind the scenes at the local theatre on benefit nights, he rose to the dignity of small parts, and at length secured his first regular engagement at the Theatre Royal, Blythe, where Mrs. Wybert Rousby seeing him act, offered him his next engagement to go to Jersey as one of her company. From the Grecian, where he first played in London, he migrated to the Alhambra, and thence to the Gaiety for three years. He met, whilst touring with the Nellie Farren Gaiety Company, Mr. Wilton Jones, who wrote for him a very funny burlesque entitled Larks, and with this and other plays, he made several long and very successful provincial tours. Just as every comedian fancies himself a tragedian, so Mr. Monkhouse, who made his name in burlesque, fancies himself for parts in melodramas where pathos is the prevailing characteristic, and squeezes into his characters a little touch of pathos whenever the chance occasion offers. As Bouillabaisse in Paul Jones (1889) he made himself wonderfully popular, and the way he eventually worked up the part during its run at the Princes of Wales’ Theatre was very marked. As Gosric in Marjorie and M. Duvet in Captain Thérèse he further added to his reputation for originality and humour. There he also played during the run of The Rose and the Ring and Maid Marian, but was drafted over to fill the ranks at the Lyric when the second edition of La Cigale was produced, and played with great drollness the part of Uncle Mat.’
(Erskine Reid and Herbert Compton, The Dramatic Peerage, Raithby, Lawrence & Co Ltd, London, 1892, pp. 154 and 155)

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Letty Lind and Hetty Hamer

February 21, 2013

Letty Lind (1862-1923),
English actress, dancer and singer,
contrasted with
Hetty Hamer (fl. late 1880s-early 20th Century),
English Gaiety Girl, showgirl and later music hall celebrity

Letty Lind as Daisy Vane in An Artist’s Model,
Daly’s Theatre, London, 2 February 1895.
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1895)

‘Letty Lind the Idol of the Theatre Goers – Hetty Hamer Is a Beauty Devoid of Talents …
‘To be a favorite on the state in the “Modern Babylon,” a woman must be equipped in at least one of three ways. She may be only beautiful, and the lack of talent will be overlooked; if she startles by her “fetching” quality, audacity, diablerie, she may be plain and sublimely stupid; or she must legitimately amuse and interest according to English canons, which, by the way, are frequently ours. Two of these types are found in The Artist’s Model [sic], the comic opera which has held a London stage now for very nearly a year – Letty Lind and Hetty Hamer.
‘We are familiar with the dainty little Englishwoman who transformed skirt-dancing into a sort of butterfly art four or five years ago. London pets her. In the blue jean trousers and blouse of the Paris street urchin, as she dances in her diminutive clogs and smiles in her odd, one-sided way, she sparkles into the sympathy of the watchers. Her face is piquant – an honest, little face – but of absolute beauty she has scarcely any, and after three years’ illness she returned to the stage last year with only an echo of a voice, even for spoken lines. Her charm, however, does not depend on beauty of face or voice. She seems a sprite, her every glance an unreserved expression of the part she plays; her smile flashing over every part of a crowded house an invisible lasso knitting the attention and homage of her audience. And then, lastly, and most important, those little feet of hers! In the timings of the “Tom-tit” dance they waft the blues away as gracefully as clouds of tobacco smoke; acrobatic sky assaults find no exponent in Letty Lind. She is a born comedienne. Seldom does a dancing member of a comic-opera company give any semblance of reality to the lines of the libretto – as a rule it is considered quite enough to strut through the part; but as the runaway school-girl in Paris, playing truant in the blouse and cap of a saucy gamin, she is satisfying enough to dispense with songs and dances and still be a success.

Letty Lind as Di Dalrymple in Go-Bang, Trafalgar Square, London, 1894
(photo: probably Alfred Ellis, London, 1894)

‘In contrast to her stands Hetty Hamer. Her photographs decorate the theater lobbies as prominently as those of the principals, yet she does nothing. She is an actress as she might be a model in a cloak shop. Her face is beautiful, though lacking in shades of expression. She neither sings nor acts. She merely exists behind the foot-lights and draws her large salary because her eyes are like big, shadowed violets, her mouth like a Greek bow, the cut of her nose and chin strikingly classic. She suggests Hardy’s milkmaid heroine, Tess – the bovine calm in the large, clear eyes, the pouting lips, with the red pinch in the middle of the upper one, the surprised, ingenuous, unvarying smile. Lengthy notices are always given Hetty Hamer in the papers, and the interest the audience takes in her is eloquent of another national difference between the English and us – their critical appreciation of feminine beauty, merely as beauty, irrespective of talent and social status.
(The Gazette, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, Wednesday, 20 November 1894, p.9a)

Hetty Hamer
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, early 1890s)

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Cora Stuart

February 20, 2013

Cora Stuart (1857-1940),
English actress
(photo: Alfred Ellis, London, early 1890s)

The English actress Cora Stuart is chiefly remembered for her appearances as Lady Kitty Clare in E. Haslingden Russell’s one act musical comedy sketch, The Fair Equestrienne; or, The Circus Rider which was first produced at the Prince’s Theatre, Bristol, on 14 March 1890. Afterwards Miss Stuart toured successfully in the piece for some years throughout the United Kingdom on the music hall circuit, with two matinee performances at the Trafalgar Square Theatre, London, on 14 and 15 March 1893, when the other parts of Charles Kinghorn and Lord Loftus were respectively sustained by W.T. Lovell and Percy Brough.

‘Mounted upon nothing more spirited than an ordinary cane-bottomed chair, the “Fair Equestrienne,” when I was admitted to her dressing room, presented a far easier subject to interview than I had anticipated. Miss Stuart was riding her quadruped Mazeppa fashion – that is to say, she was sitting upon it with the back of her head touching the back of her chair; and the thought occurred to me as I looked at the two – the cane-bottomed quadruped and its skilful rider – that I had seen many a circus Mazeppa urging on her wild career (thought it was always the horse that wanted urging) on an animal with quite as little life in it as that chair.
‘When I was comfortably seated on the nubbly surface of a tall dress basket, such as you see riding about on the outsides of broughams at night, the “Fair Equestrienne” turned in her saddle, and said to me, sweetly: “Well, and I suppose you have come to blow me up for deserting the theatres for the halls?”
‘“Nothing of the kind, Miss Stuart. I should indeed be unreasonable to complain of your behaviour. It may be a loss to the theatre, but, at the same time, ‘sketch’ artists who can act are by no means so plentiful that we can afford to blow them up when we have them.”
‘An interval of one minute’s silence, which I occupy in converting a couple of towels into a cushion. the basket was beginning to make me which I hadn’t sat upon it.
‘“And how do you like your new line, Miss Stuart?” ‘“Oh, I think variety is charming!” was the enthusiastic reply.
‘“You are not the only one I have heard say that, Miss Stuart. It seems to me to be the universal opinion.”
‘“I have tried all stages,” Miss Stuart continued, “and I must say I prefer the variety stage to any other. One thing, the audiences are so awfully good.”
‘“They wouldn’t be unless you were awfully good, Miss Stuart, you may depend upon that.”
‘“And I find I can always depend upon them.”
‘“That is because they find they can always depend upon you.”
‘“You seem determined that I shall not acknowledge my indebtedness to my audiences, Mr. Call Boy.”
‘“I am determined, Miss Stuart, for I have hear – and having heard it so often, I cannot help thinking there must be some truth in it – that one good ‘turn’ deserves another… . You haven’t another towel or something to spare me while I am here, have you? I’ve been doing my best to imagine this wicker-work lid is eiderdown, but it won’t let me. Thanks! … And now, Miss Stuart – -“
‘“Now, Mr. Call Boy, I suppose you want me to tell you something; but what am I to tell? Nothing new, that’s certain. Of course you know I have done the whole ‘round’ – made my first appearance in grand opera; played in nearly all the comedies written by my father-in-law, the late T.W. Robertson; made hits in Pinero-comedy; been in melodrama, farce, and farcical-comedy; and now you behold me ‘on at the halls.’ Yes, and I’m not sorry; I like it. I always have a dressing room to myself, and they are every bit as comfortable as the dressing rooms in the theatre. Everyone has been most kind to me – public, critics, and managers alike; and I contemplate going on as I have begun – since, of course, I joined the music-hall profession.”
‘“Thank you, Miss Stuart. I’m much obliged for the ‘sketch’ of your career; and now, as I see you want [to] be going on, I’ll be going off.”
‘And the ‘Fair Equestrienne,” graciously and gracefully dismounting from her chair, pointed out to me the passages which would not lead to my first appearance on the music-hall stage, and I eventually, and by the grossest error, passed out of the right exit. “And so home.”’
(On and Off, Judy’s Annual, London, 1894, p.38)

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January 16, 2013

Lillie Tusdale (fl. late 19th Century)
(photo: Alfred Ellis, London, circa 1894)

This Woodburytype cigarette card of Lillie Tusdale, about whom nothing is at present known, was issued in England during the mid 1890s with Ogden’s Cigarettes.