Posts Tagged ‘Harry Fox’


Arthur St. Vincent and Eugenie Montebello, British and Australian music hall entertainers

May 15, 2014

Arthur St. Vincent (active 1869-1887), English music hall singer/songwriter, manager and general entertainer, and his wife, Mdlle. Eugenie Montebello (active 1868-1876), Italian-born British music hall artist, sometimes described as ‘the dashing serio-comic and dancer,’ male impersonator, magician/illusionist and entertainer
(carte de visite photos: Clayson & Cuthbert, 13 ½ South Parade, Nottingham, and Tulley, 26 Division Street, Sheffield, both circa 1870)

Arthur St. Vincent and Mdlle. Montebello appear to have been in their early 20s when they began their separate stage careers. They soon joined forces, however, and in 1873 they set sail for Australia. Settling for a while in the new gold-mining town of Charters Towers, where they are said to have been connected with the Sportsman’s Arms Hotel and its theatre, they were subsequently seen in company on tour with various other entertainers throughout parts of Australia and New Zealand. It was on 27 October 1874 at the Crown Hotel, Dunedin that a son was born to the couple (Otago Witness, Dunedin, New Zealand, Wednesday, 28 October 1874, p. 4b).

Early in 1882 Arthur St. Vincent returned to England but disaster struck his and his party’s return journey to Australia when they were involved in a steamship wreck, which deprived them of their savings and wardrobes. St. Vincent managed to return to his wife in Australia, where a benefit was held for him in June 1884. Later references to Mr and Mrs St Vincent are in Australian sources but they cease in 1887.

* * * * *

‘Success! The Great Arthur St. Vincent. Success!
ARTHUR ST. VINCENT, acknowledged to be the most original and successful Comic that has visited HALIFAX [Yorkshire] (ODD FELLOWS’ MUSIC HALL). Thunders of applause nightly. Pullan’s, Bradford; Fleur-de-Lis, Sheffield; Victoria, Hartlepool; Wear, Sunderland, to follow. Address, HARRY FOX, Middlesex Music Hall, London, W.C.
N.B. Songs and Duets written on moderate terms (Ladies’ versions).’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 23 May 1869, p. 16b)

Metropolitan music hall, Edgware Road, London, week beginning Monday, 23 October 1871
‘… Mdlle. [Eugenie] Montebello and Mr. Arthur St. Vincent, who are comic duettists with voices above the average for musicalness, have newly appeared here, and are well received. They represent a belle and beau, who sing of ”London Society” being more to their taste than that of Baden-Baden, &c. Dressed nearly alike as fops, with peculiar hats and profuse whiskers, they carol a lively strain, the refrain of which is ”Hurrah for the Gaslight School.” The manlike appearance and swagger of the lady cause much laughter. Again they come forward and exhibit cards bearing good representations of the Rose, the Thistle, the Shamrock, and other emblems of nations, and accompany the display of the pictures with appropriate melodies. When we saw them they were so earnestly called that they appeared a fourth time and sang ”A song of songs,” which consisted of snatches of a very large number of popular ditties well woven together and cleverly sung… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 29 October 1871, p. 12a)

‘DPARTURE OF PROFESSIONALS FOR AUSTRALIA. – On Thursday the following members of the Music Hall Profession sailed from Southampton for Australia, viz.:- The De Castro troupe, Valentine Vose, Arthur St. Vincent, Mdlle. Montebello, Airee, Nellie Forrester, Harry Sefton, and Jessie Danvers. Through Messrs Durden and Wills, who witnessed their departure, they send kind regards to their brother and sister professionals.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 31 August 1873, p. 4d)

MR. AND MRS. ARTHUR ST. VINCENT, From all the London Theatres, and late Principal Vocalists of Smith’s English and Continental Combination, beg most respectfully to announce Three Performances as above.
The Company at present consists of the following first-class Artists:-
MR. ARTHUR ST. VINCENT, acknowledged by public and press to be the greatest Local Comic and Characteristic Vocalist, who has visited the Colonies, in all new Songs, written and composed by himself.
MDLLE. EUGENIE MONTEBELLO, pronounced by the London and Provincial Press to be the greatest Lady Impersonator of Male Character in the world.
MR. FRANK VERTEN, (late of the Australian Bell Ringers), Negro Comedian and Dancer, in his beautiful American Songs and Dances.
MR. LESLIE CHARLES, (late of the Canadian Concerts), Baritone and National Vocalist.
HERR JULIUS, Solo Pianist and Musical Director.
MR AND MRS A. ST. VINCENT In their highly amusing Drawing Room Sketches of ”Life and Character.”
Vide Press – ”The most amusing couple we have seen for many a long day.” – Cromwell Argus, December 24, 1875.
An entire Change of Programme each evening
Books of Words may be had at the Hall.
Doors open at 7.30; commence at 8.
SOLE MANAGER – MR. A. ST. VINCENT. SOLE AGENT – ALFRED WRIGHT.’ (The Nelson Evening Mail, Nelson, New Zealand, Wednesday, 2 June 1875, p. 2g)

‘MR. ARTHUR ST. VINCENT has arrived [in London], and will remain in England for Two Months. He will be pleased to hear from old friends; also from Persons having Novelties in any line of Business, Illusions of all kinds, Duets, Dialogues, Comic Songs. Can arrange with Artistes to visit the Colonies either on terms share or otherwise. Address, ARTHUR ST. VINCENT, 32, Fitzroy-street, Fitzroy-square, London, W.C.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 27 May 1882, p. 23c)

of Six Star Artistes
are now on Tour through England.
Managers and Proprietors please send vacant dates for Halls.
N.B. – ”The Hindoo Marvel.”
Australia again in August.
Permanent address, 32, Fitzroy-street, Frizroy-square, London, N.W.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 10 June 1882, p. 21a)


Victor Liston

April 18, 2013

Victor Liston (1838-1913), English music hall vocalist and comedian
(photo: photo: T. Pope, Birmingham, circa 1874)

Collins’s Music Hall, Islington Green, London
‘Mr. Victor Liston adheres to the legitimate, and sings those songs which can hardly be called new-fangled. His “shabby-genteel” impersonation is excellent. Mr. Liston sang four songs, and enjoyed a recall on the evening of our visit to Collins’s.’
(The Entr’acte, London, Saturday, 17 December 1881, p.6b)

* * * * * * * *

Too proud to beg, too honest to steal,
I know what it is to be wanting a meal;
My tatters and rags, I try to conceal,
I’m one of the Shabby Genteel.

* * * * * * * *

‘Mr Victor Liston, another favourite comic singer, made his first appearance when seventeen years old [in 1855] at a benefit at the Old Bower Saloon, Stangate Street [London]. Afterwards he sang at various of the smaller halls, such as Price’s in the Caledonian Road, which was only open on Saturday nights, and where “Billy Randall” [William Randall (1830-1898)] was very popular. Then Harry Fox [1817-1876], of the Middlesex [music hall, Drury Lane], sent Liston to Sheffield, where he played at Parker’s, where J.H. Ridley and his wife, Marie Barnum, sister to Johnny Barnum, started as duettists. After a long provincial probation, Liston returned to London and sang at the Grapes, the Coal Hole, the Cyder Cellars, the Dr Johnson, and Macdonald’s in Hoxton, where Fred Albert [1845-1886] made one of his earliest appearances. This is now used as a mission hall. One night [in 1868] Liston deputised at the old Philharmonic [Islington Green], then under the proprietorship of the late Mr Sam Adams, and made such a success with his song “Shabby Genteel” [written by Henry S. Leigh, a noted contributor to the satirical periodical Punch], that he stayed there for seven months, a ditty which Harry Clifton [1832-1872] used to sing in his “two-hours’ entertainment.” Victor Liston was also popular at the Metropolitan, Collins’s, and at Evans’s, where one night H.R.H. the Prince of Wales [later King Edward VII] brought the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland expressly to hear “Shabby Genteel.” After a five months’ successful visit to America, Liston returned to England. Among his principal songs were “The Auctioneer’s Daughter,” “Charming Arabella,” “Polly Darling,” and “Of Course it’s no Business of Mine.” The last-named was written by Arthur Lloyd [1840-1904], the others by G.W. Hunt [1851-1936]. On one occasion Liston was a member of Sam Hague’s Minstrels. He was also manager of the Bon Accord Music Hall, at Aberdeen, and “ran” halls of his own at Gloucester and Cheltenham, where George Leybourne [1842-1884] and other stars appeared.’
(Charles Douglas Stuart and A.J. Park, The Variety Stage, T. Fisher Unwin, London, 1895, pp.108 and 109)

* * * * * * * *

‘It is sad to relate that towards his end, Victor Liston became the embodiment of [“Shabby Genteel”] himself, for he met with misfortune and, dressed carefully, but in threadbare clothes trying to keep up appearances, was himself, as was the hero of his song, too often wanting a meal.’
(W. Macqueen-Pope, The Melodies Linger On, W.H. Allen, London, 1950, p.311)


skipping rope dancers

February 23, 2013

a carte de visite of two unidentified skipping rope dancers
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, late 1870s)

has great pleasure in announcing that, at the termination of the Engagement of Miss ROSE FOX, at the OXFORD MUSIC HALL, she will appear with her Troupe of Beautiful Blondes, in a New Fantastical Farrago, entitled
by FRANK W. GREEN, Esq.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 25 March 1877, p. 20a)

”Th’ adorning thee with so much art.” – COWLEY.
”Queen of the skipping-rope.” – The Era.
ROYAL FORESTERS’, every Evening, Ten o’clock,
in her New Fantastical Farrago,
Libretto by Frank W. Green; Music by Edward Solomon.
New and Magnificent Dresses Designed and Executed
by H. Compton.
OXFORD, Eleven o’clock, every Evening.
217th Night at the centre of attraction.
Miss ROSE FOX begs publicly to tender her best thanks to the Oxford Management for the ”Souvenir” presented to her on the occasion of her 200th performance of ”Skiptomania.”
Address, Mr Hugh J. Didcott.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 5 August 1877, p. 16a)

The Foresters’ music hall, London
‘The programme during the past week has been strengthened by the production of what the bills describe as a ”new fantastical farrago,” bearing the title Skipping in the Snow, arranged, we believe, by Mr H.J. Didcott, to whom must be given the credit – or at least some of the credit – of a pretty idea, capitally carried out. Skipping in the Snow cannot be said to have a story, and if we say that it introduces us to a young, handsome, well-dressed foreign prince on the look-out for a wife among the ”beautiful blondes,” who share in his taste for skipping-rope pastime, it must be understood that we speak only of our own imaginings, and that it is just possible we may have placed the wrong interpretation upon the sketch after all. Music Hall sketches are not allowed to have stories, and we are sure that this is about the very last place where any attempt would be made to violate the regulations laid down by the ”powers that be.” Story or no story, however, there is no denying the fact that Skipping in the Snow is a very attractive production. A really charming rustic and wintry scene has been prepared, and this alone appears to be sufficient to call forth the warmest demonstrations of approval from the skipping-rope dancers. Miss Rose Fox comes tripping upon the stage with her beautiful companions; when they sing and skip and dance; when the snow begins to fall and its flakes are made brilliant by the aid of the lime-light, the enthusiasm of the onlookers hardly knows bounds, and cheers of the most hearty description testify to the pleasure afforded. Miss Fox towards the end comes skipping and dancing with a rope of fire, the effect being wonderfully picturesque. Skipping in the Snow will doubtless remain one of the chief attractions at the Foresters’ for a considerable time to come.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 12 August 1877, p. 4b)

‘Miss Rose Fox, the pretty and accomplished skipping-rope dancer, who some time ago created a sensation at the Gaiety Theatre, has been engaged by Mr E. Villiers to appear with her ”Belles Blondes” in the ”Fantastical Farrago” Skipping in the Snow, at the Canterbury, at Easter. Miss Fox may rely on a very cordial reception.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 24 March 1878, p. 4b)

‘Miss Rose Fox (Mrs H.J. Didcott), formerly immensely popular as a dancer – her skipping-rope dance secured her a host of admirers – and lately a teacher of dancing, died, we regret to hear, on Friday, the 28th ult., after a long illness. She was the mother of two children. The remains of deceased were buried at Brighton on Tuesday.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 6 July 1889, p. 15c)

Hugh Jay Didcott (1836-1909), a well-known London music hall agent, and Rose Fox (d. 1889, whose father was Harry Fox (1817-1976), music hall comedian and chairman of The Middlesex music hall, otherwise known as ‘The Old Mo’,’ Drury Lane), were the parents of the actress Maudi Darrell (1882-1910). The latter’s husband was Ian Bullough who following her death married Lily Elsie.