Posts Tagged ‘W. & D. Downey (photographers)’


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.

* * * * *

””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)


Gabrielle Ray, an Edwardian musical comedy favourite

August 14, 2014

Gabrielle Ray (1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1905/06)


Connie Gilchrist as The Slave of the Lamp in Aladdin, Gaiety Theatre, London, 24 December 1881

August 13, 2014

Connie Gilchrist (1865-1946), English artist’s model, dancer and actress, as she appeared as The Slave of the Lamp in Aladdin; or, the Sacred Lamp, a burlesque by Robert Reece, produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 24 December 1881. Other members of the cast included Edward Terry, Nellie Farren, E.W. Royce, Kate Vaughan and J.J. Dallas.
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1881/82)


Gabrielle Ray – ‘How to be Beautiful,’ 1908

August 10, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (1883-1973), English musical comedy actress and dancer
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, circa 1906)

‘HOW TO BE BEAUTIFUL … A Difficult Question.
‘THIS is a very difficult question indeed. I have really not begun to think about preserving beauty. I do not use any kind of cosmetiques or powder. Before motoring in a gold wind I put a little cold cream on my face. I am sure that grease paint improves the complexion and preserves the skin.
‘ I always douche my face with cold water after washing with warm. Then I ride, and in the summer, swim. Walking is, of course, very good. I get up about nine o’clock whatever time I go to bed.
‘I eat what I like and drink what I like, and do everything that is contrary to the rules laid down by the medical profession, the vegetarians, and their like.
‘I should like very much to hear of a process for preserving beauty. Even my Gollywogs get dusty, and I have to pack them in a parcel and send them to be renovated. One day I may have to do this myself unless someone finds the secret of beauty that will never need preserving.’
(‘HOT TO BE BEAUTIFUL. Eight Beautiful Women Give Eight Effective Recipes,’ Daily Mail, London, Wednesday, 19 February 1908, p. 9e)


Edna May in The Belle of New York

June 29, 2013

Edna May (1878-1948), American star of musical comedy, as she appeared as Violet Gray in The Belle of New York, which was first produced at the Casino Theatre, New York, on 28 September 1897 and then at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, on 12 April 1898.
(cabinet photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1898; the photograph has been inscribed by Miss May to Reginald Edward Golding Bright (1874-1941), the English literary and dramatic agent.

A chat with Miss Edna May, ”THE BELLOF NEW YORK.”
‘PROSPERITY, through a fascinating Salvation [Army] lass, has come to the Shaftesbury Theatre. Crowded houses are nightly and at every matinée welcoming with rapture the gay American Company which has come, I hope, to stay. So delighted was I with my visit to this comfortable playhouse that I obtained an introduction to
Miss Edna May,
‘the sweet-voiced Belle herself, and found her as charming and as delightfully ingenuous as she appears before the footlights, where she takes all our hearts captive.
”’Perfectly lovely,” is Miss Edna May’s concise opinion of her reception. ”We were told before the curtain went up not to be disheartened if we did not get encores. Therefore the reception you gave us made a still more agreeable surprise. Indeed, your enthusiasm outrivalled even that of New York.”
”’So you are inclined to lie us here in London?”
”’Everything is Delightful.
”’I have not seen much as yet, but I mean to do so. I have been to see ‘The Geisha,’ and immensely admired dear little Maggie May’s voice; and last Sunday I lunched at Richmond, and then explored Hampton court. Your parks are splendid. But why do your women wear such long skirts when biking?
”’Do I Bike?
”’What a question! Yes, ever since I was twelve. I wouldn’t be without my Spalding wheel for anything.”
”’Is this your first appearance in a musical fantasia?”
”’Why, yes. I haven’t been on the boards more than eighteen months.”
”’Indeed! From where did you get your charming young voice, which for strength, timbre, register, and perfect harmony pleased me immensely?”
”’Well, I was born in Syracuse, New York State, but my schooling as a girl was acquired in New York, where I receive a general education, my musical instructor being Professor Walters; but I fear I gave most of my attention to fencing, which, although the most delightful exercise, is not particularly beneficial to the voice. But you must know that
”’I Never Studied for the Stage ”’in any way, my parents being of quite a different turn of mind. Nor have I sung before in public, excepting solos in church occasionally, at home, and in New York. However, a friend recommended me to go on the stage when I was barely seventeen – i.e. two years ago [sic] – when
”’I appeared in ‘Santa Maria
”’under Mr. Hammerstein at the Olympic Theatre in New York, and in the chief cities of the United States. Afterwards I played a small part with Mr. Hoyt, his wife being the star, in ‘A Contended Woman’; but seeing no prospect of getting on, I returned home rather discouraged.”
”’And then came your opportunity?”
”’The Character of Violet Gray
”’in ‘The Belle of New York.’ Isn’t it a sweet-sounding name?”
”’Your voice is so fresh and natural, and its register is very great; quite up to upper E I should say.”
”’Yes, that is the extent of my register. The music of ‘The Belle of New York’ scarcely does me credit, as it is written for a medium register. It is when I get on the higher notes that I feel most at home. The fact is
”’I Really Love to Sing.
”’I got the nickname of Adelina Patti at school, partly for that reason, and because my patronymic is very similar. Edna May, my stage name, being really Christian names only.”
”’Before I go I wonder if you would oblige me with a verse of that charming Salvation-lass song, which has haunted me ever since I heard it?”
‘Most obligingly Miss May sat down and sang the sweet, demurely expressed refrain, which has become the talk of London –
”’When I ask then to be good,
As all young men should be,
they only say they would
Be very good – to me.
Follow on, follow on,
Till the light of Faith you see
But they never proceed
To follow that light
But always follow – me.”’
(The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, London, Saturday, 30 April 1898, p. 276)


Grace Arnold

May 15, 2013

Grace Arnold (fl. 1880s), English actress
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, circa 1885)

‘On Saturday, September 6th, Revival of W.S. Gilbert’s Mythological Comedy, in Three Acts, entitled PYGMALION AND GALATEA … The cast including William Terriss as Pygmalion and Mary Anderson as Galatea. ‘Miss Grace Arnold’s Myrine was a trifle weak and monotonous …’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 13 September 1884, p. 10a)


Wilson Barrett

May 4, 2013

Wilson Barrett (1846-1904), English actor manager and dramatist, as Marcus Superbus in The Sign of the Cross, first produced at the Lyric Theatre, London, 4 January 1896
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1896)

‘It is a pity that Mr. Wilson Barrett is not more thoroughgoing in his endeavours to make the ”dressing” of The Sign of the Cross strictly correct. A Roman emperor and prefect with long hair hardly fit in with archæological accuracy. Close cropped heads were the only wear in Rome at the date when the action of the piece is supposed to take place. Mr. Wilson Barrett should inspect the gallery of Roman busts at the British Museum, and then invoke the aid of the wig-maker.’
(The Theatre, London, 1 April 1896, p. 24


three unidentified cast members in Don Juan Junior, 1880

April 13, 2013

three unidentified cast members in Don Juan Junior, Royalty Theatre, London, 3 November 1880
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1880)

Don Juan Junior, an ‘Eastern Extravaganza’, was written by the Prendergast Brothers and produced under the management of Kate Lawler at the Royalty Theatre, London, on 3 November 1880. The cast was headed by Kate Lawler in the title role, with Edward Righton, Phil Day, T.P. Haynes, Francis Wyatt, Maggie Brennan, Emma Ritta, Dora Vivian and Annie Lawler. Other members of the cast were Florence Lavender, E. Bayard, Elise Ward, Connie Carlin, Millie Thornhill, Hellina Dupont, Lizzie Lawson, Maude De Vere, Jessie Braham, Sylvia Gray, Edith Gower, Lottie Nelson, Clare St. Clare, Nelly Stuart, Connie Edmonds, Alice Johnson, Kate Leicester, T. Henri, Amy Clifford, Rose Helm, Louise Causton, Bertha Young, Bessie Stanley and Rose Robinson.


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)


Gladys Cooper

February 16, 2013

Gladys Cooper (1888- 1971),
English stage and screen actress,
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, probably 1900)

Gladys Cooper when she was a child model, featured in The Harmsworth Magazine, London, September 1900, p.569