TWO RISQUE IMAGES OF A LOVELY BALLERINA PLAYING CUPID (TWO-SIDED CABINET CARD PHOTOGRAPH)

This cabinet card is quite unusual in that it has photographic images on both sides of the card. A very pretty ballet dancer is from the Alhambra Ballet production of Cupid is pictured in each image. In one photograph her legs are crossed while in the second photograph her legs are open and her undergarment is visible through her transparent tutu. The cabinet card is risque for it’s era. The Alhambra was a theatre in London, England. It was opened in 1854 as “The Royal Panopticon”. A circus ring was added and it was reopened in 1858 as the Alhambra. The theatre stage hosted music hall acts, aerial acts, ballet, light opera, and other events. The theatre was closed and demolished in 1936. This cabinet card features a dancer from the ballet, Cupid which opened at the Alhambra on 5/24/1886. The principal dancer in this production was Emma Bessone, and research reveals that the ballerina in this image is likely Emma Bessone. She was an Italian dancer who trained at La Scala and became prima ballerina for both the Maryinsky and Bolshoi companies in Russia. The photographer of this cabinet card was Samuel A. Walker whose studio was located in London.

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