PORTRAIT OF AN UNIDENTIFIED BEAUTIFUL FASHIONISTA (ADDENDUM: IDENTIFIED AS ACTRESS MAY FORTESCUE)

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This cabinet card portrait features a pretty fashionista photographed by an unknown studio. Perhaps this young lady is a theater actress. This image is consistent with the work of Napoleon Sarony, Jose Mora, and other New York City celebrity photographers. The photograph presents a profile view of this attractive woman. ADDENDUM: Someone has identified the woman in this photograph as actress May Fortescue. See the images below of Miss Fortescue and see if you agree with the identification. I definitely agree. May Fortescue (1859-1950) was an actress, singer and actor/manager during the Victorian era. She was a protegee of playwright W. S. Gilbert. At age 22 she was a member of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company for two years. She left the stage after becoming engaged to an English “Lord”. Friends talked her fiancee out of marrying the actress and he broke off the engagement. Fortescue sued him for “breach of promise” and was awarded ten thousand pounds. After her break-up, she returned to the stage and appeared in many leading roles. She acted until 1926.

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Published in: on May 9, 2017 at 8:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF LILY ELSIE: BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED STAGE ACTRESS (VINTAGE RPPC)

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This vintage real photo postcard features celebrated stage actress Miss Lily Elsie (1886-1962). At the time of her portrait sitting for this image, Miss Elsie was also known as “Mrs. Ian Bullugh”. More about that later. Lily Elsie was a very popular English actress and singer. She was most known for her starring role in the London production of “The Merry Widow (1907)”. The show ran for 778 performances. A critic for The Pelican (1907) wrote that “the youthfulness, the dainty charm and grace, the prettiness and the exquisite dancing with which Miss Elsie invests the part…. I share the opinion of most of the first-nighters, who considered it could not have been in better hands, and could not have been better handled…. The night was a genuine triumph for Miss Elsie, and she well deserved all the calls she received”. She began as a child actress and before her big break had appeared in a number of Edwardian musical comedies. She was charming and beautiful and became one of the most photographed actresses of her time. Lily Elsie’s dad was a theater worker and her aunt was well known actress Ada Reeve. Shortly after the turn of the century she joined George Edwardes’ company at the Daly Theater. Some of her early appearances included “A Chinese Honeymoon”, “Lady Madcap”, “The Little Michus (1905)”. In the years between 1900 and 1906 she appeared in 14 shows. After the “Merry Widow” she appeared in  26 more shows including “The Dollar Princess” (1909) and “A Waltz Dream” (1911). She clearly was an actress who was in demand. Men paid her much attention but apparently she did not enjoy the attention. Lucile, her costume designer for “The Merry Widow” stated that Elsie was “absolutely indifferent to men and had once said that she disliked “the male character”. She added that men would only behave well if a woman “treated them coldly”. Now, some words about her marriage. In 1911 she he left the cast of a play in which she was performing to marry Major John Ian Bullough (1885–1936). Major Bullough was the son of a wealthy textile manufacturer. He was formerly married to actress Maude Darrell who only survived one year after their 1909 marriage. The marriage between Elsie and Bullough was reported to be very unhappy. Elsie’s health began to deteriorate and her husband pressured her to quit the stage and she was ready to do so. She returned to the stage during the war years (World War I) and was active in fund raising for the war effort. She next took a ten year break from the stage only to return once again. Her final performance took place in the Daly Theater in the play “The Truth Game” (1929). In addition to her theater career, Elsie made recordings, and appeared in two films, including D. W. Griffith’s “The Great Love” (1918). Also appearing in that film was Lillian Gish. In 1930 Elsie’s marriage ended in divorce. Her health began to deteriorate more and she developed hypochondriasis causing her to spend much time in nursing homes and sanitariums. Due to her psychological problems she had brain surgery. Her final years were spent at St. Andrews hospital in London. This postcard is part of a series (Arcadian no. A 26). The photographer of this image of this beautiful actress is the well known celebrity photographer, Rita Martin. She was considered one of the best British photographers of her time. She opened her studio in 1906. Martin’s sister, Lallie Charles was an esteemed society photographer. Many of Rita’s photographs can be found in the National Portrait Gallery. To view more photographs by Rita Martin in the cabinet card gallery, click on the category “Photographer: Martin”.

The second postcard of Miss Elsie provides a terrific close-up photograph of the beautiful Miss Elsie. She is wearing a dark jacket, a frilly high collared blouse and a ribbon bow tie. Her accessories include a long necklace, a pin low on her blouse, and a corsage. The postcard is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 4159 J) published by Rotary Photo. The photograph was taken by the Foulsham & Banfield Studio. Foulsham & Banfield were well known celebrity photographers. Frank Foulsham and A. C. Banfield operated a studio in the 1900’s through the 1920’s.

The third postcard features Lily Elsie clutching a bouquet of flowers and glancing sideways at the photographer. She looks absolutely beautiful. She is wearing a fancy beaded dress and a bracelet. She stands in front of a window. This photograph, like the second postcard’s photo, was taken by the Foulsham & Banfield studio. The portrait postcard was published by Rotary Photo and is part of a series (11840 F). The postcard was printed in Britain.

                                              

                                                       Wedding Photo (1911)

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MISS VIOLET ESSEX: A FORGOTTEN OPERA STAR

 The pretty subject of this vintage real photo postcard is actress and opera singer, Violet Essex (1893-1941). The English born Miss Essex appears in a web site entitled “Forgotten Opera Singers” which is written by Ashot Arakelyan. Essex sang during World War I when there was a demand for “lighter music”. Essex, a soprano, fulfilled that need. She recorded under her own name as well as under “Vera Desmond”. Miss Essex was known for her performances in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas. She starred in the comic opera “Chu Chin Chow” during its five and a half year run in London. She was married to Charles Tucker, an English theatrical producer. She died just six months after moving with her family to Beverly Hills, California. This postcard portrait shows Miss Essex as Emmeline in the Edwardian musical comedy “The Sunshine Girl”. The show was first produced by George Edwardes at London’s Gaiety Theatre. The musical opened in 1912 and ran for 336 performances. The show introduced the tango to British audiences. Violet  Essex was in the original cast. The play also had a Broadway run in 1913 at the Knickerbocker Theatre. The photographer who took this photograph of Miss Essex is Alexander Bassano (1829-1913). He was a leading royal and high society London photographer and more of his images can be seen by clicking on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category “Photographer: Bassano”. This postcard was produced around 1912 and is part of a series (41243 8). To hear a recorded performance (Dear Heart) by Violet Essex, click on the link below. 

 

 

 

Published in: on April 14, 2017 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TWO PORTRAITS OF BEAUTIFUL BRITISH ACTRESS/SINGER: WINIFRED BARNES (PHOTOS BY RITA MARTIN)

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These vintage real photo postcards feature British actress Winifred Barnes. She is absolutely beautiful and photographer, Rita Martin did a fine job of capturing both her beauty and personality in these photographs. It is not surprising that Rita Martin produced such fine photo postcards. Miss Martin was well known for her expertise in taking portraits of theater stars and other celebrities. Other images by Rita Martin can be seen by clicking on the Cabinet Card Gallery’s category “Photographer: Rita Martin”. Barnes made her theatrical debut in a minor role in “Our Miss Gibbs” at the Gaiety Theater in 1909. Great Britain’s National Portrait Gallery has ten portraits of Winifred Barnes including one by Rita Martin. Her obituary appears in the New York Times (1935). The article describes her as a former chorus girl who became a star. She was one of George Edwardes’s leading actresses. Edwardes (1855-1915) was an English theatre manager and producer who received much credit for his contribution to British musical theatre. Many of Barnes’s major roles occurred during the first World War. She scored a huge success in the production of “Betty” (1915) at Daly’s Theatre. After her 1924 marriage to barrister, Roy Faulkner, she became a successful poultry farmer. She also became widely known for her cooking expertise. Both of these photo postcards were produced by Rotary Photo of London. The two postcards are part of a series (A. 1123-1) and (11867 A).

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MARTE HARRELL: PRETTY AUSTRIAN ACTRESS OF THEATER, FILM, AND TELEVISION

Marte Harell (1907-1996) was an Austrian film actress. She was married to Karl Hartl (1899-1978), an Austrian film director. Harell’s filmography includes “Women Are No Angels” (1943), “After The Storm” (1948), and “The Congress Dances” (1955). She was active in film and television between 1939 and 1981. Early and late in her career she also did theater. She made her film debut at age 32. She was in a number of films by Wien-Film. Hartl was the production manager of the company. This photo postcard was made for Wien-Film. The postcard is part of a series (no. A 3645/1). It is likely that this is a photograph of Miss Harell in costume for one of her film roles

Published in: on April 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SENORITA CHRISTIANA: A BEAUTIFUL BRAZILIAN STAGE STAR IN PARIS, FRANCE

This is an opportunity to meet Christiana. One unsourced writer asserts that she was a Brazilian stage star.  I was unable to confirm that assertion. However, I can confirm that Christiana was quite beautiful. This vintage real photo postcard features a profile view of the stage star. She is dressed in a pretty flower patterned dress and is wearing flowers in her long flowing hair. Senorita Christiana’s portrait is by the Walery Studio which was located in Paris, France. The hand tinted postcard was published by the Parisian firm  “ELD” (E. Le Delay) and was part of a series (no. 2002). The postcard advertises the Casino de Paris which was one of the better known music halls in Paris. Christiana clearly performed there. Lucien Walery was a celebrated Paris photographer known for his portraits of artists and cabaret dancers from the city’s music halls. He is very well known for his portraits of Mata Hari and Josephine Baker. Walery did a lot of work in the genre of nude/erotic photography. He photographed the beautiful women of Paris between the early 1900’s and the 1920’s. You can view other images by this talented photographer by clicking on the category “Photographer: Walery”.

Published in: on March 27, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BEAUTIFUL ANGLO-GERMAN FILM ACTRESS LILLIAN HARVEY

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This vintage real photo postcard (top postcard) features Anglo-German actress and singer, Lillian Harvey (1906-1968). Her acting base was in Germany. Harvey was born in Hornsey, England to an English mother and a German father. During World War I her family was “trapped” in Magdeburg, Germany and Harvey was sent to live with her Swiss aunt. After the war she finished school in Berlin and than studied voice and dance at the Berlin State Opera. In 1924 she earned a role as a revue dancer in Vienna. This was followed by her first movie role which was in an Austrian film named “The Curse”. Thereafter, she starred in multiple silent films. Her first leading role was in “The Passion” (1925). Because of her voice training, Harvey was able to make the transition into “talkies”. She and actor Willy Fritsch became the “dream couple” of German movies. The pair acted together in eleven movies. In the 1930’s Harvey’s films appeared in both German and English and she became popular outside of Germany. She went to Hollywood and made four movies for the Fox Film Corporation (this postcard is from that period). In 1935, Harvey returned to Germany. She appeared in several more films and soon she was under the watchful eye of the Gestapo. Harvey had many Jewish friends in the film industry  and she was supportive of them. By 1939, Miss Harvey was forced to leave Germany, leaving behind valuable real estate holdings. She went to France where, in 1940, she made two movies for director Jean Boyer. In 1943 she was stripped of her German citizenship because she had performed for French troops. When southern France was occupied by the Nazis in 1942, she emigrated to the United States. During the war she did some theatre acting and also worked as a homeside volunteer nurse. After the war, Harvey relocated to Paris. She went on a world tour as a singer and in 1949 made appearances in West Germany. She spent her retirement on the French Riviera (Antibes) where she had a souvenir shop and raised snails for escargot. Harvey was married one time. Her four year marriage to theater director Hartvig Valeur-Larsen ended in divorce. Eventually she settled down with her female partner Else Pitty Wirth (1907-2007). Interestingly, the two women are buried together in Antibes. The imdb gives Harvey 54 acting credits between 1925 and 1940. Interestingly, Lillian Harvey’s name is mentioned in Quentin Tarantino’s film  “Inglorious Bastards” (2009). One of her songs is played on a phonograph and in addition one of the characters in the film mentions liking Harvey’s performance in a film and Joseph Goebbels becomes angry and insists her name never be mentioned in his presence. Click on the link below to hear the Lillian Harvey/Willy Fritsch duet used in the Tarantino movie. The 1936 song is titled “Ich Wollt Ich War Ein Huhn” (I Wish I Was A Chicken). Now would be a good time to discuss this postcard portrait of Miss Harvey. She is looking quite decorated in this photograph. She is wearing a garland of leaves in her hair, a very ornate necklace, a number of large bracelets, two giant rings, and a jeweled clasp on her dress near her cleavage. Note her very notable eye lashes. She is wearing a somewhat provocative dress and it is clear that the aim of the photographer is to emphasize Miss Harvey’s sexiness. The photographer and Miss Harvey succeeded in accomplishing this goal. The postcard was published by the German firm Ross Verlag and was part of a series (no. 8679/1). The postcard credits Fox films.

The second postcard features Miss Harvey in a risque costume. She is showing a “lot of leg” which is quite provocative for her time. It is likely that this image captures her in one of her film roles. The postcard was published by Argenta, which was located in Munich, Bavaria.

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PRETTY ITALIAN ACTRESS AND WRITER MARCELLA ALBANI

 

Marcella Albani (1899-1959) was an Italian film actress that appeared in 50 films between 1919 and 1936. Albani was “discovered” by writer/director Guido Parish (Schamberg) when she was twenty years old. They became a very successful film couple until 1924 when they parted ways. Their movies were predominately tear jerkers and adventure stories. The actress also worked with other famous directors such as Joe May, Friedrich Zelnik, and Wilhelm Dieterle. Albani was a major star in the European cinema in the late 1920’s. Her films were made in five different European countries. Many of Albani’s roles were portraying elegant Latin beauties. She certainly looks elegant and beautiful in this postcard portrait. She is dressed exquisitely and her hat is a fashion statement in itself. At the advent of sound movies, Miss Albani turned to writing. One of her several novels was turned into a movie. She continued to act until 1936. Albani was married to director Mario Franchini in 1931. This vintage real photo postcard is of German origin by Ross Verlag of Berlin. The postcard is part of a series (no. 1521/1). The photo is by Aafa film. According to one reliable source, the postcard was issued sometime between 1927 and 1928.

PORTRAIT OF GERTRUDE BONNETTE: PRETTY FRENCH STAGE ACTRESS

This vintage real photo postcard features French stage actress Gertrude Bonnette. Initial research revealed no information about this pretty theater actress. Bonnette was photographed by the well known celebrity photographer Jacob Schloss (1856-1938) of New York City. Schloss was will known for his portraits of beautiful woman. He was also known as a photographer activist for working hard to gain certain rights for photographers. This photo postcard is published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie (SIP) of Rueil, France and is part of a series (76 Serie no. 15).

PORTRAIT OF BEAUTIFUL FILM ACTRESS: MILDRED DAVIS

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This vintage real photo postcard features film actress Mildred Davis (1901-1969). Mildred Hillary Davis appeared in many of Harold Lloyd’s (1893-1971) classic silent comedy films. She eventually became Lloyd’s wife. Davis was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She wanted to be an actress and when old enough, she went to California seeking film roles. She was blonde and petite, measuring just 5 feet tall. She has been described as sweet and perky, with a flair for comedy. She was able to secure several small parts and was noticed by film director/producer Hal Roach. Roach brought her to the attention of comedian Harold Lloyd who was seeking a replacement for his leading lady, Bebe Daniels (an image of Miss Daniels can be found in the Cabinet Card Gallery). Lloyd casted Davis in his short comedy “From Hand to Mouth” (1919). This began a partnership that resulted in them starring together in fifteen films. Mildred Davis’s filmography includes approximately 36 films between 1916 and 1949. A few of her popular films include “An Eastern Westerner” (1920), “Get Out and Get Under” (1920), and “Safety Last” (1923), The film couple developed a “real life” partnership when they married in 1923. Davis only appeared in one film after the couple tied the knot. The couple had three children. Biographical information reveals they had a relatively strong marriage. In later life she struggled with depression, and drinking problems. Davis was close friends with actresses Marion Davies and Colleen Moore. Mildred Davis died in 1969 . This real photo portrait postcard was published by Ross Verlag of Berlin, Germany. The postcard is part of a series (no. 1254/1). Paramount Film is credited on the front of the postcard. The “You Tube” link below will take you to a tribute to Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis. The video was created by Diana Calado in 2013.

 

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