An adorable young girl wearing ballet shoes, poses for her portrait at the Noble Studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The photographer posed her as if she was dancing. The bright eyed young girl has a terrific smile. The photographer of this image is Thomas Frederick Noble (1866-1932) and he operated a photography studio at various addresses in Grand Rapids. His career spanned between 1890 and 1931. The 1920 US census found him living in Grand Rapids with his wife Pauline (age 50) and two of their children, Fred (age 17) and Pauline (age 15). The 1900 US census reveals that he also had a daughter named Lily. Noble died in 1932 and is buried in Graceland Memorial Park in Grand Rapids.
This cabinet card portrait features pretty celebrated Italian ballerina, Carlotta Brianza (1867-c.1933). Note that the jewelry that is hanging from her necklace is shaped like a horse. It is also worth mention that this photograph is somewhat risque for the era. Brianza was born in Milan, Italy and was the prima ballerina at La Scala before going to Russia. She created a sensation in Luigi Manzotti’s ballet “Excelsior” as the Spirit of Light. She went to Russia in 1887 after completing a US tour. She was acclaimed for her work in “Sleeping Beauty” and “Esmerelda”. She returned to the west in 1891 when she became the prima ballerina for the Vienna Opera. She died in Paris under suspicious circumstances that suggest she committed suicide. This portrait was produced by celebrity photographer Benjamin J. Falk of New York City. To view other photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.