ADORABLE LITTLE GIRL IN LUTON, ENGLAND

The little girl seen in this cabinet card portrait is absolutely adorable. Her hair is disheveled but the “wild look” suits her. Note the toy seen in the bottom left hand corner of the photograph. The toy appears to be a train car, or perhaps, a circus car. The studio that produced this image is the American Photo Company which was located in Luton, England.  Luton is a large town in Bedfordshire, about thirty miles northwest of London. It is interesting that the American Photo Company is located in England rather than in the United States.

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Published in: on September 11, 2017 at 9:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BETTY BALFOUR: “BRITAINS QUEEN OF HAPPINESS” (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

 

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Have you ever heard of Betty Balfour? You would definitely know who she was if you lived in England during the silent film era because she is considered the most popular actress there during the 1920’s. She was known as the “British Mary Pickford” and “Britain’s Queen of Happiness”. Her fans knew her best for her “Squibs” series of films. Betty Balfour (1903-1977) was also known for her stage career. She made her stage debut in 1913 and worked in theater for several years before entering the film industry. She did not attempt to extend her career to Hollywood  but she did star in a number of German films. In Britain she starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Champagne” (1928). Her sound era debut was in “The Nipper” (1930), Her popularity began to drop in the 1930’s though she still was getting film roles. In all, she appeared in more than 35 films. Balfour was married to composer Jimmy Campbell but the marriage fell apart in 1941 after a ten year run. She attempted a theater comeback in 1952 but it failed. She died in Weybridge, Surrey, England at the age of seventy-four. This vintage real photo postcard was produced by Picturegoer as part of a series (no. 2a). The company was based in London. Picturegoer was a British fan magazine focussing on contemporary films and the actors and actresses who performed in them. Picturegoer also published postcards. In fact, they produced over 6500 different real photo postcards on 2000 actors and actresses.

The second real photo postcard see here is of unknown origin. The publisher is not identified nor is the photographer. Interestingly, just as in the first image, Miss Balfour is wearing pearls. She certainly was quite pretty.

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PORTRAIT OF A FASHIONABLE GENTLEMAN IN THE RESORT TOWN OF TORQUAY, ENGLAND

This cabinet card features a fashionable clean-cut gentleman posing for a studio portrait. His nice clothing indicates that he was a well-to-do man. Perhaps he was on vacation at the time of this photograph. He was photographed by James C. Dinham who operated the Gainsboroough Gallery in Torquay, England. Torquay is a seaside resort town located on the English Channel in southwest England. This gentleman may have been staying at one of the local resorts. A photograph of Dinham’s studio can be seen below. The photograph was taken in 1918 and the gallery is decorated for Armistice Day. The image and further information can be found at the Devon Heritage Site on the internet. Dinham established his business in the 1890’s. He had a very distinguished clientele but his gallery bordered a very poor area of the city. The residents lived in “ancient tenements” and were poor and lived in squalor. Dinham visited this neighborhood and took many photographs of colorful characters and street scenes. He gave these photos catchy titles but in truth, Dinham was engaging  in photo journalism. He was one of the pioneers in this field of photography. In researching Mr. Dinham, it was found that he began his studio 1881. The source reports that the gallery closed in about 1910 only to become “Dinham & Sons” which operated from 1910 until about 1939. Research also found that Dinham was cited in “Photography” (1898) for photographing the Duke of York during one of the Duke’s visits to Torbay (the Borough which includes Torquay).

 

Published in: on September 8, 2017 at 2:05 pm  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF A FASHIONABLE WOMAN IN LEEDS, ENGLAND (FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER)

This cabinet card portrait is notable for at least two reasons. First, the woman in the photograph is beautifully dressed. Note the matching trim on the cuffs of her sleeves, across her chest, and on her high collar. The second reason that makes this image special is that the photograph was taken by a female photographer. Alice Josephine Swithenbank operated the Elm Street Studio in Hunslet, Leeds, England. Hunslet is an inner-city area in south Leeds.

Published in: on August 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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PREPPY LOOKING TEENAGE GIRL ON THE CHEAPSIDE

This cabinet card portrait features a sweet looking teenage girl dressed in what today we might call, a “preppy look”. Perhaps she is a student. Be sure to note her scarf and hat. The girl’s eyes are wide open and she appears to be suppressing a smile. The photographer’s camera captured the girl in an outdoor setting. The photographer was Hy. Flett who operated a studio in London. Interestingly, the studio was located at 119 Cheapside. This image is actually the second cabinet card in the “Cabinet Card Gallery” from a studio on Cheapside. Research revealed that  Cheapside  is the name of a street in the city of London. The name Cheapside is derived from the term “marketplace”. Henry Flett (1872-1948) was born in St. Leonards in Sussex. He operated two London studios. The Cheapside studio existed between 1897 and 1940. His second studio was located at 103 Newgate Street (1903-1909). He partnered with Arthur Frame Stevens in the 1930’s.

Published in: on March 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FANCY DOUBLE WEDDING IN ENGLAND

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This cabinet card image captures a wedding that appears to involve two couples. It is only a hypothesis but I believe the participants in this double wedding include two brides (seated), two grooms (seated), four members of the wedding party (standing). The men are all wearing top hats and tails. One of the seated grooms is wearing light colored pants with his dark jacket. All the men are wearing boutonnieres and smoking cigars. The brides are wearing white gowns and flowers in their hair. Interestingly, the two grooms are sitting very close to one of the brides while the second bride seems distant, almost an afterthought. It is notable that this wedding party portrait was taken outside. Although the location that this photograph was taken is unknown, the image was with a group of other photographs that were from England. Therefore, it is likely that this is an English cabinet card. This cabinet card was trimmed in order to fit into an album or frame. There is glue residue on the reverse of the image.

 

 

 

 

Published in: on October 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (6)  
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PORTRAIT OF ACTRESS MISS ETHEL ERSKINE APPEARING IN “GIPSY LOVE” (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

 

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This vintage real photo postcard features theater actress Miss Ethel Erskine as she appeared in the role of Ilona in the production of “Gipsy Love”. Miss Erskine was a beautiful woman with dazzling and engaging eyes. Preliminary research discovered little about her biographical history. However, some information was found about the production of “Gipsy Love”. The show was a romantic operetta in three acts. The production played at the Carltheater in Vienna (1910), the Globe Theatre on Broadway (1911), and Daly’s Theatre in London (1912). This postcard was printed in Britain and produced by Rotary Photo as part of a series (11476 D).

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PORTRAIT OF AN ANGELIC LITTLE GIRL IN HOUNSLOW, ENGLAND

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A young girl with blonde hair poses for her portrait at Wards studio in Hounslow, England. Her simple dress and her eyes gazing upward gives her an angelic appearance. Hounslow is a suburban district in Greater London. Wards studio receives mention in the British Journal of Photography (1908). I have been made aware by a vintage photography enthusiast that the photographer is Lorraine Ward and she operated her business from the Stainesroad address from 1896 to 1922. The studio continued it’s existence under other ownership until 1937.

 

 

Published in: on October 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BEAUTIFUL STAGE ACTRESS: JULIA JAMES

julia-jamesThis vintage real photo postcard features Julia James (1890-1964), a beautiful stage actress. She sat in 76 portraits that are part of England’s National Portrait Gallery. She is considered by one theatrical writer to be among the top fifteen most beautiful actresses of the 1900’s Edwardian era. She was born in London, England and began her career as a chorus girl at the Aldwych Theatre under Seymour Hicks. She played in “Blue Belle” in 1905. She appeared in productions at the Gaiety Theatre. These plays included “The Girls of Gottenburg”, “Havana”, and  “Our Miss Gibbs”. She performed in Paris in “The Arcadians” (1913). This “Rotophot” postcard was printed in Berlin, Germany. It was published by Giesen Brothers of London. It is postmarked in Cathorpe in 1907. The village is located beside the Avon River in Leicestershire, England. The postcard is part of a series (no. 0858). The photographer of this image is the fabulous celebrity photographer, Rita Martin. She is considered one of the best British photographers of her time.Her studio was in an exclusive neighborhood  She was born Margareta Weir Martin in Ireland.  Margareta “Rita” Martin started her career in photography in 1897 by assisting her elder sister Lallie Charles in running her studio. In 1906 Rita opened her own studio.  Rita had a specialty in photographing actresses including Lily Elsie and Lily Brayton. She was also well known for her child studies which often involved children of well known actresses. Lily’s sister, Lallie Charles was more known as an excellent society photographer.

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SOUTHSEA GIRLS REALLY KNOCK ME OUT: PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY WOMAN

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This vintage real photo postcard features a bejeweled pretty woman posing for her portrait at a photo studio in Southsea, England. My hypotheses is that the studio is called London Portraits based on the ink stamp seen on the reverse of the postcard. It is unknown whether the attractive subject seen in this photograph is a resident of Southsea or perhaps a visitor to this seaside resort which was established in the 18th century. The area is located in Portsmouth at the southern end of Portsea Island, Hampshire.

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